FILM star Ian Mckellen has joined a now 40,000 strong campaign backing the Hobbit pub in Southampton.

The actor has spoken out in support of the popular watering hole after a massive multi-national American company began a legal fight to force the boozer to change its name and theme.

Today's Daily Echo tells how fellow actor Stephen Fry came out in support of the internet campaign backing the pub in Bevois Valley Road.

And now his fellow actor on the Hobbit film currently being made in new Zealand has used Twitter and his own website to join the swell of support, calling the legal claim “unnecessary pettiness”.

He wrote: “I haven't yet talked to Stephen Fry about his disapproval of this Hollywood bullying but I'm with him all the way.

“All the way to The Hobbit pub once filming is over in July.”

The pub has been warned by the Saul Zaentz Company in America that it will face legal action if it does not drop all references to the works of author JRR Tolkien.

But the legendary 72-year-old actor and the other campaigners are arguing that a portrait of Gandalf, a main character in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books and films, has hung outside the pub in Portswood for more than 20 years.