How to watch Andy Serkis reading 'The Hobbit' online

Tom Beasley
Andy Serkis arrives for the premiere of "The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies" on December 9, 2014. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

British actor Andy Serkis has announced his return to one of his most iconic roles — sort of — in a special charity event to raise money for a pair of charities.

Serkis, who famously provided the voice of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, is staging a 12-hour reading of The Hobbit on Friday, 8 May, in aid of Best Beginnings and NHS Charities Together.

The actor is hoping to raise £100,000 for the two charities, with more than £30,000 already donated at the time of writing — in just nine hours — for what is being called the Hobbitathon.

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Best Beginnings, for which Serkis is an ambassador, aims to give children the best possible start in life by supporting families and fighting inequalities in society.

NHS Charities Together, meanwhile, represents more than 200 organisations raising money for the health service in the mist of the coronavirus pandemic.

What’s all this then?

Andy Serkis is going to spend 12 hours, starting on Friday morning, reading from cover to cover of fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.

The book chronicles the events prior to Tolkien’s subsequent Lord of the Rings trilogy and was itself adapted as a trilogy of films by Peter Jackson from 2012 to 2014, with Serkis reprising the role of Gollum.

Read more: Things you might not know about the Hobbit trilogy

The actor has promised he will be “giving it welly” when it comes to doing the voices of the characters and all ears will inevitably be on the famous Riddles in the Dark chapter, in which Bilbo Baggins comes face to face with Gollum.

Serkis told Press Association: “As you get older and the vocal cords are a little more taxed, the Riddles In The Dark chapter is going to be a little baby mouth.

Shop windows advertising the "The Hobbit" book and movie in the central business district in Wellington, New Zealand in 2012. (Credit: Marty Melville/AFP via Getty Images)

“But he’s never really gone away and people do ask me of course to do answerphone messages and birthday greetings and bar mitzvah greetings.

“He’s never too far away so I can draw on him.”

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Serkis reprised the iconic character in vocal form for an anti-Brexit skit in 2018, in which Theresa May became Gollum.

The 56-year-old has suggested that there will inevitably be “fumbles and stumbles” during the course of the event and that the reading will continue even “if the cat walks in and jumps up on the desk”.

How can I watch it?

Gollum in 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'. (Credit: New Line Cinema)

Serkis’s reading is set to stream online, starting at 10am BST on Friday, 8 May.

Fans wanting to join in the fun should head to the GoFundMe page for the Hobbitathon challenge, where the link to view will be published on Friday morning before the reading begins.

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Viewers are encouraged, obviously, to donate to the appeal and also spread the word by using the hashtag #Hobbitathon throughout the reading.