Arts and Entertainment Chiwetel Ejiofor (second from right) stars as kidnapped slave Solomon Northup in '12 Years A Slave'

The Steve McQueen film made £2.5m in its opening weekend

Middle Eastern promise: Nadine Labaki (centre) in
'Where Do We Go Now?'

Nadine Labaki: The poster girl of Beirut makes a bittersweet return

Nadine Labaki is a Lebanese film-maker set for global success

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: There is still a strong case for a republic

I admire and hugely like the singer Billy Bragg, that proud working-class hero. The last time we met, the Queen's Jubilee came up and also my fierce republicanism. Don't fret, said Billy, understand. Royalty is an integral part of British culture. Respect it, as you ask for your culture to be respected. I have never believed any tradition should be above criticism, just because it goes back a long way. But still, Billy, this time I tried, really tried. And then this week the excessive indulgence of spoilt royals, the oleaginousness and uninhibited ostentation got to me. Objections broke out, like hives. And quite honestly it is a relief after the suffocating restraint of the past months.

Mum’s the word: Sadie Frost performs ‘Touched... Like A Virgin’

In the groove with pop and pregnancy

Sadie Frost's one-woman show mixes Madonna and motherhood. By Charlotte Cripps

Market Report: Peppa Pig owner's shares fatten on movie deal talk

Lights, camera ... action? With Entertainment One, the co-owner of kids' favourite cartoon porcine Peppa Pig, on the search for acquisitions, The King's Speech-backer Alliance Films has long been rumoured to be in its sights. Yesterday, with the sale process of the Canadian firm looking set to be completed in a matter of weeks, City scribblers were claiming that – win or lose – punters would be switching onto the media firm.

Charles Edwards as King George VI and Emma Fielding as Queen Elizabeth in the stage version of The King's Speech

King's Speech film killed us off, say stars of stuttering West End show

Acclaimed production to close less than eight weeks into its run

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are competing for one of cinema's most prestigious prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival

Cinemas battle to put bums on seats

As unemployment and ticket prices both rise, will young adults continue to be able to afford trips to the movies? Geoffrey Macnab reports

A Blagger's Guide To: James Bond

'Vices: drink, but not to excess, and women ...'

Robert Fisk on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in 1984

Robert Fisk: The heroic myth and the uncomfortable truth of war reporting

Like other correspondents, Robert Fisk has risked his life to 'witness history'. But after almost four decades, he feels ambivalent towards his profession

Simon Kelner: Nothing much can remain a secret in this viral age

If you haven't seen The Artist yet, does the fact that it has won five Oscars make you more, or less, likely to go and see it? Seduced by its success, or put off by the hype?

Ciaran Hinds in ‘The Shore’, which centres on the Troubles

Northern Irish leaders unite in praise of Oscar-winner

An Oscar for a Belfast film-maker whose work concentrates on the violence of the Troubles was yesterday welcomed across the political and religious divide in Northern Ireland.

Uggie the Dog is chewing over the bitterness of being not invited to the Oscars

Not invited? You're not alone. Neither is Uggie the Dog

Even the best get overlooked and humiliated at times. So, join the snub club

Robert Pattinson and Philip Glenister star in Bel Ami

Heads Up: Bel Ami

Fangs away but love still has bite for raunchy R-Pattz

Time to call cut on long film titles

Have some sympathy for cinemagoers who make the mistake of booking their tickets over the phone in the next few weeks. Quite apart from the purgatory that is the multiplexes' booking systems, they'll also have to contend with titles that will leave them breathless.

First Night: The King's Speech, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford

Much more than a chance to turn a royal hit film into royalties

Grant will be at birth of Bridget Jones's Baby

The production company behind the Bridget Jones's Diary movies was yesterday forced to deny reports that Hugh Grant had quit the third instalment because of issues with the script.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform