i Jim Carter

He looks familiar. Belongs in a dining room, doesn’t he?

Cannes festival shuns Hollywood glitz

This year's focus on high-minded fare, including Jean-Luc Godard's comeback, will at least appeal to serious cinephiles

Observations: When Cranford bored Judi

It is August, 1844. Mr Buxton (Jonathan Pryce) is a newcomer to the Cheshire town of Cranford, and he threatens to bring lots of alarming new-fangled ideas with him. He asks Miss Matty Jenkyns (Judi Dench), the pillar of the local community, about a trendy new dance: "have you heard of waltzing?" A look of horror, if not revulsion, passes across Miss Matty's face as she replies, "it is not a form of dancing we have experienced in Cranford."

Queens of the small screen

Helen Mirren won an Oscar as Elizabeth II and now five more actresses are to play her on television. Is it time to re-bottle the monarch's mystique? By Gerard Gilbert

Taking Woodstock (15)

Ang Lee (110 mins), starring Demetri Martin, Dan Fogler, Imelda Staunton, Emile Hirsch

Ang Lee - Beyond the mild side

Ang Lee was not the most likely director to create a film about Woodstock, and his authentic-looking LSD scene is from imagination not experience, he tells James Mottram

Tears and triumph on the Cannes red carpet

Cannes 2009 signals hard times for serious moviemakers, says Geoffrey Macnab

First Night: Taking Woodstock

All the fun of the festival – courtesy of Ang Lee

Go west! Gay storylines are drawing crowds to theatres in London's West End and fringe

The best of times is now, goes the song in La Cage aux Folles. And so it would seem for gay plays and musicals. No fewer than 10 productions currently in London's West End feature gay themes or talent.

DVD: A Bunch of Amateurs (15)

Good performances from Imelda Staunton, Derek Jacobi and Samantha Bond make this a watchable film, which fares better on the small screen.

'Gavin and Stacey' star Matthew Horne collapses on stage

Audience shocked as actor is rushed to hospital

Parties: I'd like to thank my trophy...

Stars of the stage thronged the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, for the 33rd Laurence Olivier Awards last Sunday. At the packed champagne reception it was hard to miss the glowing Lindsay Duncan, nominated for Best Actress, or David Morrissey, standing tall above the crowd with his wife, the novelist Esther Freud; easier to overlook, though, was the diminutive Imelda Staunton – until she shook your reporter's hand and asked trenchantly: "Why isn't this televised? Are we second-class citizens, working in the theatre?"

Party Of The Week: Packed with real characters

London's theatrical luminaries gathered at Grosvenor House, London, to enjoy a champagne reception in the lead-up to the Laurence Olivier Awards. Amid the splendour of the rooms, the pre-dinner drinks gave guests the chance to relax after the rigours of walking the red carpet outside.

Parties: Tales from the crypt

It was hard not to look at Mathew Horne in a new light after the opening night of Entertaining Mr Sloane, a revival of Joe Orton's play at the Trafalgar Studios. Previously known as the everyday man Gavin, from Gavin and Stacey, Horne had evolved into the play's ruthless seducer; and his new-found sexual magnetism didn't end after the curtains came down: as guests entered the recently restored vaulted crypt of St Martin's in the Fields, London, life imitated art, as a stream of admirers threatened to overwhelm Horne with gushing praise and a barrage of flirting (from both sexes).

Enter the dragonfly: the development of insects and scorpions

Extra oxygen explains why Stan Wood, a sharp-eyed commercial fossil-hunter from Scotland, did so well out of a dilapidated old limestone farm wall that he spotted next to a school football field in 1984.

Career Services

Day In a Page

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
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?