Arts and Entertainment

Cutie and the Boxer (E) Zachary Heinzerling, DVD (82mins)

Hugh Grant was the 72nd person to be auditioned for the lead role in Four Weddings and a Funeral

Four Weddings and 72 auditions: Hugh Grant won romcom role after marathon casting process

With his cut-glass English charm and endearingly chaotic manner (not to mention the floppy hair) Hugh Grant has proven himself every bit the leading man. But the actor was actually the 72nd person to be auditioned for Four Weddings and a Funeral, and the was the first to make it seem funny, Richard Curtis has revealed.

Mathew Baynton

My Edinburgh: Mathew Baynton - Why the Fringe is a good place to wear a gimp mask

Yesterday, in Edinburgh, I was walking alongside a lady wearing high heels and a gimp mask. Her, not me. No-one walking past batted an eyelid. She had no flyers in her hand or any evidence of being in a show. I think she’d worked out that Edinburgh in August is a great place to be if you want to dress up oddly and not get funny looks.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and ‘terrific’ Chloë Grace Moretz in Kick-Ass 2

Nicholas Barber on Kick-Ass 2: Pantomime violence with an ethical edge

It could be called ‘Gouge-Eye 2’ or ‘Stab-Leg 2’, but this sequel is more moral than its prototype

Funny...AND a woman?! Tina Fey's new sitcom another blow to gendering laughs

The star of 30 Rock has reshaped the comedy landscape over her career

Richard Curtis initially made his name co-writing television comedies

Bowing out: Richard Curtis to say farewell to directing at About Time premiere

Bill Nighy and Rachel McAdams are among the stars who will attend tonight's world premiere of Richard Curtis's latest film About Time as he brings his hugely successful directing career to an end.

Love’s labour’s lost: Richard Curtis; Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon in ‘Love Actually’

Goodbye, actually? Richard Curtis, has announced that his next film will be his last. But directors have a nasty habit of retiring again and again

A while ago, I went to the cinema to see Side Effects, which several reviews had informed me was director Steven Soderbergh’s final film before retiring. “This clever pharma-thriller would be a fitting sign-off,” ran the subhead in The Observer’s review.

Richard Curtis initially made his name co-writing television comedies

Don't announce your retirement, Richard Curtis - it's far better to fade to black

All these smoke signals about retirement are tiresome. Is the whole of Britain meant to mount a campaign to make the director change his mind?

Video: Benedict Wong

Watch the videos below to view previews and trailers for some of the projects Benedict Wong's recent projects.

Video: Benedict Wong

Watch the videos below to view previews and trailers for some of the projects Benedict Wong's recent projects.

Video: Benedict Wong

Watch the videos below to view previews and trailers for some of the projects Benedict Wong's recent projects.

Father Ted actor Ardal O'Hanlon has been cast in Channel 4 drama London Irish

Ardal O'Hanlon joins cast of new Channel 4 drama London Irish

Father Ted star Ardal O'Hanlon is joining the cast of a new near-the-knuckle Channel 4 comedy about Northern Irish pals growing up in London.

Sacha Baron Cohen (left) was due to play Freddie Mercury (right) in a film of his life

I want to break free: Sacha Baron Cohen exits Freddie Mercury biopic over 'creative differences' with Queen

Comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen is reported to have quit playing the lead in an impending Freddie Mercury biopic due to a disagreement with the remaining members of Queen.

Big screen breakthrough: Next month sees the release of 'Alan Partridge, The Movie', which goes by the name Alpha Papa

A-ha! Alan Partridge movie Alpha Papa gives airtime to forgotten pop classics

His musical tastes famously extend from Abba to Wings, “the band The Beatles could have been”. But Alan Partridge’s elevation to the big screen is set to bring a new lease of life to a host of artists unfairly excluded from pop’s hall of fame.

Front Crawl: Frost, Pegg and Considine battle middle-age melancholia ... and killer robots

Jonathan Romney on The World's End: Invasion of the lager snatchers

Pegg, Frost and Wright end their 'Cornetto' trilogy with a clever, touching comedy

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?