Arts and Entertainment

Nina Stibbe moved to London in 1982 to work as a nanny for Mary-Kay Wilmers, the editor of the London Review of Books. In the years following, she wrote letters home to her sister in Leicester, and Love, Nina is the result.

The Information on: Alan Bennett's `Enjoy'

What Is It?

First Night: Epic voyage into toilet humour

Holy Mothers Ambassadors Theatre London

Did Alan Bennett write `The Sweeney'?


Leading Article: The library campaign that misses the point

SOMETIMES THE warm, comforting conservatism of the liberal left can make the gorge rise. If Joan Bakewell, Deborah Moggach, Ben Elton, Harry Enfield and Alan Bennett are against something, it is tempting to feel that it should be defended. If they are complaining about closures and spending cuts, planning sit-ins and demanding a meeting with the Culture Secretary, Chris Smith, it must be right to close and cut. And if we are talking about branch libraries in Hampstead, whose doors have never been darkened by these celebs, then bring on the bulldozers now.

Books: A Week in Books

Dr Strange Love goes to Hollywood again

Profile: Alan Bennett: A degree of restraint

Robert Butler on the playwright who snubbed Oxford because of its dubious connections

Bennett rejects Oxford's call

THE PLAYWRIGHT Alan Bennett has turned down an honorary degree from Oxford University because it accepted what Bennett called "bad money" from Rupert Murdoch.

Accidental Heroes of the 20th Century: 19. Alan Bennett, Playwright

ALAN BENNETT mends a puncture on his bike. "I get pleasure out of being able to do simple, practical jobs - replacing a fuse, changing a wheel, jump-starting a car - because they are not generally associated with a temperament like mine," he writes. "I tend to put sexual intercourse in this category too."

Theatre: Narnia: the expensive version


Books: Perfumes from the past

A Week in Books: Bennett crossed with Proust? It's a storm in a French teacup teacup

Theatre: Never mind the size, feel the quality


First Night: Kafka's metamorphosis into a figure of fun

Kafka's Dick Piccadilly Theatre London

Television: Our lady of the bap and tea towel

James Rampton watches Victoria Wood's new comedy and asks: what's the point of sitcoms?

Children's Books: Triffic laughs with bad girls

Reading aloud for children is an art, says Christina Hardyment

theatre: joe orton

Stephen Frears's film Prick Up Your Ears - scripted by the great Alan Bennett - introduced moviegoers to the great theatrical talent of Joe Orton (below). Unlike Miss Jean Brodie, this genuinely groundbreaking comic writer, dubbed the "Oscar Wilde of the Welfare State", never saw his prime as he was murdered by his lover. Now, thanks to his sister Leonie, who has been emptying out her attic, we have the first opportunity to see how it all began. On Monday and Tuesday, there are readings of excerpts from his earliest plays - Fred and Madge and The Visitors and a novel, Between Us Girls, all of which have only just been published for the first time. Wednesday's performance also offers the chance to see Leonie (memorably played by Frances Barber in the film) in interview.
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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'