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).

How We Met: Henry Goodman & Imelda Staunton

'We've known each other such a long time, in some ways we're like an old married couple'
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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us