Arts and Entertainment Matt Lucas (left) and Harry Hill. Lucas is to play the twin of comic Hill as the madcap TV Burp star makes his movie debut.

Matt Lucas is to play the twin of comic Harry Hill as the madcap TV Burp star makes his movie debut.

Rupert Grint's magic world of hex, drugs and rock'n'roll

The Harry Potter star has grown up and even gets naked for a movie about a hedonistic Belfast youth. But he'll still miss the role that made him famous, he tells James Mottram

Shirley Valentine/Educating Rita, Menier Chocolate Factory, London

Feminism with lashings of fun

Observations: Just a Mo for Julie Walters

The film Mo – a new biopic about Dr Marjorie "Mo" Mowlam – boasts the perfect actress for the title role. Julie Walters, 59, gives an uncannily accurate performance as the former MP for Redcar – she captures everything from Mowlam's slight speech impediment to her pigeon-toed, backwards-leaning, chest-thrust-forward gait.

Talent, Menier Chocolate Factory, London

It's not often you see a magician with a male assistant," admits George, the pensioner conjuror who offers "comedy magic with banjo finale". But his wife, Nell, made a mix-up with the bookings and is "now singing at the Hard of Hearing Beetle Drive". We're backstage in the grotty dressing room of Bunter's Nitespot in Piccadilly, Manchester. We're also (as you may have guessed from that snatch of dialogue) in the world of Victoria Wood – the very young Victoria Wood.

That's Another Story, By Julie Walters

If you can imagine Julie Walters sitting down to tell you the story of her life (with one time comedy partner,Victoria Wood, perhaps chipping in with wry asides) this earthy, moving, but none to sentimental memoir, ending with the birth of her daughter Maisie, is just as you would imagine it.

Billy Elliot dances to Tony joy

Billy Elliot has danced away with 10 Tony Awards, including the title for best musical.

'Billy Elliot' heads US theatre award nominations

"Billy Elliot," the season's biggest musical hit, dominated the 2009 Tony Award nominations today, picking up 15, more than any other show.

First Impressions: Billy Elliot (2000)

It's 1984 – the miners' strike is on – and Billy (Jamie Bell), a whey-faced stripling from Durham, is still reeling from the death of his mother. Billy's father and brother (both on the picket-line), are too wound up for cuddles and his weekly boxing class is adding insult to injury.

The end of innocence

At the heart of Benjamin Britten's vision for his opera 'The Turn of the Screw' lay his infatuation with his boy soprano, the future film star David Hemmings

Horribly successful

A kids' history magazine that tells of 'monks chopped into chunks' is a surprise hit. Is this a good thing? Virginia Matthews reports

How we met: Alan Bleasdale & Julie Walters

Alan Bleasdale, 53, taught English and PE before writing his first novel in 1975. Since then he has mainly written for television, most notably `The Boys From The Blackstuff' and `GBH'. He has recently adapted `Oliver Twist' - in which Julie Walter stars - for ITV. He lives with his wife of 30 years in Liverpool. They have three grown-up children

Arts: Meet the new Les Dawson

A year ago Peter Kay was tearing cinema ticket stubs. Now he has his own spot on television. Where does he get his material? It's all around him. All he needs is a notebook and a keen sense of the ridiculous.

Interview: Julie Walters: Julie is a real character

Julie Walters is taking over our screens with a range of roles which fully demonstrate her versatility
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
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Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
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In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
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Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner