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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore