Arts and Entertainment Angela Lansbury is set return to the London stage after a hiatus of almost four decades

The actress will return to the Gielgud Theatre where she made her debut

Tom Courtenay and Julie Christie in Billy Liar, 1963

Julie Christie in Billy Liar: The girl who showed the way to the future

Some 50 years ago, Billy Liar became a cinematic hero – but, argues John Walsh, it was Julie Christie's Liz who hinted at a new way of life

China girl: Mary Bevan (Lila) in Hull Truck’s The Firework Maker’s Daughter

Classical review: The Firework Maker's Daughter - Brace yourself for an explosive yarn

Add magnesium to strontium, and prepare yourself for fireworks

Many felt that the film adaptation of The History Boys wasn’t on the level of the play.

Richard Griffiths: An actor with a touch of genius about him

Richard Griffiths, who has died aged 65, was a character actor with a touch of genius about him. He often played borderline creepy types -  the camp uncle, the school teacher with amorous designs on his pupils - but he brought such humour and pathos to these roles that you always rooted for him.

Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode in Stoker

Jonathan Romney on Stoker: Embalming fluid can go a long way

Forget the weird plot and get lost in fabulous visuals and a pouting, simmering Nicole Kidman

Surjit Hans, 82, has just finished translating Henry VIII, Shakespeare’s last play

Love's labour: the complete works of Shakespeare now available in Punjabi

Surjit Hans’ interest in the works of William Shakespeare was first sparked when he was a student, but it was not until he had retired from academia that he started on the labour of love in which he would lose himself and which took two decades to complete.

Richard Briers who starred in The Good Life has died at the age of 79 in London

Goodbye to a Good Life: Richard Briers was not just a national treasure, he was a suburban everyman

Reporting on the death of the actor Richard Briers today at the age of 79, the online version of The Surrey Comet understandably looked for a local angle: “Surbiton’s Most Famous Fictional Resident Dies” ran its headline - a distillation of a long and distinguished acting career that might at first glance look dismayingly reductive.

Richard Briers who starred in The Good Life has died at the age of 79 in London

Goodbye to a Good Life: Richard Briers was not just a national treasure, he was a suburban everyman

Reporting on the death of the actor Richard Briers today at the age of 79, the online version of The Surrey Comet understandably looked for a local angle: “Surbiton’s Most Famous Fictional Resident Dies” ran its headline - a distillation of a long and distinguished acting career that might at first glance look dismayingly reductive.

Rebecca Johnson and Kerry Fox in The Vortex

The Vortex, Rose Theatre, Kingston

A collapsed and fragmentary picture frame in bright yellow forms the shattered border of Neil Warmington's striking design for this incisive and acidly entertaining revival by Stephen Unwin of The Vortex, the play which catapulted Noel Coward to success and notoriety when it opened in 1924.

Hamlet to be performed at of Rose Theatre Bankside for the first time in 400 years

Hamlet will be performed at the Rose Theatre, Bankside for the first time since 1594.

Exhilarating: Keegan-Dolan’s take on The Rite of Spring

IoS dance preview of 2012: All the best dancers know their lefts from their rites

As belts continue to tighten, don't be too surprised by a sense of déjà vu, as theatres pad their schedules with known quantities (hello again, 50th-anniversary revival of West Side Story). This may be good news for those who missed, say, Akram Khan's marvellous Desh first and second times around (catch it once and for all at Sadler's Wells in June), or Sutra, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's mesmerising date with 20 plywood cubes, and the Shaolin Monks (Sadler's Wells, March). But it's also good news for Scottish Ballet, who have persuaded Matthew Bourne to let them loose on Highland Fling, his deliciously grungy 1994 update on La Sylphide. It tours four Scottish venues in April and May.

Carey Mulligan and Leonardo Dicaprio in the Great Gatsby

IoS fil preview of 2013 2: Forget the Mayans, the end of the world is nigh ... again

We may have made it past the Earth's expiry date, as forecast by those fibbing Mayans, but the future's not looking bright according to the movies. In Oblivion, Tom Cruise is stuck on an Earth long since abandoned by the human race. In After Earth, the planet is also a human-free zone until Will Smith and his son, Jaden, crash land there. (The film is directed by M Night Shyamalan, so there's a high chance that Jaden's character will be named Adam and that he'll meet a girl called Eve.) In Elysium, Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to District 9, the have-nots are left on a desolate Earth, while the haves live it up in a luxury space station. And in The World's End, which reunites Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, a 40th-birthday pub crawl happens to coincide with, yes, the end of the world. Not to be confused with This Is the End, another apocalyptic comedy, with Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Julius Caesar, Donmar Warehouse, London

There are only two women – Portia and Calpurnia – in Julius Caesar and both of these wives have important things to say but find themselves sidelined.

Kenneth Branagh receives knighthood

Hollywood star Kenneth Branagh gave a special one-man performance for the Queen as he was knighted today, more than 30 years after first performing for her.

Our reporter receives a surprise monologue from Falstaff

Is this an actor I see before me? Shakespeare goes undercover

Nick Clark sees shoppers caught off guard by 'pop-up' performances

Ward in 'Young Winston'

Simon Ward: Dashing actor who made his name playing the young Winston Churchill

Simon Ward was a handsome actor whose patrician, public-school demeanour made him ideal casting for dashing period romances and for the screen role that brought him international prominence, that of the youthful Winston Churchill in Richard Attenborough's Young Winston (1971). On stage, he had already received favourable notice for his role in the original production of Joe Orton's Loot (1967), and he later starred in such films as All Creatures Great and Small (1975), as the author James Herriot) and Zulu Dawn (1979), as Lieutenant Vereker.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home