British director Mike Newell has signed to direct HarryPotter And The Goblet Of Fire, the fourth instalment in Warner Bros' hitseries that is due to begin filming in England next April.

Newell, who recently completed the drama Mona Lisa Smilewith Julia Roberts, becomes the first British director and the third directoroverall to lend his vision to J K Rowling's phenomenally successful children'sbooks.

Christopher Columbus directed Harry Potter And TheSorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, whichhave grossed almost $1.9bn worldwide.

The third episode, Harry Potter And The Prisoner OfAzkaban, is being filmed by Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien) andwill open in theatres in June 2004.

Goblet Of Fire will be produced by David Heyman andbased on a screenplay by Steve Kloves, with the studio planning to release in2005.

"As audiences have become more familiar with both the booksand the movies, there has been an increasing challenge to continue to developeach of these characters and to make their world real on the screen," Newellsaid in a statement.

"It is a pleasure to follow directors Chris Columbus andAlfonso Cuaron, who have done so much to establish the tradition of HarryPotter on film, and to work with David Heyman and Steve Kloves, whose love andrespect for this material have been central to the success of this enormousundertaking."

Newell was brought on board after it became clear thatproduction schedules for the third and fourth instalments would overlap and itwas not possible for a single director to handle both.

"We've been lucky to have worked with excellent film-makerson the first three Harry Potter movies and we are looking forward tocontinuing that tradition as we start on this next movie with Mike," thestudio's president of production Jeff Robinov, who made the announcement,added.

Newell's credits include Four Weddings And A Funeral,Donnie Brasco and Enchanted April.