The Blockheads, Water Rats, London

A fan barely moves the warm, soupy air inside the packed pub back room. It’s the sort of place where Ian Dury played with his band Kilburn and the High Roads in the early 1970s, one leg ravaged by polio, his Essex guttersnipe wit and intransigent attitude influencing a watching Johnny Rotten. But it was his next band the Blockheads who provided the jazz-funk, pub-rock engine which powered his greatest work, often co-written with Chaz Jankel.

David Phelan tries out monkey suit CGI used in Planet of the Apes Peter Jackson's WETA studios

King of the digital swingers

Can Peter Jackson's Weta studios allow anyone to play a gorilla? David Phelan dons a motion-capture suit to try to ape CGI superstar Andy Serkis

Andy Serkis played Caesar, an ape with artificially enhanced intelligence in Rise of the Planet of the Apes

King of the digital swingers: Can Peter Jackson's Weta studios allow anyone to play a gorilla?

David Phelan dons a motion-capture suit to try to ape CGI superstar Andy Serkis

DVD: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (12)

"Are you sure you're not rushing?" James Franco's Will is reasonably asked.

Tales From The Water Cooler: Give him an Oscar for great apedom

When a reviewer writes of an animal themed film that the chimpanzee/rabbit/St Bernard gives a better performance than the lead actor, it's generally meant as a poor reflection on the human star. In the case of this week's biggest release, it's a measure of the brilliance of the beast.

Evangeline Lilly to star in The Hobbit

The former 'Lost' actress has signed on to play a new character, Tauriel, but director Sir Peter Jackson refused to give any further details about the woodland elf.

Peter Jackson is taken ill as curse of 'The Hobbit' strikes again

Budget blow-outs, an industrial dispute, even a race row have threatened to derail the latest JRR Tolkien blockbuster, The Hobbit. To that list can now be added a perforated ulcer, courtesy of director Sir Peter Jackson, who was taken to hospital in the New Zealand capital, Wellington, on Wednesday.

Accused, BBC1, Monday<br/>I Was Bin Laden's Bodyguard, More 4, Tuesday

Thanks to all-round quality, McGovern's latest helping carried great emotional weight despite a shaky storyline

Race row on Tolkien film after extra told: 'You've got to look like a hobbit'

Just 5ft tall and a fan of The Lord of the Rings, Naz Humphreys believed she would make a perfect hobbit. So when the chance of a bit-part in Peter Jackson's new film project came up, she seized it. What she did not expect was to be told she was not white enough.

Errors &amp; Omissions: We can't escape 'The Hobbit', but we can at least get the details right

Yesterday's Arts & Books section carried an interview with the Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro, who resigned from the Hobbit project some months ago when it looked as if the money men would never give the films the green light.

Guillermo del Toro: The master of the labyrinth escapes from Middle Earth

His fantastical films explore many horrors, but none quite so terrible as his lengthy Hobbit nightmare, he tells James Mottram.

Mike Leigh - Secrets and Leigh lines

As Mike Leigh's new film, Another Year, is released, James Mottram explores the rigorous processes behind the performances his work is famed for, while stars reveal the demands involved.

Slumdog director honoured with BFI Fellowship

Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle was honoured by the UK movie industry last night as he was awarded a British Film Institute (BFI) Fellowship.

New Zealanders protest at plans to relocate 'Hobbit'

Thousands of New Zealanders took to the country's streets yesterday to protest against possible plans to move production of Peter Jackson's hobbit movies overseas.

Freeman to lead British invasion into Middle Earth

An influx of familiar faces into Middle Earth is expected after the announcement that filming of The Hobbit will finally begin next February, bringing to an end years of delays.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
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