Cultural Life: Dan Stevens, actor


Television: I thought 'The Trip' was sublimely brilliant; beautiful and funny at every turn. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, continuing their comedic sparring from Michael Winterbottom's 'A Cock and Bull Story', was subtle yet silly British mid-life-crisis comedy at its best.

Film: Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'Biutiful' is shocking and breathtaking. Javier Bardem is a uniquely watchable actor and his performance in this is amazing. It's a very moving and valuable confrontation with death that leaves you feeling utterly washed out. 'The Kids Are All Right' might well be my film of last year. Wonderfully insightful on the subjects of family and love, I thought it was smart, sassy and refreshing.

Theatre: 'Joseph K' by Tom Basden at the Gate Theatre was one of the best new plays I've seen in years. The amazing multiple-performances from a tiny cast and super-sharp writing provided a brilliantly absurdist lens on the tyranny of "pettygarchy".

Music: I've been plugged into Daft Punk's soundtrack to 'Tron: Legacy'. It's a vast, epic, dark electronic odyssey. Kate Rusby's 'Make the Light' is a favourite (below). I've loved her music for years, but this is the first album of her own songs. Her voice never fails to move me, and all the wit and wisdom she has picked up from years of singing folk has infused her own work with an equally beautiful and magical quality.

Books: I'm currently getting through 'The German Genius' by Peter Watson. I'm a huge Germanophile and I'm really enjoying this exploration of the cultural and intellectual powerhouse that Germany has been since the late 18th century, and how it has shaped the modern West. It's very long though!

Dan Stevens plays Matthew Crawley in ITV's 'Downton Abbey'. The second series is out later this year

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Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
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Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
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