HE is best known for his acclaimed work behind the camera.

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His role making part of the Harry Potter film franchise made him one of the most-commercially successful British directors ever.

But David Yates yesterday found himself in front of the lens as he was handed an honorary degree from the University of Essex.

The BAFTA award-winning television and film director, who graduated from the Colchester-based university in 1987, joined more than 2,600 students taking part in this year’s graduation celebrations.

Mr Yates won his first BAFTA TV Award for his work on the BBC’s The Way We Live Now. In 2003, he was nominated for another BAFTA for directing acclaimed political thriller State of Play.

He went on to earn an Emmy Award nomination for his work on the 2005 HBO movie The Girl in the Café, a love story starring Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald, before completing the final four Harry Potter films. Several others were handed honorary degrees by the university, including Bill Gore, Charles Garraway CBE and Lucy Kellaway.

Mr Gore served on the university’s governing body council between 2005 and 2011. He was also pro-chancellor and today is the director of the university’s knowledge gateway project.

Professor Garraway is a visiting fellow at the University of Essex’s human rights centre and is an associate fellow at Chatham House.

Ms Kellaway is currently the associate editor at the Financial Times and is a regular contributor to the BBC World Service programme Business Daily.

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