Actor Stephen Fry has backed a Southampton pub's legal battle against a Hollywood film company.

Hands off our Bilbo

Editor Ian Murray says hands off our Precious!
Read his blog here.

The Hobbit pub in Southampton was ordered by to remove all references to the books by JRR Tolkien or it will be taken to court.

Thousands have joined the campaign against the action by US production company Saul Zaentz Company, which owns the rights to Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.

MPs, councillors and regulars have all shown their support for the pub, in Beovis Valley Road, which has been themed around the Hobbit for more than 20 years.

And last night they were given celebrity backing by Stephen Fry, currently in New Zealand when he is filming the Hobbit, due to hit movie screens before the end of the year.

The writer, actor and comedian posted on his Twitter site: “Sometimes I'm ashamed of the business I'm in. What pointless, self-defeating bullying.”

Pub owners Punch Tavern has vowed to fight the threat of legal action against it.