Harry Potter: The man who discovered a publishing phenomenon

The Harry Potter series has sold 450 million copies worldwide to date. But before the first book was published, numerous publishers had turned the first book down.

Barry Cunningham was the man who decided to take a gamble on J.K. Rowling after he and his daughter became enchanted by the story.

In 1996, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was released but it was not until a year later that the massive impact of the series started to be felt.

With each book, the hype around the release became more and more intense.

Adults and children alike queued in their thousands to get their hands on the latest instalment.

The film franchise, studios and countless merchandise soon followed.

Barry Cunningham spoke to Witness about the series of books that became a phenomenon.

Witness is a World Service radio programme of the stories of our times told by the people who were there.

With thanks to Toppings & Company Booksellers.