Strike star Tom Burke reveals he auditioned for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter films

The actor – best known as Cormoran Strike in the BBC detective series – could have played Bill Weasley

Tom Burke in Strike, BBC Pictures, SL

What we’d give to hang out with JK Rowling. The creator of Harry Potter brought us chocolate frogs, quidditch, nifflers, and much, much more, as well as the Strike books which inspired the BBC detective series.

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But while we gaze out our office windows, some people have all the luck. Like Tom Burke, who stars as the titular Cormoran Strike and got the chance to spent time with the author on set. “I think she was really happy with the casting at the beginning,” he said ahead of the BBC’s new two-parter Career of Evil. “Even if she didn’t know exactly what it was going to be like or what we were going to do, she felt we were the right two people.”

The “we” in question refers to Burke and Holliday Grainger who plays private investigator Strike’s sidekick Robin as the two set about solving crimes from their dingy Soho offices.

But prior to his role as the gruff detective, Burke had hoped to star in the Harry Potter films which made stars of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. The 36-year-old actor revealed he “went up for one of the Weasleys – I think it was the part Domhnall Gleeson played.”

Domhnall Gleeson at Harry Potter event, Getty, SL
Domhnall Gleeson at Harry Potter event

The role in question was that of Bill Weasley which went to the Star Wars and About Time actor who appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2. “When they said I hadn’t got it they went ‘they’re going more Weasley’,” Burke revealed.

Was he gutted to miss out? “I was, because it was just in at the end and I thought ‘this would be nice’ and then it was gone.”

But years later, Burke has finally made it on set with Rowling. And despite admitting he “loves” Harry Potter, he managed to keep it together when he met the author.

“I played it cool”.

Strike returns to screens in two-parter Career of Evil, starting on Sunday 25th February at 9pm on BBC1

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Strike: The Silkworm is now available to buy on DVD