News The CCTV headquarters in Beijing

Worldwide arm set to co-operate on at least two major natural history projects with CCTV9's documentary arm

South West Trains managing director quits

The managing director of South West Trains has left the company after a reorganisation by Stagecoach which won the franchise earlier this year.

It's not just the Macs who have clans

Even Smiths and Clarks can lay claim to Celtic roots.

`Braveheart' in League of his own

If you want to understand what really happened in Italy's general election, ask Mel Gibson. Or rather, marvel at the timing with which his film Braveheart swept the Oscars last month. His tale of William Wallace's revolt against the English provided the Northern League, the volatile separatist movement that rails against the iniquities of rule from Rome, with the perfect symbol for its poll campaign.

FILM: OSCAR RESULTS IN FULL

BEST PICTURE: Braveheart

Bravehearts and statuettes

Oscars special: Susan Sarandon, the bookies' hot favourite to take the Best Actress prize at tomorrow night's Academy Awards, talks to Daniel Jeffreys As the nominees await their fate, David Thomson offers his Oscar predictions

'Predatory' firm's tactics kill off rivals

CHRISTIAN WOLMAR

Letter: On the right track for a rail service

From Mr Brian Cox

Theatre: Hamlet Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

In the third and final production of their autumn season, the Lyceum's cast take on Hamlet, under the direction of their own Kenny Ireland, who seems to have found in Denmark's rotten state a home-from-home. Having trimmed the text for pace rather than any monocular interpretation of its central character, Ireland approaches the play with great narrative vigour and honesty.

Master of disguise

A tricky customer, Alan Bates. He has a show to plug, 'The Master Builder', but that doesn't stop him playing hard to get. Interview by Georgina Brown

It's bare knees against articulated metal pyjamas in Mel Gibson's latest butchfest. Adam Mars-Jones referees; BRAVEHEART Mel Gibson (15)

First Rob Roy and now Braveheart: suddenly Hollywood has the hots for Scotland, for misty glens, broad knees and a history of virile defeat. Braveheart is set around the year 1300, and tells the story of William Wallace, who scored notable successes against the English at Stirling and York, before being betrayed and then executed in Smithfield, London, where a plaque outside Bart's Hospital commemorates him.

House of Bards

Whatever has a theatre, and in particular one that hasn't even opened yet, done to deserve such a reputation? The Globe, Shakespeare's open-air playhouse reconstructed on its original site, has been surprisingly slow to find a place in the public's affections. Each month, some benefit or appeal takes place; and yet, whatever the venue's merits, many London theatregoers hold a deep-seated suspicion of it. What it will offer, they fear, is a Bard fossilised in Elizabethan amber. "I don't know why, but it's very hard for us to get rid of that impression," chief executive, Michael Holden, admits exasperatedly. "We're really not about recreating 'authentick-with-a-K' Shakespeare."

Theatre: Plenty of precious metal, not enough alchemy

IN A brief career, Matthew Warchus has already staged two Ben Jonson plays; this week he makes his National Theatre debut with a third. Volpone, Jonson's satirical masterpiece, is packed to the gills with cozeners, connivers and cheats driven by demented greed, and it's one of the funniest, most savage plays in the language.

Russian drama gets off to a shaky start

Russia offers many things to the film- maker - low production costs, an exotic backdrop, a refreshment of genre pleasures - but it doesn't yet appear to offer them a Steadicam. Grushko, a new three- part series for BBC 1, opens by rising into the air above St Petersburg, catching the city at sunset - white Northern light shining on the Neva. I'm a knockover for helicopter shots at any time (the combination of omniscience and mystery they offer can be thrilling) but I could have done without the wobble here, which suggested that a hapless cameraman had been lashed to the landing struts. Later, too, in a scene in which a menacing black limousine cruised to a fatal appointment, you could see that the cameraman (tracking it from a car in front) was being given problems by St Petersburg's crumbling pavements. I hope the neck brace is off by now.

BOOK REVIEW / The sublime thinginess of things: William Scammell on a newcomer in his seventies and two other fine debuts

HATS off to Fergus Allen, a 'new' poet in his early seventies, who makes the finest late debut since Amy Clampitt with The Kingfisher. The Brown Parrots of Providencia (Faber pounds 5.99) has poems about all the usual things - landscapes, Irish and other actors, prayer-wheels, parrots, flies and nettles, love, graffiti, Guinness, music (graveyard of many an effusive, but Allen is up to the difficulty), suits of armour - and there's hardly a dud among them, which in a first collection is astounding.

Letter: What's testing got to do with it?

I AM disturbed that Brian Cox (Letters, 2 May) is preoccupied with the testing implications of the National Curriculum Council's proposals for the new English curriculum.
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