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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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

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It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

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A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
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Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before