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

How We Met: GERALDINE JAMES AND DAVID SUCHET

The actress Geraldine James, 47, began her career with five years in repertory theatre and went on to take many leading roles in the West End, but she reached her biggest audiences on TV, in series such as 'Blott on the Landscape' and 'The Jewel in the Crown'. She is married to the actor Jo Blatchley, and lives in Sussex and London with their daughter. James has just finished working on a new TV drama, 'Seesaw', with David Suchet, 52. Suchet, an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, has made numerous stage, screen and TV appearances, but he is probably best known for his portrayal of Hercule Poirot. He and his wife Sheila Ferris live with their two children in north London

WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO SEE, WHAT TO DO

Skywalking stars

The Belgian who lost the limelight

It was a bitter-sweet day for David Suchet yesterday, when he won a prestigious best-actor award, but revealed that his much-loved characterisation of Hercule Poirot had been given the chop.

The books you listen to

Soul food for Christmas. Godly and ungodly alike will enjoy David Suchet's calm, inspirational reading of The Gospel According to St Luke (Penguin, 3hrs, pounds 8.99). Unabridged from the King James version, itself meant, of course, to be read aloud, it has more familiar quotes per minute than Hamlet.

A government divorced from reality

The sound of a herd of moralisers bellowing family values through the Palace of Westminster continues, day after day. When it reached a climax during the debate on the new divorce law the Government promised to Do Something. Last week, finally, it Did. But after all that hurrumphing and trumpeting, it was a pathetic Something, because in the end, locking people into marriage is not something governments can do.

Theatre: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Almeida, London

One would rather be, ooh, back in the middle of Finals than be a guest at Beverley's gruesome little "do" in Abigail's Party. But one would rather be in intensive care than go anywhere near George and Martha's after-hours drinking session in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. At this sozzled, Strindbergian bitch-fest, it's venom on the rocks and guts out on the table. The obligatory games include Get the Guest, Hump the Hostess and playing puzzled pawn in a marital war conducted as vindictive vaudeville. Emigration would be preferable to participation, but, as Howard Davies's wonderful Almeida revival confirms, to be a fly on the wall at this event is one of the most exhilarating and cathartic experiences the post-war theatre has to offer.

BELGIUM: START HERE

Stereotypes are a terrible burden for the traveller, and no country seems to generate more preconceptions than Belgium. Its chief industries, it seems, are beer, chocolate and bureaucrats, and the most notable natives are fictitious - Hercule Poirot and Tintin. Were Brussels a thousand miles further from Paris and Amsterdam, it might attract more tourists. But the city has the most unfortunate location in Europe, making it an apparent thorn caught between two roses. As a result, many people overlook the considerable charms of the capital.

The labours of Hercule

David Suchet, sans moustache, talks sleuthing with James Rampton

restaurants: Three's a crowd

Dining in the smallest restaurant in Great Gonerby; Harry's Place is not the egg 'n' chips caff it may sound, but a well-rehearsed and choreographed operation

Dyke confirmed as chairman of Pearson TV

Greg Dyke was confirmed as chairman and chief executive of Pearson Television last night.

ARTS / The afterlife of a critic

A NAME TO DROP MORE than any other modern critic, with the possible exception of Pauline Kael, who wrote about film for the New Yorker, Kenneth Tynan gets quoted by other critics. A computer search in the Independent on Sunday library revealed that his name has cropped up in national newspapers 11 times this month alone. This is partly because James Kelman won the Booker prize with a novel full of profanities and, as everyone knows, Tynan was the first person to say f--- on television. But Tynan is frequently quoted on all sorts of non- profane matters too.

THEATRE / Stand-up clowns have Field day

ROB WILTON, the only old- time comedian I ever met, was clear on the subject of theatrical immortality. 'My stuff,' he said, 'wouldn't be worth tuppence to anyone else.' He was speaking for his fellow clowns as well. When they go, they take it with them: which has not deterred surviving fans from hauling them back for a posthumous giggle. Last week, Frank Randle in Get off My Foot] at the Nottingham Playhouse. This week, Sid Field, in the person of David Suchet in William Humble's What a Performance.

THEATRE / Replaying the field: What A Performance, The Queen's Theatre

There seems to be a lively trade in exhuming dead English comics at the moment. In the same week that Nottingham Playhouse has unveiled Get Off My Foot], a homage of sorts to the northern comedian Frank Randle (1901-57), the West End sees the premiere of What a Performance, a recreation of the life, times and humour of Sid Field (1904-50), the Birmingham- born comic who found himself an overnight smash after some 26 years of touring provincial venues and whose period as an acclaimed genius in London and the US was cut short by stress-and-drink-related heart disease.

Show People: Buttoned-up no longer: David Suchet

THERE is an hour to go until curtain-up, and the star of the show has sweaty palms. Nothing unusual in that, you might think. Except that this is not the West End, it's the relatively modest Richmond Theatre in Surrey, and the star in question is David Suchet, one of the most accomplished, experienced, and, above all, best-prepared actors in the business.

THEATRE / Previews & First Nights

THE VENETIAN TWINS
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football'Mr Marmite' faced the possibility of a 28-day ban
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
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
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower