HBO’s new documentary, David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived, tells a story about Harry Potter that a lot of fans may not know about.


As filming was under way for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double David Holmes had a life-changing accident.

For the first time, Holmes is speaking publicly about his accident and the effect it has had on his life since.

Read on for more information about David Holmes and what happened to him.

What is David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived about?

David Holmes doing a stunt on set
David Holmes doing a stunt on set. Sky

David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived takes a close look at the “inextricable bond” between Daniel Radcliffe and his former Harry Potter stunt double David Holmes - who was left paralysed while filming a scene for the hit movie franchise.

Featuring interviews with Holmes and Radcliffe, the documentary “reflects on living with adversity”.

The official synopsis for the documentary reads: “Gymnast David Holmes played Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double in the Harry Potter films until a tragic on-set accident left him paralysed.

“With his life turned upside down, David's extraordinary spirit of resilience becomes a source of strength and inspiration to everyone around him.

“Featuring intimate interviews with David, Daniel Radcliffe, friends, family, and colleagues, David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived reflects on living with adversity, forging a new identity, and the bonds that bind us together and lift us up.”

What happened to David Holmes?

Whilst on set for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Holmes was rehearsing a flying scene when he was pulled backwards “at speed” by a high-strength wire in a “jerk back” stunt that it aimed to replicate the effect of an explosion, as per The Mirror.

The stunt was for the scene in which Harry is attacked by Nagini and is thrown through a wall.
During the stunt, Holmes was launched into a wall, which immediately broke his neck and left him paralysed from the chest down. In the present day, Holmes can now only move his left arm and lives in fear the paralysis may leave him unable to speak.
“I never told my story. I never really wanted to,” Holmes says in the documentary.

“Harry Potter is a big thing for a lot of people, and nobody knows what happened to me.”

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Speaking about his accident in the documentary, Holmes says: “I remember hitting the wall, my chest folded into my nose and I was fully conscious throughout the whole thing.”

The documentary features interviews with Daniel Radcliffe, in which he explains he flew out to see Holmes as soon as he got the call about the accident.

Further in the documentary, Holmes explains he has tried to remain positive and accepting, urging his family and friends to do the same.

Talking about life after the accident, Holmes said: "I told all my friends and family straight away, 'Try and hope for me to be happy like I am, not happy like you want me to be.

"'Because there's a good chance that won't be achievable. Don't make me feel like I'm constantly failing you for not trying to fix all the problems.'"

David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived premieres on HBO on Wednesday 15th November at 9pm EST, before being made available to stream on Max in the US. UK viewers can stream it on Sky Documentaries and NOW from 18th November.

If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide or visit our hub for more Documentaries news.


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