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

Nicola Adams topped the list last year

Who’ll top the IoS Pink List this year? That’s up to you

Katy Guest opens search for UK’s influential gay, bisexual and transgender people

High-vis low comedy: (from left) Luke Gell, David Haig, Mina Anwar and Toby Longworth in 'The Wright Way'

BBC axes 'bruised' Ben Elton's TV flop 'The Wright Way'

BBC2 sitcom Heading Out has also been dropped

Michael Pennington in Dances of Death

Theatre review: Dances of Death, Gate, Notting Hill, London

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.

Dan Brown attends his An Evening With Dan Brown event, to promote his new novel Inferno, at the Freemason's Hall, London.

The Freemasons' Code: Dan Brown reveals the message that told him the door to the lodge is open

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.

So Tate Modern's had 5.3m visitors, but do gallery visitor numbers really add up to all that much?

Plus: My nomination for best non-snub and the people of  Les Misérables are revolting

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…

The Blagger's Guide To: Oldies

Will you still need me? Will you still feed me?

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on