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

EL James' Fifty Shades Of Grey is fastest-ever seller

Author EL James - behind publishing phenomenon Fifty Shades Of Grey - has become the first writer to see three of her books each sell in excess of 100,000 paperback copies in a week.

Billy Connolly joins cast of The Hobbit

Billy Connolly is going from Big Yin to tiny dwarf to complete the cast of Peter Jackson's movie version of The Hobbit.

Evangeline Lilly to star in The Hobbit

The former 'Lost' actress has signed on to play a new character, Tauriel, but director Sir Peter Jackson refused to give any further details about the woodland elf.

X-Men First Class (12A)

Starring: James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, Michael Fassbender

Peter Jackson is taken ill as curse of 'The Hobbit' strikes again

Budget blow-outs, an industrial dispute, even a race row have threatened to derail the latest JRR Tolkien blockbuster, The Hobbit. To that list can now be added a perforated ulcer, courtesy of director Sir Peter Jackson, who was taken to hospital in the New Zealand capital, Wellington, on Wednesday.

King Lear, Donmar Warehouse, London

He is the most exacting and pernickety of actors, Derek Jacobi, which means that his long-awaited Lear will never open the floodgates. But it is most beautifully spoken and detailed. It's also terribly polite.

First Night: King Lear, Donmar Warehouse, London

Jacobi's Lear is too calm, not enough storm

One Minute With: Armistead Maupin, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see? I'm on a train on my way from London to Liverpool and there are English fields flying by the window and the sun is coming out. It's a milky view of an England that doesn't change.

Freeman to lead British invasion into Middle Earth

An influx of familiar faces into Middle Earth is expected after the announcement that filming of The Hobbit will finally begin next February, bringing to an end years of delays.

Curse of 'The Hobbit' strikes again as actors threaten to walk off set

As any proper J R R Tolkein fan knows, it takes bravery, patience, and a little bit of luck to complete a journey to Middle Earth. Peter Jackson certainly boasts the first two, but judging by the fate of his long-running efforts to bring a film version of The Hobbit to the big screen, he's sadly lacking in the third.

McKellen blasts acting standards

Britain's reputation for world-class theatre is being jeopardised by declining acting standards, according to Sir Ian McKellen.

Shakespeare the Man from Stratford, Assembly Hall, Edinburgh

Simon Callow is a renowned actor, but not Shakespearean. His Orlando was bizarre, his Falstaff (twice) less than great, but he did let rip satisfactorily as Titus Andronicus.

Tara Fitzgerald: 'Plenty of good roles for older actresses'

The English actress, Tara Fitzgerald, has spoken out against the popular belief that female performers are faced with fewer work opportunities than males as they get older.

Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence