Simon Pegg: A grave new world

The comic talks to James Rampton about his new movie in which he takes on the undead

Books: In search of a life less ordinary - and more risky

Would you like to take a holiday from yourself? Mary Allen enjoys a couple of chilling trips across the frontiers of personality

Satellite: Pick of the Day

WHAT BETTER way to spend a Bank Holiday Monday than in the company of Ewan McGregor (right). A evening of his work kicks off with the premiere of A Life Less Ordinary (10pm FilmFour), his third film with Danny Boyle, Andrew Macdonald and John Hodge. In this delicious black comedy wittily directed by Boyle, McGregor plays a disaffected cleaner who tries to boost his fortunes by kidnapping the boss's daughter (the delightful Cameron Diaz). At the same time, in a typically surreal touch, two angels (Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo) are trying their damnedest to make the couple fall in love. This is followed by McGregor's two previous efforts with the same creative team, the murderously dark comedy, Shallow Grave (11.50pm) and the startlingly original drug drama, Trainspotting (1.40am), which features Robert Carlyle.

The Saturday Profile: Robert Carlyle, Actor: A man for all regions

NOBODY LIKES to criticise Robert Carlyle. Fans of lo-fi kitchen sink misery love him for his work with Ken Loach, and point out that he's one of the few actors whom the director has cast twice.

Addicted to the starring role: Ewan McGregor

The Saturday Profile; EWAN MCGREGOR, ACTOR

Television Review: The Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star

EVERYONE WANTS to be Danny Boyle and John Hodge these days. It's dangerous, though, to invite comparisons. The Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star (C4) did so at trailer stage by presenting us with mugshots of the main characters, with hash marks appended, an obvious lift from the posters for Trainspotting which every PR agency in the land used for their Christmas 1996 party invitations, and a tough analogy for the poor writer, Bryan Elsley, to live up to.

Classic yarns beat tales of 90s low life

THE SCOTTISH novel about drugs and low life, Trainspotting, which has also become a hit film, remains less popular in its home country than classics such as Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped and Treasure Island.

Edinburgh 98: King of the hooligan element

A major retrospective of the shocking, uncompromising work of the late Alan Clarke shows just why the reputation of this courageous director continues to grow

BEST-SELLERS: VIDEO RENTAL

1 Copland (18)

Film: Trendspotting: Four's shot in the arm for new movies

The relationship between cinema and television was changed 15 years ago with the launch of `Film on Four'. Not just because television ceased to be merely a consumer of films but, as Sarah Gristwood argues, because it created some of the finest of our contemporary movies.

Wide angle: Just what the doctor ordered

John Hodge combines a career as a doctor with that of a successful screenwriter - the title of his latest, A Life Less Ordinary, could sum up the man himself

Interview: A team less ordinary

`A Life Less Ordinary' is a strange film. Even its screenwriter thinks so. But then, as Ben Thompson discovers, that's just the kind of creative dissent you'd expect from the trio that made `Trainspotting'

Arts: A cast more extraordinary

Forget Eton, Cambridge, Rada. The class of 'Trainspotting' are graduating top of them all. By Daniel Rosenthal

Film: Scandinavia's answer to `Trainspotting'

Nicolas Winding Refn has long been at odds with society. For his debut film, `Pusher', he moved into the dark world of the drugs dealers. Nick Hasted meets the clear-eyed `infiltrator'

Not half bad at English, considering ...

In the summer months Britain becomes home for crowds of foreigners seeking a cool and damp change from the blazing sunshine at home. When they arrive here, they discover an unsuspected hazard: the English language. The trouble with the English language, many of them complain to me, is that it is not spoken the same way that it is taught at home, and is full of phrases like "Don't mind if I do" and "Brass monkey weather", which are quite inexplicable.
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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