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

British films prove box office hits

The success of The King's Speech and The Inbetweeners has helped independent British films to a greater share of box office receipts than ever before.

DVD: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (15)

Tomas Alfredson's perfectly cast adaptation of John le Carré's thorny tale of double-crossing spies doesn't quite equal the peerless BBC series from the Seventies, but it's still a sensationally nimble achievement.

Colin Firth awarded CBE

Hollywood royalty Colin Firth was today awarded a CBE by the Prince of Wales - whose grandfather the actor brought to life on the screen.

Archie Bland: Let's make the Oscars a ceremony you can sit through

I've always viewed the Oscars roughly the way I view Formula One: I'm quite interested in knowing the results, but the process by which they're produced is basically unwatchable. Over here, where things are still amateur enough that something is liable to go wrong – see Freddie Starr's recent inscrutable performance at the Comedy Awards – they're still reasonably entertaining.

Cameron: We need more mainstream films

David Cameron urged the British film industry to concentrate on making more mainstream movies today.

Royal recognition for 'Queen Mother' Helena

New Year Honours: Entertainment

Fast Five is most pirated film

The action film Fast Five, the fifth in the Fast and the Furious franchise, has been illegally downloaded more than any other film this year.

New year's Eve (12A)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Jessica Parker

DVD: The King's Speech, For retail & rental (Momentum)

A reassuring tale of friendship and determination overcoming every obstacle, The King's Speech was the safe, conventional choice for Oscar voters.

Colin Firth could be knighted

Colin Firth is set to be knighted after winning an Oscar for 'The King's Speech'.

Letter from the editor: The Oscars 2011

Did I mention I was once on polite nodding terms with Colin Firth at the school gates? Or that I almost had a blind date with Helena Bonham Carter?

Firth rejects 'cleaned-up' version of film

Colin Firth has revealed he opposes plans to release an edited version of The King's Speech, which won four Oscars at the Academy Awards on Sunday night.

Woman behind King's Speech won't be at Oscars

The theatre agent who discovered the script for The King's Speech and was instrumental in casting one of its lead actors will not attend this month's Academy Awards, where the film is expected to sweep the board.

Steve Richards: The coming 'Yes' vote will be explosive

I cannot see voters rejecting the chance for change in a referendum when the anti-politics mood is so strong
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there