Arts and Entertainment Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in a scene from 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

Dir. Peter Jackson;  Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, 161mins

A scene from Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug review

For all its use of 3D and digital technology, this is an old-fashioned romp at heart – a piece of pure cinematic escapism

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Michael Pennington in Dances of Death

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Strindberg’s The Dance of Death (1900) is a play in two parts. Although Laurence Olivier and Geraldine McEwan played the full saga at the National Theatre in 1966, you only usually see Part One.

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His best-selling novels illuminate the shadowy organisations that supposedly run the world. But Dan Brown was “honoured” to receive an invitation to join the Freemasons, the arcane fraternity whose tentacles are said to extend into the highest echelons of power.

Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi star as lifelong partners growing rancorously old together in ITV's new sitcom Vicious

Will new ITV sitcom Vicious starring Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi prove a watershed for gay relationships in TV drama?

Take our poll: Are LGBT characters fairly represented on British TV?

DVD & Blu-ray review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (12)

Peter Jackson DVD/Blu-ray (166mins)

Hairy moment: Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'

The Hobbit 3 release date pushed back to December 2014

The release date of the third instalment of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy has been pushed back from 18 July 2014 to 17 December 2014.

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Journeyman: Martin Freeman's Bilbo Baggins takes on the Dwarves

The Hobbit: An Unexpected box office smash with $200 million global opening weekend

Despite weak reviews and a problematical production process, Peter Jackson's first Hobbit instalment looks set to be more successful than the Rings films

Engaging: Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in the first film of the Hobbit trilogy

The Hobbit movie is no fantasy for animals

Allegations of animal cruelty on the set of The Hobbit threaten to tarnish the film's reputation. So has director Peter Jackson done enough to answer them?

A long slow journey to an abrupt ending

There is a sense of sledgehammers being used to crack nuts in the first part of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. J R R Tolkien's short 1937 novel has been turned into an enormous Wagnerian epic.

So bright, so beautiful. Ah, precious! 'Hobbit' coins to be legal tender in New Zealand

Something as shiny, but not quite as precious, as the ring from the film adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series could soon be used to do your weekly shopping – if you live in New Zealand, that is. Newly minted ‘Hobbit’ coins, featuring characters such as Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf, are to become legal tender in the country.

Martin Freeman in 'The Hobbit'

One into three won't go. A Hobbit trilogy is stretching Tolkien a little too far

Is there some kind of law of modern culture that says everything must come in threes? Fifty Shades of Grey, The Dark Knight movies, The Hunger Games books, Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell books, Toy Story, The Matrix… It seems that publishers and film studios would do anything to get a franchise under way, and to tell its audience, as if they were small children, that the characters they liked will be back with more adventures next year…

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