ITN reports:  Sir Ian McKellen has spoken of his joy at the new films in the Lord of the Rings series and at being in them.

“I’m just glad Gandalf’s back,” the legendary actor said.

Director Guillermo del Toro and executive producer Peter Jackson are bringing to life J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit, in a two-part film.  The 70-year-old said: “They’ve done a wonderful script, as far as I can tell, but what it will look like I’ve no idea.  I can understand people being excited, and legitimately so. It is a real book, it was written by Tolkien, not just added on because they made a lot of money out of the first, it deserves to be made.  It was a pity perhaps it wasn’t made before Lord of the Rings in the right sequence.”

The first part of The Hobbit is scheduled to be released in December 2011.   ITN