Arts and Entertainment From left to right: Felicity Denham (last seen by Covers shivering in the freezing cold press tent at the Hay Literary Festival), Becky Short, Daniel Freeman, Tory Lyne-Pirkis (who knows the rules of polo and makes a freakishly good Queen), Steven Williams (CEO), Fiona Marsh and Tony Mulliken (chairman, aka the Prince of Wales)

What's really going on in the world of books

The Bank Job (15)

The enigma of David Mamet

David Mamet's latest play has been panned in New York. But a UK revival of Speed-the-Plow, starring Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum, reminds us of his astonishing powers, says Paul Taylor

The Third Leader: Six of the best

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobics: don't panic! Yes, well, right, that's easy for me to say, but then I don't suffer from a morbid fear of the number 666, arising from its association with the Beast, the Antichrist, the Apocalypse, children with rude stares and some truly horrific rock bands from whom no live chicken or kohl merchant was, or is, safe. There was also something to do with a TV advertisement for aftershave, but I might be confused about that.

REVIEW: THEATRE - The sins of the father

Man and Boy Duchess Theatre London oooo9

Pick of the Day: Radio

THE ACTOR David Suchet, currently starring as Salieri in Amadeus, talks about his musical Private Passions (12noon R3) and chooses a piano concerto by the maligned composer.

Books: Spoken Word for Xmas

Browsing in a bookshop is one of the best ways of solving tricky present problems, and now that most good bookshops have substantial offerings on audio Santa's life is even easier. Starting with the smalls, Babe in the City (HarperCollins, pounds 6.99), Dick King-Smith's sequel to the hugely enjoyable Babe will be a treat - and prepare them for the film. For slightly older children (and their parents), Martin Clunes reading Jeremy Strong's The Hundred Mile an Hour Dog (Penguin, pounds 7.99) will go down well. A Christmas must is Alan Bennett's placidly commonsensical reading of J M Barrie's Peter Pan (BBC, pounds 8.99) his calm makes the matter-of-fact magic of the tale the more absurdly real. And look out for Ivory Shell's series of highly collectable classic children's stories from countries all round the world, available either in ordinary pictorial plastic cases or very attractive gold-lettered gift boxes, both at pounds 6.99. I especially enjoyed the Egyptian and Aboriginal Tales.

Theatre Review: Amadeus


Theatre: Divine or obscene?


Television Review: The Mrs Bradley Mysteries

EVERYTHING WAS as it should have been in The Mrs Bradley Mysteries (BBC1). We were in a country house in the early 1920s where the owner was called Bing, the housekeeper was built like a menhir, the scullery- maid was hot to trot and there was a penniless cad on the prowl who looked like a young Nigel Havers.


The darkly humorous writing talent of Peter Shaffer meets the directorial nous of Sir Peter Hall in the Old Vic's production of Amadeus in October. David Suchet (right) demonstrates the versatility of his acting as the bitter and jealous Salieri, following his recent stint as a hen- pecked husband in the Almeida production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Michael Sheen, the RSC's most recent Henry V, plays the obnoxious child prodigy corrupted by the wild pleasures which accompany his newfound acclaim. This is one that theatre buffs shouldn't miss.

Leading article: Unsolved mystery

Leading article: Unsolved mystery

Theatre review: Family reunion

Saturday, Sunday... and

Television: I've got my period drama on

ITV SEEMS to have developed a straightforward criterion for the production of its drama classics: they'll do it if it has a woman's name in the title. In the last 18 months we've had Emma, Rebecca and Jane Eyre. It would be nice to think that Justine, Lolita and The Second Mrs Tanqueray were on their way, but in the meantime, I was more than happy with Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Sun & Mon). This was not just because Justine Waddell made as good a Tess as we're likely to see - obstinate, honourable, bewildered and distraught - or that hot new acting property Oliver Milburn was just born to be Angel Clare (read Hardy's description of Clare if you don't believe me). It was also because some of the difficult things were got right. In particular, a necessary sexual atmosphere was well invoked before Tess was ravished by the moustachioed Alec D'Urberville, helping to explain her momentary ambivalence to his advances.
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'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
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This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

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One man's day in high heels

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Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

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Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
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King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
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End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
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