Ian McKellen

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

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…

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.

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.

'Hobbit' movie in jeopardy as director Guillermo Del Toro quits

If you thought reading a JRR Tolkien novel was time-consuming, try turning one into a film. Two years and hundreds of painstakingly designed monster costumes after he started work on The Hobbit, the Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro has suddenly quit, complaining about endless delays in getting his eagerly-awaited film green-lit.

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.

More headlines

Pandora: Tolkien family feud heads for the courts

For all the success that the Lord Of The Rings trilogy enjoyed on the big screen, the ongoing bad blood between film executives and the family of JRR Tolkien, who wrote the books, has proved an unfortunate sub-plot.

The Diary: Kate Winslet; Mark Wallinger; Sir Ian McKellen; Charlotte

Few can deny that Kate Winslet was wise to write a winner's speech in the lead-up to the Baftas to prevent a repeat of her gushing performance on the Golden Globes podium last month. But I wonder which film she had in mind when she wrote it? She won, of course, for her role in 'The Reader' but was also nominated for her husband Sam Mendes's film Revolutionary Road (again in the best actress category), for which she apparently received a very modest number of votes from the academy. Let's hope she wrote the winning speech for the right film. Meanwhile, the phenomenally talented Dev Patel, found himself, perhaps a little absurdly for an 18-year old in his first film, nominated alongside the heavyweight Hollywood greats Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Frank Langella and Mickey Rourke for the best actor gong. Unsurprisingly he failed to win but he didn't look too perturbed. At the lavish Royal Opera House ceremony, he positively glowed all night.