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

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game