News Criminal mastermind: Henning Mankell

Mankell will document his battle with the disease for a newspaper column

The Duchess of York, the Squatters of Dulwich and Kenneth Branagh

EXCITING times for the Duchess of York. If you've wondered why she's been more ubiquitous than usual in the media world - hanging out with the cast of Friends, flirting with Chris Evans - it's because she is soon to be launched as the hostess of a television chat show. Sky TV have signed her up and, having already pre-sold the show to America, Australia and New Zealand, have made a gratifying amount of cash out of the newly- slender ex-Royal before she utters a single word of the Funny Opening Monologue.

Outlook: British films need more help

ALL INDUSTRIES need to fight for attention, love and favour from ministers, but the film industry does rather seem to get more than its fair share. It even has its own think-tank in the Department of Culture, the Film Policy Review Group, and Chris Smith, the Culture Secretary, is constantly banging on about the need to do more to help.

Film: Em and Phyllida keep it in the family

The self-deprecating Phyllida Law didn't have a `blazing career' until her son-in-law, Kenneth Branagh, made her a star in `Peter's Friends'. Now she is co-starring with her daughter, Emma Thompson, and, she tells James Rampton, she found the experience both easy and emotional.

Music on television: They just don't get it, do they?

Some are born great, and some are picked by BBC2. Great Composers launched its preferred seven (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Mahler and Puccini) on Sunday with a synthesised collage of juicy bits by them all. In case you hadn't got the message about supermen, it cut to a space shuttle lifting off. And if you stayed with it, the programme then sprang its surprise: a documentary about Johann Sebastian Bach so respectful and decent that it could have stopped Lord Reith turning in his grave.

Jilted John returns

BOX CLEVER

Letter: Not as scary as the real thing

My fangs are itching for the new glow-in-the-dark horror stamps, but I have my doubts about the Post Office's claim to have by-passed the movies and gone back to the authors ("Dracula puts a bloody stamp...", 11 May). The tramp-like Frankenstein's monster looks almost cuddly beside Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's hideous cadaver. .

Belfast works on its waterfront

A futuristic pounds 32m riverside concert hall and conference centre opens in Belfast today as part of an effort to regenerate the Victorian city.

Letter: `Crash' is our `Frankenstein'

Salman Rushdie's defence of Crash is based on a confession that he has not seen the film, and read only your extract of the screenplay. If Mary Whitehouse had based her condemnation on ignorance of the primary experience and partial view of the secondary material - admittedly more than she usually does - we should know what respect to give her views. What strange bedmates some methodologies make.

A century of cinema fangs

Feminism apart, Wilderness is not exactly exploring uncharted territory, Ivan Waterman writes. Werewolf films date back to 1913, when the Canadian director Henry McRae hired Watuma, a Navajo, to become a wolf for his silent adventure.

Branagh film wins award in Venice

Kenneth Branagh has bounced back from the critical roasting given to his film Frankenstein by capturing a prestigious award with the follow- up, writes David Lister.

Waiting for a gust of wind

Will British theatre survive beyond the millennium? In the first of a series on the state of the nation's drama, Richard Eyre, the National's artistic director, offers Clare Bayley his vision for the future

Update : Best foot forward

Best foot forward "Robert De Niro has quite big feet for a man his height," says Henrietta Park, bespoke shoe maker. She should know because she made the shoes for the actor to wear in Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein. De Niro takes a size 10. Other celebrities whose feet Park has shod include Seal, Annie Len-nox, Helena Bonham Carter and Tracy Ullman.

ARTS / Overheard

I never created Alf Garnett, society created him. I just grassed on him . .

Film: David Benedict quotes what people say (and the man himself says) about the revered and reviled Kenneth Branagh, whose Frankenstein is the fest's centrepiece

PRO KEN 'The reaction to Branagh and his talented peer group is symptomatic of the mean- spiritedness that is the foundation of this country.' Jaci Stephen, Today, 21 Nov 1992.

ARTS / And what's more . . .

Audiences at Sunday's preview screening were roaring at the funniest film since, well, Young Frankenstein. The scene from Kenneth Branagh's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein that caused the most screams was where favourite Branagh actor Richard Briers as the blind woodsman sympathises with the creature. 'It can't be that bad,' he says. 'Worse,' comes the inevitable reply. Shame it was supposed to be taken seriously . . . Sunset Boulevard has not swept the board at the nominations for the Ovations awards in LA.
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