Sir Lenny Henry appeared on BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live show today, talking about his life, his career, getting writing advice from Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, and his appearance in the Lord Of The Rings series being made for Amazon Prime Video.
"For the last two years I've been working on Lord Of The Rings and it's an extraordinary thing, it's the biggest television show that's ever been made, in terms of money and head count. Literally, a hundred people on set glaring at you and trying to work out what you'll look like four feet tall… I'm a Harfoot, because JRR Tolkien, who was also from Birmingham, suddenly there were black hobbits, I'm a black hobbit, it's brilliant, and what's notable about this run of the books, its a prequel to the age that we've seen in the films, its about the early days of the Shire and Tolkien's environment, so we're an indigenous population of Harfoots, we're hobbits but we're called Harfoots, we're multi-cultural, we're a tribe not a race, so we're black, asian and brown, even Maori types within it. It's a brand new set of adventures that seed some of the origins of different characters and it's going to take at least ten years to tell the story. Because it's based on the Silmarillion which was almost like a cheat sheet for what happens next in this world in the second and third ages. And the writers have a lot of fun in extrapolating it all out, and it's going to be very exciting. There's a very strong female presence in this, there's going to be female heroes in this evocation of the story, they're going to be little people as usual."
And just before the usual folk kick-off, Tolkien, describing Harfoots in the Lord Of The Rings, stated that "they were browner of skin" and also "they moved westward early" which may be seen as why Harfoots were absent in the films so far.