DVD: Inkheart

Brendan Fraser stars in his umpteenth CGI heavy kids' film – here, as a man who can make fictional characters appear when he reads aloud. Considering it's based on a hit novel by Cornelia Funke, it's odd how many plot holes and loose ends Inkheart has. But as a family adventure, replete with monsters, magic and dotty grown-ups (Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren), it's a better post-Potter effort than both The Golden Compass and Prince Narnia.

Mirren brings stage to silver screen

Oscar-winner to star in Racine's 'Phaedra' as National Theatre broadcasts live theatre to 150 cinemas worldwide

Move over, Jane Tennison. Anna Travis is on the case

The successor to 'Prime Suspect' has a new young heroine as its star. Gerard Gilbert investigates Lynda La Plante's latest creation

50 National treasures

A new book by the journalist Quentin Letts lists the people he believes have 'buggered up' Britain. But what about those who've changed things for the better? Simon Carr presents his roll of honour

David Lister: Sorry, but comedy can be offensive

Harry Enfield is in a spot of bother with the government of the Philippines over a sketch in his Harry and Paul show. In that sketch, Harry tried to mate his pet Geordie, played by Paul Whitehouse, with a Filipina maid.

Preview: Small craft warnings, Arcola Theatre, London

A motley crew drowning in their sorrows

Is Helen Mirren right about date rape?

The actress stepped into a political and social minefield when she claimed date rape should not be a matter for the courts. Paul Vallely examines an issue which raises divisive issues of women's rights and personal responsibility

Terence Blacker: Speak the truth and be damned

In order for any kind of civic virtue to be taken seriously in 2008, some kind of award must be created for it – a prize to remind us all that, in spite of all the terrible things that are going on, some good still exists in the world. There is the Pride of Britain Awards for our teachers, social workers and have-a-go heroes. Winner of Rural Hero of the Year is shortly to be announced.

Maximum exposure: How pictures of Helen Mirren in a bikini became the entertainment splash of the year

They have been the most widely published snaps of the summer: Helen Mirren, bikini-clad and looking stunning at 63. How did it happen? Ian Burrell reports

Calendar Girl Mirren does it again

It was only a bikini. But it had the power to set tongues wagging and pulses racing around the globe. Pictures of Dame Helen Mirren luxuriating on the beach at Puglia in southern Italy last Tuesday sent media commentators into a frenzy. Some have applauded the 62-year-old for her figure, while others blanched at the prospect of myriad wrinkly copycats trying to emulate her this summer.

Behind the scenes: Bob Crowley's set designs have wowed audiences the world over

From the African jungle where Tarzan swings through the trees to the pea-souper skies of London where Mary Poppins floats on high, Bob Crowley's set designs have been the backdrop for some of the biggest theatrical hits to grace the West End and Broadway.

Mark Steel: Let's be modern and swear an oath to the monarchy

When Tony Blair and Gordon Brown launched the idea of New Labour, it was as a crusade to be modern. A typical speech would go: "Mister chairman, brothers and sisters, modern modern modern modern modern. New Britain new modern modern. Modern modern modern, thank you," (23 minute standing ovation).

Retro delights: The Famous Five

Just as the demand for 'nostalgia-lit' grows, two new films on The Famous Five are set for release. Katy Guest reminisces

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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee