Arts and Entertainment

“It is suicide to be abroad. But what is it to be at home...what is it to be at home?  A lingering dissolution,” declares the elderly, ailing Mrs Rooney in Beckett's 1957 radio play where she is heard dragging herself to a rural station in order to meet her blind husband off the mysteriously delayed train from Dublin.

Countdown to Downton: Your essential guide to the TV event of the year

Downton's back for a second series... and this time it's war. Veronica Lee gets the Abbey habit

Book Of A Lifetime: A Moment's Liberty, By Virginia Woolf

For half a century I have been hooked on diaries – my own and other people's. I began to keep a journal in 1959. I wrote my first entry on my first night at boarding school, by torchlight, underneath the blankets. My inspiration was the diary of Samuel Pepys. I had been given a copy, "suitably edited", for my 11th birthday.

DJ Taylor: The big picture

The Tory scheme to roll back the state; those who know their station; the artist formerly known as the greatest thing since sliced bread; and a one-string pony

Sugar, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, 114 mins, (15)<br>Last Chance Harvey, Joel Hopkins, 92 mins, (12A)

Poignant, sweet and very funny. A sports movie that's pitch perfect

Psychoville - Dark side of the loons

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, the creators of 'The League of Gentlemen', have conjured up another bizarre bunch of misfits for 'Psychoville'. But, as they tell Gerard Gilbert, their new horror comedy's inspirations go beyond Royston Vasey

The Female of the Species, Vaudeville, London<br/>Zorro, Garrick, London<br/>Hangover Square, Finborough, London

A new play satirising feminism has enraged Germaine Greer, on whose experience it is loosely based

The Female of the species, Vaudeville Theatre, London

That banshee wail you hear when the wind is in the northeast is the sound of the biter bit – Germaine Greer is very, very angry at the author of this play about a sixty-ish feminist scribbler (played by Eileen Atkins). Its action is inspired by the time Greer was, briefly, held hostage by a devotee. And that sound you hear from the Vaudeville is the audience roaring at the best Ayckbourn play Alan Ayckbourn never wrote. Joanna Murray-Smith has expanded the original incident into a chorus of demands for approval, apologies, explanations, relief, compensation, and closure. No one, it seems, can be satisfied, but, at the end, remarkably, all are happy, rolling in love, money, and taramasalata.

'Cranford' heads BBC domination of awards

Bonnets and bustles were not in short supply in Cranford, but the BBC costume drama also addressed the dawning of a modern age, when railways intruded on rural life and Britain was on the brink of social upheaval.

The Weekend's TV: There's plenty to admire under the bonnet

Cranford, BBC1; Blair Years, BBC1

Now Elvis Presley ain't nothin' but a trapeze artist

Elvis may have left the building but nobody ever expected him to run away and join the circus. But it won't be long before fans of legendary show Cirque du Soleil find themselves all shook up at the sight of the King growling "I ain't nothin' but a hound dog" while swinging from a trapeze.

Snobs by Julian Fellowes

Rearguard action from the upper crust

Cold Mountain (15)

Puddle deep, mountain high

A Week in Books: Duped by the mandolin's seductive sound

"THE MILLION-copy bestseller", yells the jacket on the latest reprint of Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Vintage, pounds 5.99). A trifle previous, perhaps, since the latest figures showed the ubiquitous commuter's companion on sales of 995,000. At any rate, the Louis de Bernieres blockbuster has helped to fuel some smug punditry about the upwardly-mobile drift of the book charts. More will follow in the wake of the late Laureate's Whitbread victory this week, as Ted Hughes has lately outsold the likes of Terry Pratchett and Maeve Binchy. (Then again, Birthday Letters on its current form might well walk away with the Eurovision Song Contest, or even the Cheltenham Gold Cup.)
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Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor