Tonight at a live ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall, The Lord of the Rings was announced as the winner of the BBC’s Big Read and is officially Britain’s Best Loved Book. With 23% of the public’s vote or 174 thousand votes, LotR was a clear winner with 39 thousand more votes than second-placed Pride and Prejudice and more than His Dark Materials, The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Harry Potter combined.

Simon Tolkien, who attended the event, was visibly pleased with the result. “I think it’s just an unbelievable honour to be here today, and for my grandfather to be so loved in this way, and I’d like to thank everybody who voted for him, and I’d like to thank Ray (Mears, Lord of the Ring’s celebrity book champion on the show), who I thought his program was quite stunning, it was one of the best short programs about The Lord of the Rings I’ve ever seen, that really brought it across, and I think it would mean an enormous amount to my grandfather. There was just one thing that I wanted to say, which was I was looking through things that he said and just before he got his book published he said, ‘I’m dreading the publication, for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at’. There’s been a lot of shooting over the last fifty years, but there’s also been an enormous amount of love and I think that comes through today. So it’s been a wonderful moment. Thank you.”

The BBC in conjunction with Harper Collins plan to send a copy of The Lord of the Rings to every second school in Britain to honour J.R.R Tolkien’s masterpiece – more than 6,000 copes in all.