Stars attend Hobbit royal premiere

Cate Blanchett and Sir Ian McKellen arriving for the UK premiere of The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

Dougie Poynter, Tom Fletcher and Harry Judd from McFly at the UK premiere of The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

A man proposes to his girlfriend as they arrive for the UK premiere of The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

The Duke of Cambridge arriving for the UK premiere of The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London

First published in National News © by

A host of stars have gathered in the West End for the royal UK premiere of the new Hobbit film.

The Duke of Cambridge joined them for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in London's Leicester Square and attended alone as his wife Kate, whose pregnancy was announced last week, continued to rest at St James's Palace from acute morning sickness.

Sir Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Cate Blanchett, who reprise their roles from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and Office star Martin Freeman, who plays main character Bilbo Baggins in the JRR Tolkien adaptation, all attended.

They were joined by showbiz figures including boyband McFly, who braved freezing temperatures on the green carpet in front of hundreds of screaming fans.

Sir Ian, who plays the wizard Gandalf, said it was great to be in London for a film with a strong British presence.

He added: "Its cast is basically British and from the Commonwealth, Tolkien was an English writer, here we are in the capital city and it feels proper."

Australian actress Blanchett, who plays elf queen Galadriel, joked about the cold.

"The weather is enough to drive anyone away but it is great to see so many fans," she said. She wore a stunning white backless dress but had donned a black jacket by the time she went into the cinema for the performance.

Olympic long jump gold medallist Greg Rutherford was among the celebrities attending, along with singer Nick Cave.

Director Sir Peter Jackson defended his decision to make the movie trilogy using hi-tech film techniques. "Twenty-four frames per second has been with us since 1927. It's 2012 and I think we have a responsibility as film-makers to use technology to make cinema as exciting as we can," he said.

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