The Diary: Joe Orton; The Fighter; David Hare; Grayson Perry; Les Dennis

Cover stories

In 1962, Joe Orton and his lover Kenneth Halliwell were sent to prison for six months for stealing and defacing books from their local library. Bored by the selection on offer the pair amused themselves by sneaking out dust jackets and altering them with collages and their own text. "I used to stand in the corners after I'd smuggled the doctored books back into the library and then watch people read them. It was very fun", noted Orton in his diaries. Now some of the defaced books, normally hidden in storage at the Islington Local History Centre, have gone on show at London's Ancient and Modern gallery. It was Adam Gillam's idea to exhibit them, alongside his own sculptures. "My work is not as racy, but there's a shared playful spirit," says the artist. "They're provocative and amusing." Covers on show include The Collected Plays of Emlyn Williams, with altered titles including Night Must Fall to "Knickers Must Fall"; Agatha Christie's The Secret of Chimneys with added cats; and Collins Guide to Roses in which a monkey's face unexpectedly stares out from the centre of a beautiful English rose.

Sisters of mercy

As critics and award juries alike have noted, authenticity drips off The Fighter like sweat off a boxer's chin. Mark Wahlberg spent four- and-a-half years in training to play the fighter Micky Ward, while Christian Bale lost 30lb to play his deadbeat junkie brother, Dicky Eklund. The movie was filmed in the heart of blue-collar Massachusetts, and Mickey O'Keefe, a local cop who trained Ward for five years, plays himself.

Pulling no punches in his quest for gritty, true-life drama, director David O Russell also found parts for Ward's sisters and his uncle Gerry, who appears as the boss of the paving company where the brothers worked. "We had to have them in the movie," says Russell. "They're just amazing people. We wanted to be absolutely respectful of who these people are and, at the same time, be direct about the truth of their story." The scene-stealing, big-haired line-up of seven sisters who belligerently track Micky's every move – sporting and romantic – are played by a mix of established actresses, local amateurs and TV host Conan O'Brien's sister, Kate, in her acting debut. Not all of the sisters were happy with their on-screen incarnations, though, with Phyllis "Beaver" Eklund storming out of an early screening. "I talked to the family about it," Russell told the New York Daily News. "And they said, 'One out of seven ain't bad"."

Licence to Bill

Filming has started on Page Eight, David Hare's first original screenplay in 20 years. It stars Bill Nighy as an MI5 officer embroiled in a tricksy case after his boss (Michael Gambon) dies suddenly. "David wrote this part for Bill," I'm told. "They have a long-standing relationship. Bill adores David." Nighy last appeared in Hare's The Vertical Hour on Broadway in 2006. Ralph Fiennes, playing the Prime Minister, makes up a heavyweight trio of leading men, but Page Eight focuses on "Bill surrounded by his women", apparently. Rachel Weisz , Saskia Reeves, Judy Davis and Felicity Jones all co-star. The BBC2 thriller screens later this year.

A kinky morning

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Grayson Perry is to take to the lectern at London's School of Life to deliver a morning (gulp!) lecture on the joys of kinky sex. The Turner Prize-winning potter and flamboyant cross-dresser has previously claimed his first sexual experience came aged eight when he tied himself up in his own pyjamas, while his decorative pots often reveal sado-masochist sex scenes when looked at close-up. The event on 13 February will celebrate "a more creative, daring, playful and honest approach to sex", as part of a series of determinedly secular sermons for modern urbanites.

Reversal of fortune

Think famous failures, think Les Dennis, right? Ever since the ex-Family Fortunes host appeared on Extras as a broken and cuckolded panto star, it has been tricky to separate the two. Now Dennis is to appear in the London premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's satire on celebrity Drowning on Dry Land. The play centres on Charlie Conrad, a man who has achieved great fame simply by being a failure. Dennis plays Conrad's womanising, ruthless agent, Jason. No, not Conrad – shame on you for typecasting!

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam