Sir Ian McKellen is to reprise his role as 'Hamlet' in an age-blind production.

The 81-year-old actor will star in the titular role in a new version of the Shakespeare classic, and he quipped he was ''lucky to be working again''.

He said: ''I feel lucky to be working again, thanks to Bill Kenwright's inspiring optimism and Sean Mathias's invitation to re-examine Hamlet, 50 years on from my first go. So now we will meet again. Don't know when, but do know where - Theatre Royal Windsor!''

The show's producer Bill Kenwright has revealed rehearsals are starting back, with full personal protective equipment (PPE) for all.

Kenwright added: ''A lot of planning, a great deal of determination - and, I must admit, some of the things I learnt prior to the return of football - have got us to the place where all things theatrical start. Nothing is more important than this country's and indeed the world's health and safety, so we are not ready to announce an opening night yet - but I'm a great believer in making a start if a start is possible, and in this instance it is.''

Ian is arguably best known for his role in 'Lord of the Rings', and he previously insisted he doesn't mind ''riding in Gandalf's chariot''.

Asked how he felt about being so closely linked with such huge movie roles, he said: ''God Bless, Gandalf. I ride in his chariot. I remember a friend said to me, 'Do you realise when 'Lord of the Rings' comes out, your life is going to change forever? Didn't know what he meant, but it has. In that, I suddenly got thousands and thousands of friends that I didn't know about.''