Martin Freeman departs ‘The Hobbit’ for ‘Sherlock’

Filming is paused to accommodate both of Freeman's roles

Martin Freeman has taken a break from filming The Hobbit in New Zealand to return to Sherlock.

The actor has scored the lead role of Bilbo Baggins in the JRR Tolkien blockbuster, but he had it written into his contract that his work playing Doctor Watson on the BBC show would be accommodated.

Sir Ian McKellen reveled the arrangement on a post on his blog at He wrote: “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 Doctor 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.”

Last month, Sherlock exec Steven Moffat said: “We are lending Martin Freeman to The Hobbit, let’s get that the right way round. He wouldn’t have been in The Hobbit unless Sherlock could be accommodated. It’s not exactly a small deal these days, Sherlock.”