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Do we want Michael Howard telling us what we should watch? No we don't. I would rather risk 100 Natural Born Killers than risk the death of our culture, which would result from the likes of Michael Howard making election capital out of telling me what films I can see.

Ben Elton, London Evening Standard

Art is usually enjoyed with others and often reflects the state of society in new and imaginative ways. And we believe in society. The arts deny the obnoxious assertion that there is no such thing as society.

Tony Blair, in his Mansion House speech outlining Labour's arts policy

Wonderful. We look forward to seeing words translated into action.

Richard Eyre, director of the National Theatre, reacts to the speech, Guardian

Well, I guess I was beautiful then. But what are you gonna do? It happens to athletes. Happily, actors can go on working. Athletes just run into a wall.

Charlton Heston on El Cid and getting old, Sunday Telegraph

I felt as if I was asking Shakespeare for amendments to King Lear.

Nicholas Hytner, director of The Crucible, on working with Arthur Miller, Time Out