The world of fantasy fiction has been rocked to its very core following a claim that avuncular Hogwart’s Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore and Middle Earth’s uber-wizard Gandalf, are in fact one and the same person, and that just one of them would have been ‘perfectly adequate’ to appear as the ultimate force for good against evil in both series of blockbusting sagas.

But odd as it seems, a team of academics from Oxford’s Bodleian Library has published a study making exactly that astonishing claim. It follows an exhaustive three-year project examining all known texts of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

Professor Rachel Saunders, the study’s leader, told journalists: ‘Dumbledore and Gandalf are the same person. Of that there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever, the facts are there. Both have long hair and big bushy beards. Both dress in robes, and quite crucially in the team’s view, both wear funny hats. I mean come on…? Have you ever seen them together in the same room? Well, there you are then!’

JRR Tolkien was unavailable for comment but Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, has hit back blasting the claim as ‘pure unadulterated rubbish’. Speaking to The Bookseller she said: ‘This is a preposterous suggestion. Dumbledore is the Headmaster of a fictional witchcraft and wizarding school whereas everyone knows that Gandalf is the lead singer of The Boomtown Rats.’