recently ran this small article, which should be taken with a large grain of salt: Sir Ian McKellen’s dream of reprising the role of Gandalf – the role that turned the stage actor into an international film star – looks like being realized after all. Last year, it had looked a distinctly forlorn hope after Sir Ian’s friend Peter Jackson, the director of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, said he wanted nothing to do with turning Tolkien’s other great work, The Hobbit, into a film after a row about money with the production company New Line Cinema. Now, however, Jackson appears to have patched things up with New Line’s founder, Bob Shaye, and the film looks back on course.

By a happy coincidence, Sir Ian is currently in New Zealand performing in King Lear and plans to dine with New Line’s bosses shortly when he will make it clear how keen he is to play Gandalf in the new film.