Billy Connolly to play a dwarf in The Hobbit films

The Big Yin to portray Dain Ironfoot in Peter Jackson's big-screen Tolkien adaptations

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Director Peter Jackson has announced that Britain’s most influential stand-up comedian, Billy Connolly, has landed a role as a dwarf warrior in his upcoming Hobbit films.

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Jackson said: “We could not think of a more fitting actor to play Dain Ironfoot, the staunchest and toughest of the dwarves, than… the Big Yin himself.

“With Billy stepping into this role the cast of The Hobbit is now complete.”

Connolly will join an all-star cast that includes Sherlock’s Martin Freeman as the film’s protagonist, Bilbo Baggins, Barry Humphries, Stephen Fry and Evangeline Lilly.

The film will also feature returning Lord of the Rings actors Sir Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett.

Connolly’s Hobbit role is the latest in a long line of big-screen parts for the Big Yin, which include his Bafta-winning turn in Mrs Brown and an appearance in Gulliver’s Travels.

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released this December with its sequel, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, expected to follow in 2013.