Arts and Entertainment Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch backstage at the 25th annual Producers Guild of America Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel

Actors had 'a lot to talk about'

2 for 1 Audio Books offer with the The Independent

In a hi-tech, fast-paced world simple pleasures can often be the most satisfying. And few pleasures are more simple or more satisfying than listening to a good story well told.

OBITUARY: Jeremy Brett

Jeremy Brett, actor, died London 12 September, aged 59. Played Sherlock Holmes in the 1984-94 television series, as well as film roles in War and Peace (1955) and My Fair Lady (1965) and stage appearances in A Voyage Round My Father (1972) and The Tempest (1983). [An obituary follows].

Sherlock Holmes fan wins his case in US golf case

One of the world's most important collections of Sherlock Holmes memorabilia sold for almost pounds 150,000 at Sotheby's yesterday, but confirmed fears that many of the best items would go abroad.

Words to wake up the Mogadon Booker (ha, ha, ha)

THIS IS the time of year when six different publishers are busy printing wrappers saying 'Winner of the Booker Prize 1994]' ready to slap on the winner as soon as it is announced. Unfortunately, five of them will be wrong, which means that at least five publishers will very soon be pulping 'Winner of the Booker Prize 1994' wrappers, which must be a melancholy occupation, but at least they can comfort themselves with the thought that the Booker Prize does still generate interest in novels.

The glove poets: So James Fenton will not be stepping into the ring to take on Adrian Mitchell for the heavyweight poetry-reading belt. More's the pity, says Robert Hanks. Poetry has a long, distinguished history of prizefighting and, with a bit of goodwill, could move up a weight as a popular spectator sport

Turn to page 21 of this week's New Statesman & Society, and you will find an open letter from that magazine's poetry editor, Adrian Mitchell, to James Fenton, Professor of Poetry at Oxford and columnist for this paper, challenging him to a 'Public Poetry Bout' for the title of 'greatest poet in all England.'

FILM / Didn't you used to be . . ?: Faraway, So Close: a new film by Wim Wenders starring Nastassja Kinski and the former president of the USSR. Kevin Jackson on the cameo

Whatever else might be said about Wim Wenders's latest film Faraway, So Close - and most of the critics have tended to say things like 'pretentious', 'incoherent', 'boring' and 'ridiculous' - you certainly can't fault the director's power to draw a killer list of cameo appearances. Peter Falk, he of Columbo fame, appears in the film as Peter Falk, just as he did in the first part of Wenders's angelic saga, Wings of Desire; Lou Reed hangs out sullenly and plays a Lou Reed gig, just as Nick Cave hung out sullenly and played a Nick Cave gig in the same film; and the credits underline the jet-set party flavour of the thing by listing a particularly special 'Special Guest': a quiet, ruminative chap, name of Mikhail Gorbachev (who, in the light of those harsh reviews, should probably think about sacking his agent).

Obituary: Patsy Dalton

Edwardian hats hugely beflowered and a set of scarlet suspenders will always evoke personal memories of Patsy Dalton, writes John Salt (further to the obituary by Philip Porter, 4 June).

Newsbrief: Sherlock's home

A plaque commemorating the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is to be unveiled this month by his daughter, Lady Bromet, at 2 Upper Wimpole Street, where her father wrote several books, including 'A Scandal in Bohemia' and 'The Red Headed League'.

Royal Mail Competition: The answer is a lemon

JOHN WATSON M D was looking pensive. Idly gnawing the end of a pencil, he scratched his head, folded his newspaper and put it down, with a sigh.

Obituary: Charles Scholefield

Charles Scholefield, lawyer, died 23 September, aged 91. An expert on public health and local government, he became Master of the Bench of the Middle Temple in 1966. Chairman of the Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine 1966-73, and editor of the 11th and 12th editions of Lumley's Public Health (the standard work on local government). A leading member of the Sherlock Holmes Society, he played Moriarty in the re-enactment in 1968 of the deadly struggle with Holmes at the Reichenbach Falls, in Switzerland.

Royal Mail competition: Now it's your Final Problem

THE FINAL day of our Royal Mail competition offers the chance to unravel the last clue, which features Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty in a scene from the story The Final Problem. The Royal Mail has launched a set of five stamps to mark the centenary of Holmes's death. The 24p stamps depict scenes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, and in keeping with the theme, they incorporate a challenge to decipher some extremely well-disguised clues.

Letter: It's Sherlockological

Sir: So Tim Owen (Letters, 13 October) feels it is 'poppycock' to celebrate the centenary of the death (or, more appropriately, the disappearance) of Sherlock Holmes in 1993?

Letter: Elementary mistake

Sir: Centenary of the death of Sherlock Holmes? 12 October 1993? Poppycock] As the whole world knows, Sherlock Holmes met his supposed death, at the hands of his arch-enemy Professor Moriarty, on 4 May 1891. So Royal Mail has missed the centenary by two years, five months and eight days. That's rather longer than the expected delay to the opening of the Channel Tunnel, whose commemorative philatelic issue this Sherlock Holmes series has hastily replaced.

Royal Mail Competition: Collect a prize holiday

THROUGHOUT this week the Independent is running an exclusive competition with Royal Mail, which yesterday launched a set of special stamps to mark the centenary of the death of Sherlock Holmes. The five 24p stamps, designed by Andrew Davidson, depict scenes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, and in keeping with the detective theme, they incorporate a challenge to decipher some extremely well-disguised clues.

Royal Mail Competition: Win a Holmes holiday

ROYAL MAIL today marks the centenary of the death of Sherlock Holmes with the launch of a set of special stamps. Five 24p stamps depict scenes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. They are unusual not only in being inspired by a fictional character - stamps on a literary theme normally pay tribute to the author - but also because they contain a unique mystery element.
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