Arts and Entertainment Stephen McGann, who plays Dr Turner in 'Don't Call the Midwife', has said the acting profession is excluding working class children

The actor said the profession is becoming so limited that a 'messy kid from a council estate' like himself would no longer be able to forge a career

Deborah Orr: The bright sparks are left behind

The Government has this week launched another bunch of tinkering education reforms. In the main, they suffer from the same problem as every reform of anything that this Government, from now on, will ever announce.

Win 'The Corner' - DVDs & books

In 1997, David Simon and Ed Burns, co-creators of acclaimed TV series The Wire, published The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighbourhood, a book detailing the grim realities of the drug trade in the US city of Baltimore. Later, in 2000, they adapted the book into an acclaimed HBO mini-series. Now, both the book and a DVD of the series have been re-released.

Donnie Andrews: The road to redemption

In care and brutalised, Donnie Andrews never stood a chance. In with the street gangs, he was convicted of murder at the age of 32. Then, he read the Bible, met the creator of 'The Wire', and a famous anti-hero was born. Tim Walker meets Donnie Andrews

David Simon: 'I just tell it like it is'

Drugs, homicide, institutional failings... it may seem as if David Simon, creator of 'The Wire', is crusading for change. In fact, he just wants to get the story straight

Great drama – but can you hear a single word they are saying?

Study will investigate whether viewers are turned off TV because the dialogue is inaudible

Clarke Peters: From The Wire to Nelson Mandela



He’s a shadowy figure lurking in the background in the corporate law drama Damages, initially a slow-burner in The Wire and a man alone with his thoughts playing Nelson Mandela in the forthcoming Channel 4 drama Endgame.

Close-up: Clarke Peters

Where does the actor go after Lester in 'The Wire'? Nelson Mandela, of course

Stuck in the past: Why is modern literature obsessed with history?

Contemporary novelists are so busy writing about the past, they're neglecting the times they live in. It's time to get real, argues Amanda Craig

Amy Jenkins: Why bleak TV is something to smile about

It put a smile on my face to read that the hardcore HBO cop show, The Wire, got good viewing figures when it aired for the first time on BBC2 this week. Why? Because The Wire is well known for being grim, sombre and relentlessly bleak. I'm just so terribly happy about relentlessly bleak. I want my TV drama as gloomy as can be.

Leading article: Down to the wire

Last night many in Britain got their first glimpse into a world of arrogant police detectives, entrepreneurial drug dealers and self-interested politicians in one of America's chaotic and violent metropolises; a world also known as The Wire.

Tom Sutcliffe: Why we are all haunted by religion

What a striking choice of words the Archbishop of Canterbury made when he said, on Sunday, that he believed we were "living in a country that is uncomfortably haunted by the memory of religion". The Archbishop is not a completely unworldly man, and he's had some uncomfortable tuition since his ordination in the aggressive simplifications of the press. But I'm not sure he fully worked out what this idea might look like once it had been squeezed into a headline.

My Secret Life: Dominic West, actor, 39

The home I grew up in ... was a big, detached, stone house by the moors that fringe Sheffield, where my mother still lives. I've just had this exact conversation with her insurance company.

Generation Kill, FX<br>A Short Stay In Switzerland, BBC1<br>Gossip Girl, ITV2<br>Beverly Hills 90210, E4

The writers of 'The Wire' have put a bomb under the war genre with this gripping, intelligent series
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor