Ian McKellen

So bright, so beautiful. Ah, precious! 'Hobbit' coins to be legal

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.

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.

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Macbeth, Shakespeare's Globe, London

The play hasn't started and you're already saying, with Marlowe's Mephistopheles, "Why this is hell, nor am I out of it." The smoke is billowing, the bells are tolling, the bagpipes are wailing and, down below in the pit, the heads of the groundlings are peeking through a black tarpaulin like the lost souls on Judgment Day.

Not all villains must be British, says Mirren

From middle earth to a galaxy far far away, there exists a truth universal since the dawn of Hollywood time: bad guys speak with British accents. But it is a truth that British actress Dame Helen Mirren has become fed up with.