Arts and Entertainment
 

The BBC has released more pictures of 'Adventure in Space and Time', a drama about the first Doctor Who series.

Philip Hensher: The art of breaking down barriers

Really, he is issuing an invitation to a gatecrasher who is already in the room

Poland 0 Ecuador 2: Delgado on mark as Ecuador shake Poles

The team from altitude showed some attitude. Ecuador provided a shock in Group A, comfortably defeating Poland, and opened up the possibility that they may meet England should both nations qualify for the last 16. Not that, in truth, there should be too much for England to fear.

Serendipity: The singing detective

WHEN IT comes to popularising science, Jim Ottaviani's comic books do an excellent job of telling scientific stories in a fun and absorbing way. His latest, Dignifying Science, is a beautifully drawn series of stories about women who made major contributions to science and technology, but who have been largely forgotten. For example, although Heddy Lamarr is famous for her film career, few people realise that she also invented a missile guidance system.

search engines: Serendipity On the rebound

IN THE 18th century, fishermen on the island of Lovgrund, a few miles off the Swedish coast, noticed that things were not as they used to be. The village elders remembered how seals used to climb upon a particular rock in the harbour, where they could easily be harpooned or shot. But the seals could no longer clamber on to the rock, because the sea level seemed to have fallen and the rock was too high out of the water.

Search engines: Serendipity - Life on Mars

THE UNLUCKIEST dog in history died on 28 June, 1911 in the town of Nakhla, Egypt. According to onlookers, it was struck by a rock from outer space, part of a meteor shower that peppered the region. Despite the dog's death, the Nakhla meteorite was a cause for celebration, because it was to play a major role in the story of extra-terrestrial science.

Books: Foul play in the cuckoo's nest

Is therapy the disease of which it thinks itself a cure? Brian Morton on a novel that makes up its own mind; Scar Culture by Toni Davidson Rebel Inc., pounds 9.99, 247pp

New Year disco giveaway: film tickets & Gordon's Gin

Prepare to boogie like it's 1979 with the National Film Theatre's "Discoland" season of films, sponsored by Gordon's. This glittering selection of dancefloor classics includes Saturday Night Fever (6 Jan) and Carwash (17, 19 Jan), Paul Thomas Anderson's recent Boogie Nights (30, 31 Jan), The Last Days of Disco with Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale (22, 24, 27 Jan), and a special preview of the latest in the current disco revival, 54 (13 Jan). This stars Michael Myers as Steve Rubell in a recreation of the glory days of the outrageous Manhattan discotheque. Other hit disco movies featured are Can't Stop the Music (9 Jan, above), Xanadu (7 Jan, below right), Gay Disco Shorts (11 Jan), The Music Machine (14 Jan), Thank God It's Friday (15, 22 Jan), Disco TV (18 Jan) and ABBA the Movie (23 Jan). We have a case of Gordon's gin plus a pair of tickets to five different films in the Disco season and an NFT membership to give away to one lucky winner. Three second-prize winners will receive a bottle of Gordon's and a pair of tickets to one of the "Disco" films. Twenty runners-up will receive a pair of tickets to a film in the season. For a chance to win, answer the following question: Which former Calvin Klein model starred as Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights? Send your answer on a postcard together with name, address, daytime telephone number and choice of film to: Disco/ Information comp, Promotions, National Film Theatre, South Bank, Waterloo, London SE1 8XT, by Monday 4 Jan 1999.

Lawrence family to give TV Christmas message

THE PARENTS of the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence will deliver this year's alternative Christmas message on Channel 4.

Those uptight young things

The Last Days of Disco 15

Film: The last days of disco

Whit Stillman's films (which include Metropolitan and Barcelona) are defined by their dry wit and anthropological coolness, characteristics which may not seem to lend themselves to a portrait of the disco scene of the early Eighties. That's what makes the director's bittersweet new comedy, The Last Days of Disco (above), so delightful. It isn't caught up in the hyperbole of its subject, as Boogie Nights was; it has other intentions - to dissect, analyse, satirise. It's very cerebral, very funny and blessed with shimmering performances from both Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale.

The Critics: VIDEOS

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (12). Defrosted in 1997 after 30 years in a cryogenic freeze, Swinging Sixties private eye Austin Powers (Mike Myers) picks up exactly where he left off. That's the one joke in this mostly good-natured kitsch-fest (written by Myers and directed by Jay Roach), and thankfully, it's a reasonably amusing one. Myers, who also plays Austin's psychotic nemesis, Dr Evil, is at his nutty best, spitting out one absurdly anachronistic catchphrase after another. The comedy is occasionally juvenile - indeed, the proliferation of robot babes (not to mention the casting of Elizabeth Hurley) is indicative of the film's target audience - but the overall exuberance makes up for it.

Theatre: Let's have no more bleating about the Bush

Yes, London's premier new- writing venue has just suffered a grant cut. But it's also just won this year's Empty Space Award. James Christopher celebrates 25 years of dramatic innovation atop a West London pub.

Beckinsale leaves her mark on a city pavement

Kate Beckinsale is revelling in the success of her new film, Shooting Fish.
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