Date: 12th December 2003
Lord of The Rings fever gripped Leicester Square as 10,000 fans turned out for the final instalment in the Tolkien trilogy.
After months of hype and anticipation the third film, Return of the King, received its British premiere.
And a record-sized crowd was there to greet stars Liv Tyler and Sir Ian McKellen as they brought the magic of Middle Earth to a damp and chilly London.
Tyler and Sir Ian were joined on the red carpet by Billy Boyd, Viggo Mortensen, Andy Serkis and director Peter Jackson.
All were overwhelmed by the reception and Sir Ian said: "I'm told it's the biggest crowd there has ever been for the premiere of a film, and considering this is the third Lord of the Rings movie it's simply amazing. There are people right around the corner where they can't see anything. They are just here to say thanks for the movies."
Jackson said: "This reception is just amazing. I hear people have been here since five o'clock this morning and that's pretty touching."
Tyler added: "The fans are so sweet. We've had the most incredible time going around these premieres. We were all really tired today and falling asleep in the car on the way here, but then we opened the car door and it was like 'wow!'."
Jackson said: "I have a weird mixture of feelings tonight. There is a kind of relief and pride but also sadness because I've been working with these wonderful actors for years and now it's over. This film is more spectacular than the others and also more emotional because there is no more Lord of the Rings."
Return of the King has been tipped to win the Best Picture Oscar next year and Jackson said: "People have been saying that but I'll just go along for the ride. Obviously it would be a fantastic way to go out."
Lord of the Rings star Orlando Bloom could not attend tonight's premiere because he is away filming, much to the disappointment of the female fans lining the red carpet.
Source: Press Release