Arts and Entertainment Christopher Lee will be honoured with a BFI fellowship

The Wicker Man and Lord of the Rings star follows collaborator Tim Burton in being handed the prestigious BFI honour

Film books: Scaramanga Smilla and Shakesqueer

Who reads reviews, huh? snarled Bruce Willis when The Fifth Element was panned. Indeed, and who wants bulky collections of them distorting their Christmas stockings? Or screenplays of minority art-house films? Or heavyweight academic essays? But Biba Kopf, in a combative introductory essay to Time Out's bulbous Film Guide 1998 (ed John Pym, Penguin pounds 13.99), gives Willis short shrift: "Well, in case you're having trouble reading this, Brucie, get one of your lackeys to spell it out to you slowly: stupidity is not smart, and ignorance surely isn't bliss." Time Out's tome is well worth keeping by your video recorder. Each year's new reviews (650 for this edition) are added to a database stretching back to the magazine's foundation in 1968. With a cut-off point somewhere in October this year, this sixth edition squeezes in Nil by Mouth, but not Wilde, The Full Monty or Career Girls. The newest reviews are authoritative, judicious, closely argued and succinct; alas, it seems TO critics are no longer as eccentric, passionate, off-beam and funny as they once were.

Hammer Horror, the long deceased master of gore is set to rise from the grave.

Hammer Horror films are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their first movie. And as a birthday present advertising mogul, Charles Saatchi, has signed a deal that will transform Hammer from a twitching cadaver into a global empire. Add to this the forthcoming bicentenary of the birth of Frankenstein's creator, Mary Shelley and the publishing centenary of Bram Stoker's Dracula - and we face one of the most horror-filled months of the century.

In the footsteps of the invisible men

Mike Rowbottom reflects on the impact of previous Ministers for Sport

David Lister arts notebook

Ah, those tiresome interviews with opera stars. An excuse for an album plug or a lengthy tribute to this maestro or that diva. Until ... one star, one of the biggest stars, enjoys lunch just a little too much and fires a volley of prejudice and political incorrectness.

Bad blood as `Dracula' plays Pakistan's hero

Christopher Lee, the veteran horror-film actor, arrived in Karachi yesterday to find an orchestrated furore over the decision to cast him as Pakistan's revered national hero Jinnah.

Top books? You're kidding

Waterstones' 'best books' survey shows that the nation is hidebound by GCSE syllabuses, says Ann Barnes

The Prince of Order

Interview: Christopher Lee has `one foot in the grave, one on a banana skin'. But he's still alive and singing, he tells Janie Lawrence

Vampire movies that suck

DRACULA: DEAD & LOVING IT (1996) LESLIE NIELSEN PROVES A

The horror, the horror

Hammer films, set for a month's retrospective at the Barbican, reveal as much about the British society of their day as they do about the eating habits of werewolves. By Phil Johnson

Strong but batty

BRAM STOKER: A Biography of the Author of Dracula by Barbara Belford, Weidenfeld pounds 25

HEALTH; The hole story of my life

Bizarrely, some people believe drilling a hole in your skull leads to mental liberation. Jenny Gathorne-Hardy describes her experience of an odd practice with a long record

A tale of pagan burial

Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man was declared 'unscreenable', hacked, then Rod Stewart tried to have it burnt. Ryan Gilbey on a cult one-hit wonder

History in a day and all that

"THE FIRST date in English history is 55BC." So opens that model of scholarship, 1066 and All That. And so, give or take some rough verbiage, opens This Sceptr'd Isle (R4), a series that will fill the sacred 15 minutes after the Morning Service throughout the next year, offering us Memorable Dates and Bad Things aplenty. The rounded, nay spherical, tones of Anna Massey give spurious orotundity to Christopher Lee's bumpy script, filled out, so far, with solemn readings from Winston Churchill and extracts from a remarkably bad translation of Tacitus.

Obituary: Robert Urquhart

Quiet, well-read and a lover of classical music, Robert Urquhart was an actor who grew frustrated with his career as he grew older. It was, he bemoaned, an honourable profession but so much of the material he was offered did not deserve any respect. Although he appeared in dozens of feature films and starred in television series such as The Pathfinders, The Reporters, The Inheritors, The Aweful Mr Goodall and The Old Men at the Zoo, Urquhart spent more and more time at his home in the Scottish Highlands, where he established an eating, drinking and musical establishment called the Ceilidh Place, never letting go of his Scottish roots.

Acting world pays tribute to a gentleman of horror

It was the memorial service to which he believed no one would come. But yesterday the great and the good of the acting world braved the bitter wind to pay their respects to the horror star Peter Cushing.
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