News
 
For years, she was typecast as a frosty English rose. But then something remarkable happened – and Kristin Scott Thomas blossomed into one of the most interesting actresses of our age

FILM / On love and social death: Adam Mars-Jones on the difficult job of making romantic comedy for a modern audience in Anthony Minghella's Mr Wonderful

When, with a careless strum of the keyboard, Gus (Matt Dillon) loses a vital piece of his ex-wife's academic work on his computer, he tells her to pray to St Anthony for its return - St Anthony finds things. Anthony Minghella, director of Mr Wonderful (12) isn't ready for cinema canonisation just yet, but he does have a great knack for finding truth in played-out situations, walking through the dead heartland of cliche unscathed. In Truly Madly Deeply he found some of the emotional ugliness of grief that Ghost had tactfully airbrushed out (and Juliet Stevenson found the indignity and mucus that has always been missing from screen crying scenes). In his new film, Minghella finds freshness and charm in the situation of an estranged couple who can't quite get free of each other, and will ultimately come together with a positive clang of reconciliation. There can only be one Philadelphia Story, but Mr Wonderful makes a good shot at the difficult assignment of making romantic comedy for a modern audience.

FILM / A really bad Dwight in: Sheila Johnston reviews the charming This Boy's Life, John Woo's Hard Target and Me Ivan You Abraham

AS Anthony Minghella observes this week (see interview opposite), the hard sell is growing harder. We might bemoan the fact that The Fugitive is squatting in Warner's new West End multiplex in no less than four screens, but it's increasingly difficult to lure viewers into the equally as good, but lower-profile pictures playing next door.

FILM / Some kind of wonderful: Anthony Minghella would like you to forget Sleepless in Seattle. He tells Sheila Johnston why

YOU'D think it was enough to make a highly regarded film, one which won awards and proved its commercial mettle on both sides of the Atlantic. It should be enough, too, to be a respected writer in a range of media, for theatre (Made in Bangkok), television (What If It's Raining?; Inspector Morse) and radio (Hang Up; Coffee and Cigarettes). But no: none of the above sufficed for the wonderful world of movie promotion, and when Anthony Minghella's first film, Truly, Madly, Deeply, began to attract attention, it was pitched, almost inevitably, as the thinking person's Ghost.

TELEVISION / Hired to make drama out of a crisis: He once had the gall to turn Noele Gordon out of Crossroads, but does Charles Denton have what it takes to turn around the nosedive of BBC drama? Sue Summers talks to the new head of drama who must keep his head while others worry about losing theirs

It's a piquant fact that, before Charles Denton became the BBC's new head of drama, he ran an independent production company called Zenith, responsible, among other things, for ITV hits like Inspector Morse and successful films like Personal Services and Prick Up Your Ears. Some people may rush to the observation that the man from Zenith is taking over BBC drama at its nadir.

BOOK REVIEW / The villa of the peace: The English patient - Michael Ondaatje: Bloomsbury, pounds 14.99

MICHAEL ONDAATJE has invented a way of writing a novel that approximates the mind's habit of coming back again and again to the same moments of ecstasy, shame, peril or slipped meanings. Robbe-Grillet pointed the way towards this form in Jealousy, but in a much more austere and impersonal style.
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
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Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
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people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
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Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker