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More than the sum of his parts; Interview; Deborah Ross talks to Keith Allen

Whatever people say about Keith Allen as a person, he is always a powerful and compelling screen presence. Dangerous. Threatening. Sexy in a masterful, I'll-have-you-whether-you-like-it-or-not sort of way.

'I give good baddy, me'

Yet there's more to Keith Allen, he'd have us know, than just a talent for acting the thug. He's played both a Tolpuddle Martyr and a gay footballer in his time. Now he's a philosopher in Pinter's 'The Homecoming'. So don't pigeonhole him, OK? By Robert Hanks

Mel Gibson meets Derrida

It's one of the most popular university courses. But is cultural studies of intellectual value, or a refuge for lazy charlatans?

Musical; Maid Marian and her Merry Men Bristol Old Vic

Maid Marian and her Merry Men, the musical, starts off as a panto in the usual heroic mould with Robin Hood centre stage; but Marian instigates a feminist revolt and takes over the show with the rallying cry, "Sexist git!" A battle ensues between Marian and a posse of women and Tony Robinson, representing the theatre management. Marian's show runs out of steam at the interval and Robinson, as the Sheriff of Nottingham, stages his own version in the second half.

Fancy some schmoozing? Join the club

Are London's private media haunts really bursting with winners and wannabes slurping Bolly? Stephen Davies finds out


Failed popstar, one-time punk poet and now, finallly, a famous comedian. But even star billing and a Perrier Award are no insurance against `dying on your arse'

Kevin Costner. Oh dear

There he was. The babe toast of 1985. An actor who could direct. A film-maker who could call the shots. Then there were bad haircuts. And bad movies. And then, Waterworld. By David Shipman

`Nobody sets out to be a star-maker'

French, Saunders, Sayle, Coltrane, Mayall: without Peter Richardson where would they be? James Rampton on a comedy kingmaker's return

TELEVISION / Street theatre: The good people of King's Lynn have seen it all. First there was David Copperfield, then came Revolution, and now here's Martin Chuzzlewit, the latest costume drama from the BBC. They're old pros, the locals, more relaxed in fact than the actors themselves. Owen Slot reports from on set

Tucked away in a side-street near the church in King's Lynn, some 20 locals have gathered with their cameras to watch the filming. 'I'm getting the hang of this,' says one grey-haired woman, handling her Instamatic with confidence until a loud clatter sends her scuttling back up the road to check that the noise hasn't set her dog off. The noise has come from a young autograph hunter who has tripped over a tripod and is picking herself up, red-faced. She and the street are coated in compost - the street on behalf of 1830s authenticity - which adds to her embarrassment at bringing filming to a halt.

Opinions: Would you mind living in Reg Jones Close?

WENDY COHEN, mother, resident of Daley Thompson Way, London SW8: When people ask where I live and I say 'Daley Thompson Way' I feel obliged to tell them that I'm not winding them up, that I really live there. We immediately thought of ourselves when we saw the Reg Jones thing on TV.

Why Jim Lees is a very merrie man: After 40 years' work, he's cracked it: Chris Arnot meets a Robin Hood expert who is sure he knows the real name behind the legend

The man dubbed 'the world's foremost authority on Robin Hood' by CBS Television pushed his zimmer frame into the living room. Jim Lees has been pursuing the legendary outlaw with obsessive zeal for 40 years. At the age of 82, he has finally pinned him down: to his own satisfaction, at least.

Music fraud

Keith Allen, 49, from Harbourne, Birmingham, was jailed for 18 months for stealing 56,000 pounds from childrens orchestra funds while the city council's head of instrumental services.

Boris looks punched out, but there's still Robin Hood

'Boris was one of the finest heavyweights Russia ever produced. He has been a great champion in his day. People will always love Boris and what he did. But now, frankly, it is time for Boris to get out.'

Show People 63: Success and how to produce it: Bill Kenwright

BILL KENWRIGHT is 45 minutes late, so there's time to check out his office on Shaftesbury Avenue. It's the size of a tennis court. There is a four-foot bear, wrapped in an Everton scarf, in one corner, and a white grand piano in another. Rows of production photos on the walls include one of playwrights Alan Bleasdale and Willy Russell, signed 'with a good percentage of love'.
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own