What’s a few hours waiting in the cold open foyer of the School of Dance and Drama when you have a chance of becoming an extra in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings? No problem at all for Liz Dengate-Thrush, her daughter Phoebe and fellow hopeful Mary Knight, each warmly wrapped up against yesterday’s cold weather.

They were among several hundred hopefuls, some prepared to wait outside in the rain, on the off-chance of being snapped up as hobbits, trolls, orcs & “anything”, Mrs Dengate-Thrush and Phoebe said. The Dengate-Thrushes wiled away the hours swotting up on the hobbit tale. Other hopefuls relied on thermoses and conversation with friends. Ms. Knight said friends had told her to audition as ‘she fit the criteria’ Lord of the Rings publicist Sian Clement said about 500 people had passed through the audition process on Saturday and more were expected to have done so by the end of yesterday (Sunday) “we’re very happy, we’ve had a good cross-section, including very tall women and very short women,” Ms. Clement said.

They would obviously fall short of the 15,000 requirement, but ‘we can use some on more than one occasion”.

She also hinted that clever make-up made facial ‘character’ unnecessary. None of the extras would have a speaking part.

The main role-players have yet to be announced, and the potential extras will have to be patient – all are being told they will be called “if we want to hire you”.