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Lord Of The Rings returns to New Zealand for TV series

New Zealand is to become Middle-earth once again, with Amazon confirming that the new Lord Of The Rings television series is set to be filmed in the country.

It means a return of the orcs, elves and hobbits to the land they became synonymous with over the course of the six epic Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit films directed by Peter Jackson.

The television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding author JRR Tolkien's The Fellowship Of The Ring, the first of the trilogy.

The official Lord Of The Rings show Twitter account simply tweeted the New Zealand flag as the announcement was made.

"Welcome home," said one Twitter user in response, while another replied: "Glad to see you're filming in Middle-earth."

Amazon Studios said in a statement that it had found a "majestic" location with world-class sets, and that production would begin in the city of Auckland in the coming months.

"As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle-earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff," said executive producers JD Payne and Patrick McKay.

"We're happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from JRR Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings.

"We are grateful to the people and the government of New Zealand and especially Auckland for supporting us during this pre-production phase. The abundant measure of Kiwi hospitality with which they have welcomed us has already made us feel right at home, and we are looking forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come."

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No further details about the series have been released, and Amazon would not reveal how much the show will cost or how many series it has planned.

There has been speculation Amazon could spend more than $1bn (£803m) on the series as it looks to take on other streaming services such as Netflix.

Sky News

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