ST HELENS-BORN director David Yates was called to the BAFTAs stage tonight as the Harry Potter film series received the award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema.

Author JK Rowling and David Heyman received the award on behalf of the franchise during the ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House on Sunday.

Yates, 47, who has directed four instalments of the series – the final of which is due to be released later this year - was among those called to the stage at the Orange British Academy Film Awards in recognition of their commitment towards the films’ vast success.

The first six films in the series grossed more than $5.4billion worldwide, making it the top-grossing film franchise of all time.

Finola Dwyer, chair of the film committee, said: “As this great British film success story draws to a close with this year’s eagerly anticipated final instalment, it’s fitting that BAFTA honours the Harry Potter films and their contribution to the British film industry.

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate with JK Rowling and David Heyman at the Film Awards.”

Producer David Heyman said: “On behalf of the over 2000 people who worked in front of and behind the camera on each of the Harry Potter films I would like to say how honoured we all are to receive this Award.

“And thank you to Jo Rowling for entrusting us to bring her magnificent books to the screen.”

Born in Rainhill, David's love affair with film began when his mum bought him an 8mm camera after he was enthralled by the Steven Spielberg classic Jaws' as a teenager.

He invited Grange Park school friends to play parts in the short films he made - shooting in such locations as Rainhill and Taylor Park.

Then, after studying politics at St Helens College, he headed for the National Film and Television School and received critical acclaim for TV programmes such as State of Play, Sex Traffic and The Girl in the Café.