LORD OF The Rings star Andy Serkis has raised more than €300,000 for charity after completing a breathtaking 12-hour reading of The Hobbit in just one sitting.
The 56-year-old read JRR Tolkien’s seminal work of fantasy fiction from start to finish in under 11 hours, only stopping briefly for a series of two-minute breaks.
Beginning at 10am on Friday and running through to 10pm that night, Serkis’s live broadcast, titled 'The Hobbitathon' attracted a peak of over 650,000 viewers online.
The BAFTA Award-winning actor put in a breathtaking and, at times, breathless performance of the 1937 novel, adopting a series of different voices to help bring the literary classic to life.
It was an incredible effort and one that came with the blessing of the Tolkien estate.
Taking to social media after the reading was completed, the 56-year-old thanked everyone who contributed to the fundraising with all of the money raised set to go to healthcare charities in the UK.
Thank you ALL so much for tuning in and for supporting our frontline workers. I am truly humbled by the response! Because of you, we raised more than £270,000 and counting! Thank you again @HarperCollinsUK and the Tolkien estate! Stay well! pic.twitter.com/m79POIQq4b
— Andy Serkis (@andyserkis) May 8, 2020
Serkis said: "Thank you all so much for tuning in and for supporting NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings, who between them support frontline workers, parents and babies. I am truly humbled by the response!
"Because of you, we raised more than £280,000 and counting! Thank you again to @harpercollins and the Tolkien Estate for making this all happen.
"We are going to investigate with them more opportunities to share today's "one-time" live event, so stay tuned. And with that, I bid you goodnight from London - and to you and your loved ones, stay well."
One of the most famous English fantasy novelists of all time, Tolkien also has ties to Ireland, having served as an external examiner for University College Dublin in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
A popular figure in the city, he once even described himself “Irish-by-adoption" and in 1954 received an honorary degree from the National University of Ireland.
If you would like to donate to Serkis's efforts, you can do so here.