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

Generation Kill - From The Wire... to war

David Simon has turned his acerbic eye to the invasion of Iraq. He tells Stephen Phelan why 'Generation Kill' is the definition of reality TV

Party Of The Week: Bad sex – and Dominic West

Spirits were high at the In & Out club on London's St James's Square on Tuesday night. As excerpts from books by the authors shortlisted for this year's Bad Sex in Fiction Award were teasingly read to the packed plush room, the crowd chortled loudly. It was Rachel (sister of Boris) Johnson's animal metaphors, comparing her male character's fingers to "a moth caught inside a lampshade", that made her the 16th winner for her satirical novel Shire Hell, follow-up to Notting Hell.

Last Night's Television: The Devil's Whore, Channel 4<br />Dangerous Adventures For Boys, FIVE

The English Civil War has a good claim to have been the best-written revolution in history, not because later writers have particularly done it justice but because those directly involved at the time spoke with such vivid brilliance. From Leveller debaters to Parliamentarian leaders to King Charles himself, the historical record is littered with an urgent vigour of speech that can often be transcribed straight into a shooting script. So, when Peter Capaldi's King, pale and indignant, stormed into the Long Parliament to seize the Puritan leaders and found them gone, his words – "I see my birds have flown"– have been drafted by history, not Peter Flannery. And the line with which the Speaker refuses his request for an identification of the guilty parties – "I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me" – didn't come from Flannery either, but from a man who, more than 350 years ago, decided on decorous rebellion.

Ask Martha: 'Should I come clean about not liking The Wire?'

Got a social dilemma? Martha Arthur has the answer...

What did you Puritans ever do for us, Oliver?

Well, there's sexual liberation, personal hygiene, press freedom... On the eve of a new drama about Cromwell and the English Revolution, its writer Peter Flannery tells Lucy Powell we've got the Roundheads all wrong

Page Turner: Sailing to Byzantium with Sir Bob

I've been having a Yeatsian week. First off, I went to the British Library for Josephine Hart's Poetry Hour. The novelist has been promoting poetry since 2004, charming the likes of Jeremy Irons, Juliet Stevenson and Ralph Fiennes into performing for free. Hart introduced key themes from W B Yeats's work and life, and Harriet Walter, Dominic West and Sir Bob Geldof read a generous selection of the poems to a glam media crowd. Hart's ever-smiling husband, Maurice Saatchi provided the astonishingly huge spray of white roses on the stage, quite dwarfing the bouquet presented by Hart's Virago publisher, Lennie Goodings.

First Impressions: The Wire, HBO (2002)

Baltimore returns to prime time and it does so on the most prestigious stage in American television: Sunday nights on HBO, the home of The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. The news is that The Wire, a 13-week series about life on both sides of a major drug investigation in the Baltimore housing projects, deserves to breathe that rarefied air.

Drama and special FX: High octane TV with an intelligent edge

Fox has found a formula for high-octane TV with an intelligent edge... and no need for a massive marketing campaign, says Sophie Morris

Deborah Orr: I'm all for gay rights. I'm also for the right to use London's parks

If heterosexuals began carving up common land in every town so they could shag each other with no strings attached, no one would consider it a great idea&rsquo;

Leading article: Unconventional wisdom

Awards should always be taken with a pinch of salt, as any aficionado of the critics' favourite TV show The Wire will tell you. But even fans of that long-ignored programme must have allowed themselves a little satisfaction at the latest Emmy Awards, where, for once, the right shows won. That included Mad Men as Best Dramatic Series. Set in New York's fledgling 1960s advertising industry, Mad Men will feel totally unfamiliar to anyone used to the conventions of most American primetime TV drama.

Crime: The Wire duo produce American crime writing at its finest

Q: Which TV series has probably garnered more column inches in the press recently than the number of viewers who have found it up in the dark corners of their satellite box? A: The Wire. Q. So what is it about this programme that makes it deserve the title of the best US crime show ever? A. The scripts. So when two of the chief writers both have novels out in the same month it must be a cause for celebration, and it is.

Philip Hensher: What scandal lurks behind 'The Wire'?

Everyone agrees that The Wire is a great classic; it has been called the best series ever made by television, anywhere. It looks to me very much like a work of the highest literary art. As British viewers watch it heading into the later stretches of its fifth and last series, it maintains the power and range that have left everyone who has ever seen it struggling for superlatives. But – let's admit it – you haven't seen it; it's quite likely you haven't even heard of it. The first episode of this last series, broadcast on the FX cable channel, gathered only 38,000 viewers. It's a complete scandal.

The Wire, FX<br/>Burn Up, BBC2<br/>John Barrowman: the Making of Me, BBC1

Most of the hype surrounding 'The Wire' is justified. Shame the same can't be said for the BBC's attempt at an eco-thriller

Behind The Wire: cult classic reaches final season

As the final season of the US crime drama begins, DVD sales prove Britain has embraced a TV cult classic
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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
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
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
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
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy