Arts and Entertainment

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Dance / King wears the wrong clothes

IT WAS the ultimate in perverse casting. They hired the world's greatest ballet dancer, and didn't let him dance. On Tuesday, Irek Mukhamedov, ex-Bolshoi star and the Royal Ballet's greatest prize made his singing- acting debut in The King and I. If they'd asked Pavarotti to dance we would have known it was meant to be comic. As it was, we were unsure. Mukhamedov can't sing and he can't deliver lines, so why, oh why, did he do it?

Interviewing vampires was my speciality : The agreeable World of Wallac e Arnold

I AM NOT what one might call an inveterate fan of the cinema, though like everyone else I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Miss Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins. Indeed, I enjoyed it so much that I threw my now legendary Mary Poppins party, in which the great and the good came dressed as their favourite characters.

This wolf boy, this child of god, this myth

Caspar Hauser David Constantine Bloodaxe £6.95

Let's hear it for the unsung heroines

Audrey Hepburn's voice - a captivating cross between a croak and a sigh

Letter: Subversion in the nursery

Sir: Genevieve Fox writes that "even Mary Poppins... ended up upsetting the social order by marrying the children's widowed father." ("So farewell then, Mary Poppins", 9 January). Not so. The mother in the Banks household was very much alive - a devoted,

Travel: Vinho verde? It must be Portugal: Anna Pavord was confused: what with chalets and flower meadows, she felt she'd stepped into 'The Sound of Music'

It is a good place to get lost in, the Minho region of northern Portugal. We did it often, sucked off our planned route by the sight of an outrageous piece of Baroque architecture rearing up out of a vineyard or a meadow waving with vetch and daisies.

Godfather makes his last exit to the sound of music

FIVE DAYS after he was gunned down in broad daylight on a Dublin street, Ireland's most notorious criminal godfather of the past two decades received a more dignified send-off than that accorded him by his IRA executioners.

Underrated: Queen of the stock-in-trade

Ah, the British jobbing actress: what a glorious creature] She may never attain the highest rungs of stardom (though there is Emma Thompson and there was Julie Andrews) or be sold as a sex symbol (though there is Greta Scacchi and there was Julie Christie) but she embodies virtues beyond the price of rubies. She is able to turn her hand to all things: light comedy, heavy drama, musicals, sketches, a multitude of accents. She has no contempt for the popular; the popular (a nice little sitcom, a soap opera) pays the rent and subsidises those ill-paid forays into the theatre, to essay Pinter, Shakespeare and Ibsen. She has a sense of humour about herself too. She must. Her parts are, more often than not, attendant on the leading man and even these will shrink after 30, a disgraceful waste of a precious national resource: just as experience is making her better and better, her opportunities become fewer and fewer. She has her pride, but she values common sense. Asked to narrate a children's series, adorn a panel game or appear in an ad and she will smile and crisply answer, 'Yes'.

Opinions: Were they robbed?

SIR ROBIN DAY: You can't have mob rule on these things. Nobody ever explains the rules on television these days. When I did programmes on the Common Agricultural Policy or whatever, I'd explain what they meant, you see, but nobody ever does that now so one never knows what's going on.

BOOKS / Reflections on the sound of music: Mind over matter: Mary Loudon meets the psychiatrist and writer Anthony Storr

Common sense is not something we always associate with psychiatrists. Generally seen as people on the other side of life's great questions, they are sometimes thought to possess almost mystical powers of perception and insight: and even though we know this isn't true, many of us are quite fond of the myth.

ARTS / And what's more ...

Wayne's World 2 has gone straight into the number one slot in America . . . 'You can't point out to a politician the sheer value of a theatre working in the community. It does half-a-million quids' worth of community work every week' - Alan Ayckbourn . . . All change at London's Prince of Wales Theatre: from the sublime City of Angels to the return of Lloyd Webber's Aspects of Love for 30 performances . . . Rumour has it that Barry Manilow's West End musical Copacabana may be postponed - we want to know why . . . Carol Burnett to play the Julie Andrews role in the Sondheim compilation Putting It Together in the West End . . . 'I sometimes am over-theatrical' - Oliver Reed . . . Rock'n'roll suicide: Meat Loaf says a woman fan was on the verge of blowing her brains out when his single 'Heaven Can Wait' (geddit?) came on the radio and saved the day . . .

Sound computing

USERS of personal computers can tune in to their favourite radio stations and wake up or drift off to the sound of music by inserting a pounds 50 card into their machine.

Happy Anniversary: Page Three girls make their mark

WHO would have thought that ninety years to the day after the first women graduated from a British university, the Sun would publish its first Page Three girls? And those are only two of the neglected anniversaries in the coming week.

TELEVISION / Julie Andrews she wasn't

FLUTING vibrato, childish diction, burnished helmet of hair, bulldozing self-belief: what is it that makes Margaret Thatcher such good television? Simple: her incandescent simplicity. She has fused her private self with her public pose to such an extent that even her Spitting Image seems comparatively subtle.

Letter: Improvements in the sound of music

Sir: In his article 'Lost in transmission' (30 September), Anthony Payne compares the mental process that enables us to accept a concert reproduced in the home as 'the representation of a live original' to 'the ability to relate a two-dimensional painting or photo to three-dimensional reality'. I question the fairness of this comparison, because not only is there a dimension missing, but the image is also 'framed'.
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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain