Name an iconic British actor and odds are they starred in Harry Potter. Over the course of eight movies, the series seems to have been on a mission to incorporate the country’s entire acting scene – even if they didn’t get a speaking role. In fact, plenty of them were just seemingly hanging around in the back.
From Hogwarts students to Ministry officials, the wizarding world is made up of countless characters. Some of these roles were even filled by big names, both present and future. Since many were extras, you likely didn’t even realize it.
Long before Julianne Hough was a dancer – never mind a judge – on Dancing with the Stars, she was a nameless Gryffindor student in Harry’s first year at Hogwarts.
Recruited from her performing arts school in London for Philosopher’s Stone, Hough can briefly be seen on screen during the Quidditch match and a deleted scene set at Christmas. She might not have much screen time with The Boy Who Lived himself, but the American actress did reveal to People that she once sent Daniel Radcliffe a love note and a Beanie Baby (which he ignored).
When the students of Hogwarts are finally given a chance to let loose at the Yule Ball, they’re blessed with the greatest band in the wizarding world: The Weird Sisters.
Making this musical treat even more believable is the fact they’re portrayed by real rockers. The frontman is the most obvious, with Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker of Pulp taking to the mic to blast out “Can You Dance Like A Hippogriff?” More subtle in the back though is Johnny Greenwood from Radiohead, who cuts a striking figure as the band’s gothic guitarist.
Julianne isn’t the only Hough to walk the halls of Hogwarts. Her older brother Derek also appears in the first Harry Potter movie, where he was a Ravenclaw student.
His big onscreen moment comes in one of the festive scenes, where he strolls behind Hermione as she prepares to head home for the holidays. However, the actor has since revealed to EW that he would also serve as a stand-in for Malfoy as he was equally blond.
It turns out there are far more Dancing with the Stars alumni in Harry Potter than you’d ever expect. Mark Ballas – who’s performed on the show since 2007 – was another young student in Philosopher’s Stone.
Unfortunately, it’s tough to pick him out onscreen, but he’s there as a Hufflepuff in the Sorting Hat sequence – although, according to MTV, his hair was an unrecognizable grungy red at the time.
Nowadays, Jesy Nelson is best known for Little Mix and her burgeoning solo pop career. As a teenager, however, she was just another unnamed Hogwarts student.
Her moment comes in Goblet of Fire, where students gather en masse for the festive fun of the Yule Ball. It’s impossible to pick her out from the crowd – but it’s not her only film appearance. The singer also visibly crops up in a school crowd scene in About A Boy.
Brits will recognize Ben Shephard as a staple of primetime TV, having co-hosted shows such as GMTV, Good Morning Britain, and Ninja Warrior.
Less recognizable is his role in a brief but magical scene of Half-Blood Prince. Known as “Diagon Alley Father,” he has a brief, blurry moment in the background of shots in Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes – dressed not unlike a younger version of Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black.
For anyone who grew up in the UK in the early noughties, Dani Harmer will forever be associated with everyone’s favorite pre-teen: Tracy Beaker.
But it turns out Tracy isn’t Harmer’s only role in a British nostalgia institution. In one of the many scenes in the Great Hall in Philosopher’s Stone, she has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role as a Gryffindor student near Fred and George.
Continuing the trend of famous band members slipping into the wizarding world is Ian Brown, former frontman of alternative rock band The Stone Roses.
Making a strong cameo in Prisoner of Azkaban, Brown can be seen sitting in Diagon Alley’s most popular pub, The Leaky Cauldron, not long after Harry’s arrival. With one hand he magically stirs a spoon in his drink, while the other holds a copy of physicist Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” – marking one of the few references to anyone from the audience’s magic-free world.
When Bridgerton debuted in 2020, Regé-Jean Page – and his spoon – became Netflix’s new it boy overnight. But before he was everyone’s favorite dashing duke, the actor previously put on his best wizarding wear for a Weasley wedding.
In Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Page can be seen standing behind Hermione when Kingsley’s Patronus crashes Bill and Fleur’s wedding. He doesn’t have a chance to do much more than stare moodily, but his brief seconds onscreen are still a fun easter egg for any Bridgerton fan.