King Henry VIII

Once a Redgrave: Joely Richardson on playing the role made famous by

Joely Richardson is a scion of England's grandest theatrical family, with a glittering career to match. But recent years have brought the deaths of the actress's sister, uncle and aunt. Arifa Akbar finds her in a pensive mood on the eve of her return to the London stage.

Can Barritt solve central issue?

Unfairly maligned as one-dimensional by some, Saracens' South African-born No 12 may actually provide an answer to England's long-standing problem position

Cromwell marches on TV

The BBC is planning a television mini-series adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Booker-winning novel Wolf Hall.

Beowulf, OMG!: Hip-hop artist Akala tracks the development of English

Shakespeare has an image problem – but it's all just bad marketing, really. Who was he? Who was his audience? What was London like when he was writing? Despite the factual information to the contrary, the average person's answer to these questions may read: some aristocrat educated at Oxford; the rich and powerful of his day; awfully civilised.

Harriet Walker: It's not easy being Eliza Doolittle

Any girl feels like a new season debutante when she meets the parents. Knowing when to simper and when to smile, at what moment to tinkle out a little giggle or how to pronounce that fancy French thing on the menu – all require a social deftness and lightness of touch that you either have or you don't. S'a matter of breeding, innit.

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