Martin Freeman is taking a break from filming his lead role in The Hobbit in New Zealand so he can jet back to his native Britain to shoot a TV show.
The actor was initially forced to turn down the part of Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel due to commitments on Bbc series Sherlock, in which he plays Sherlock Holmes' sidekick Dr Watson.
He was eventually hired for the two-part movie epic when director Peter Jackson agreed to accommodate his busy schedule.
Filming on the Middle Earth movie began in New Zealand in March (11), but Freeman has left the set after just seven weeks to return to Britain.
The actor will shoot Sherlock during his temporary hiatus from The Hobbit, and Jackson will get on with filming other scenes that don't involve Freeman while he is away, according to co-star Sir Ian MCKellen.
In a post on his blog, MCKellen writes, "Martin Freeman has left The Hobbit. This is not another April Fool, just a May Fact. Before signing as Bilbo, Martin had agreed to make three 90-minute TV films in London, again playing Dr Watson to Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes.
"No worries: he'll be back in Middle Earth after our first hiatus, during which Peter Jackson will have spare time to edit the scenes already completed. The rest of the cast remains on duty for another few weeks, working on hobbit-less sections of the film."