Arts and Entertainment Emma Thompson arriving for the National Board of Review Awards in New York

The actor Emma Thompson has spoken out this week in favour of gender-blind casting, admitting her particular desire to play the role of Sherlock Holmes.

Julia Roberts was asked to remove two freckles for a movie role

Julia Roberts asked to have 'dirty' freckles removed for film

The actress was once advised to get rid of her facial markings for a movie role

Old favourite: Judi Dench in 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'

Rise of the silver-haired screen: Older people take largest share of cinema audiences

Likes of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel helped to drive the over-45s to the cinema

Andy McSmith's Diary: It’s hard being an MP and getting the flak for a pay rise that never comes

What really annoys MPs is that the executives at Ipsa who control their salary are so much better paid

Ruksana

Here come the girls: A new documentary follows nine girls around the world in their quest to get schooling

It’s been a surprise hit in the US, and not just because it has A-list narrators...

The 87-year-old former prime minister is expected to spend Christmas in hospital, after being operated on three days ago to remove a growth from her bladder after suffering pain earlier in the week.

Baroness Thatcher 'recovering' after minor surgery to remove bladder growths

Baroness Thatcher remained in hospital today as she recovered from minor surgery.

Baroness Thatcher to spend Christmas in hospital

Baroness Thatcher is said to be “in good spirits” as she recovers from minor surgery but is expected to spend Christmas in hospital.

Publicist to the stars Lois Smith dies

A long-time New York City publicist who worked with celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Robert Redford and Martin Scorsese has died. Lois Smith was 85.

Nathan Cassidy is giving audiences £1 to see his show 'Free Pound' on the Free Fringe

Alice Jones' Arts Diary: Edinburgh acts' funny money offer could raise a smile on the Royal Mile

Murky things are happening on the Edinburgh Fringe – and it's not even August yet. This year's fastest-emerging trend is for bribery with three acts offering cash in return for bums on seats. Nathan Cassidy is giving audiences £1 to see his show Free Pound on the Free Fringe (ticket cost: "minus £1". Donations welcome). Elsewhere, Mark MacNicol has gone for a money-back clause: if audiences don't like his "sexy, sensual, dark" theatrical take on Fatal Attraction, he will refund the £8 ticket price from his own pocket. And Irish comedian Caimh McDonnell has taken the most audacious route, promising to donate £100 to Macmillan Cancer Relief for every review published in a "recognised media source" before 20 August (only one review per outlet, sadly). Will any of these stunts work? Or will it emerge that these are, in fact, shows you couldn't pay a man, woman or Arts Diarist to see? And whatever happened to old-fashioned flyering on the Royal Mile in the rain?

DVD: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

When his father (Tom Hanks) is killed on 9/11, a precocious boy sets off around New York in search of people with the surname "Black", believing that one of them will impart a message from his dead dad.

Grant says: 'My five-year plan is to stay alive, and to stay working. And to stay married. A three-pronged attack on all fronts'

My Secret Life: Richard E Grant, 55, actor

My parents were... understandably worried when I told them that I wanted to be a professional actor, because in Swaziland, where I grew up, there was no prospect of earning a living doing that.

DVD: The Iron Lady

Weirdly, Phyllida Lloyd's Iron Lady devotes just half of its running time to Margaret Thatcher's upbringing and political career.

Julia Roberts in Mirror Mirror

Julia Roberts - Pretty woman shows her ugly side but still comes up smiling

Julia Roberts is cast against type as a wicked queen in her new film, Mirror Mirror. The Hollywood favourite has more starring roles coming up but tells Lesley O'Toole that she's now happy to treat acting more like a hobby

Julianne Moore plays Sarah Palin in the new US drama ‘Game Change’

Palin feared the worst about TV portrayal – and she was right

Juliannne Moore is cast as Alaska's presidential hopeful in a recreation of 2008 election race

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'