The Diary: The King's Speech; Cob Studios and Gallery; Hampstead Theatre; Rough Cuts season; The Book Club

Battle royal

The course to deafening Oscar buzz never did run smooth. While The King's Speech appears to have had an effortless rise, its publicity push had a rocky start in America when its director publicly denounced the poster. "I hate it. It is not going to ever be on any cinema walls," said Tom Hooper. "It's a train smash." The original, a rather basic image of three heads poorly Photoshopped on to a soft-focus leafy backdrop, was duly replaced by a slicker yellow design, featuring Colin Firth's mouth and a microphone.

When the film premiered at the London Film Festival in October, the UK distributors took the opportunity to reshoot. "We would always develop a British-centric campaign for a big British film like this," explains Jamie Schwartz at Momentum Pictures. "We wanted to speak to as wide an audience as possible." They certainly haven't taken any chances. The regal shot of Firth and Geoffrey Rush on the Buckingham Palace balcony is for older viewers, I'm told. Youngsters, meanwhile, are catered for with a bolder image of Firth's face overlaid with GOD SAVE THE KING.

The teaser recalls The Social Network's poster, but was apparently inspired by the ubiquitous Keep Calm and Carry On 1939 propaganda image. Either way, the demographic hedging has paid off. The film gave Momentum its biggest ever opening weekend, taking £3.5m at the box office, beating Slumdog Millionaire.

Cob rules

Polly Stenham, the award-winning playwright (That Face), is expanding her arts empire. Next month, she opens Cob Studios and Gallery in North London. The space, named after her late father, the Unilever tycoon, Anthony "Cob" Stenham, will primarily function as a gallery, which will be curated by Stenham's friend, history of art researcher Victoria Williams. Stenham will also make Cob her writing base. "Writing can be quite an isolated activity. Her idea is to create a hub where inspiring people can work together," I'm told. Here's hoping a third play will be along soon.

A space to flex their creative muscles

When Ed Hall took over as artistic director at Hampstead Theatre last year, he said he wanted to transform the Michael Frayn studio into a "laboratory" for new work. In November, it gave the US screenwriter Gary Lennon (The Shield, Justified) his UK theatre debut. Now Lucy Kirkwood's latest, small hours, co-written with Ed Hime and directed by Katie Mitchell, has started a short run. The studio has been transformed into a living room, with the tiny 25-person audience seated on furniture to watch a woman, wide awake in her flat in the middle of the night. The critics are being kept out, in the spirit of experimentation. "It's meant to be a space for people to flex their creative muscles and just play," explains my spy in Swiss Cottage. Next up is a new David Eldridge, directed by Kathy Burke.

Rough justice

It would have been quite a coup. The 22-year old unknown Welsh writer Brad Birch premieres his play Permafrost at the Royal Court next week as part of the theatre's Rough Cuts season. The recent graduate of the Young Writers' Programme was set to make his debut at the theatre together with another, rather more high-profile, theatrical debutante, Sam Taylor- Wood. The artist-turned-film-maker signed up to direct the piece after talking to artistic director Dominic Cooke, but has now left the project. "She was just really interested in Rough Cuts, but has had to withdraw due to commitments elsewhere. We're waiting to hear on who will be taking over," I'm told. With a week to go, it's to be hoped they find someone soon.

Faris Badwan's day in

Continuing his transformation from Geldof ex to Renaissance man, Faris Badwan, frontman of The Horrors and artist is launching a new night at The Book Club in East London. The Concave Club launches next Thursday, and has aspirations to being a Noughties version of Andy Warhol's Factory. As such, clubbers will be treated to an tunes from Badwan's collection, from 1960s bubblegum pop to 1990s grunge, and the launch will be filmed, giving revellers their 15 minutes of fame – or at least something to post on Facebook.

Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
books
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
books
Arts and Entertainment
The man with the golden run: Daniel Craig as James Bond in 'Skyfall'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Waving Seal' by Luke Wilkinson was Highly Commended in the Portraits category

photography
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
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.

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor