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.

Arts: Women on the verge

Advice to actresses in Hollywood: don't age. But as Michelle Pfeiffer turns 40, are female stars the only casualties of film's obsession with youthful beauty?

Motor racing: Doubt cast on Imola surface

Oreste Dominioni, the lawyer defending Frank Williams, the Formula One team owner charged with manslaughter after the death of Ayrton Senna, yesterday raised doubts about conditions at the Imola track.

Naughty parents? It's the children who are to blame

Everyone must by now be aware that Patricia Morgan of the Institute of Economic Affairs believes young children should never be allowed out of the house, and that they should be cared for, as in the old days, by their terminally bored mamas.

What kids want and what they get

Clothes and crisps, toys and fizzy drinks, fast food and magazines - and cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets, video arcades, drugs. The children's economy is booming, in ways good and bad. Six children, from a child film star to11-year-old Sam, pictured in the bedroom of her council flat, tell us of their lives. By Lesley Gerard. Photographs by Christine Sullivan

motherhood

Is the mother as great protector a misplaced ideal? Meg Carter reflects on the 'dingo baby' and ...

Kevin Kline: a real smoothie

They wanted Gerard Depardieu. They settled for Kevin Kline. And they got more than they bargained for. By Sheila Johnston

Every which way but looser

THE CRITICS CINEMA

Brief encounter of the third kind

Clint Eastwood's latest film shows you can be high-minded and satisfy your carnal desires - flies and all. By Adam Mars-Jones

Film : CLINT EASTWOOD INTERVIEW National Film Theatre, London

Before Clint Eastwood arrived in person on Tuesday night, the audience was treated to three clips from his films: the scene in The Outlaw Josey Wales where Wales treats with the Indian chief ("Dyin' ain't so hard for men like you 'n' me. It's living that's hard"); the big shoot- out from Unforgiven ("You shot an unarmed man." "Well he shoulda' armed himself"); and the scene from In the Line of Fire where Eastwood's old secret service hand is chaffing his woman colleague about the tiny number of women agents ("Pure window-dressing").

Signs and wonders

Film-makers are discovering sign language - but, says David Nicholson, the deaf are still more seen than heard

LEADING ARTICLE: The naked truth about America

In the long history of American conmen, WH Sheldon last weekend emerged as the most triumphant. It was revealed that, in the course of his career, this discredited academic had amassed a collection of 27,000 nude photographs of Ivy League students . The snapshots, which presently lie in dust in the vaults of the National Anthropological Archive in Washington, were taken during the Fifties and Sixties and include compromising studies of some of the greatest and best of American society.

CLASSICAL MUSIC / Upbeat: Out of Africa

WHEN the first black opera company in Britain launched itself last month, queues were turned away from the one performance. The Black Swan Theatre and Opera Company has now reassembled the cast of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas for a second show on Monday, again at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn. On the strength of the night we reviewed, expect a staging with no frills (but bright colours), African drumming at the beginning and for the curtain calls, and a lively atmosphere in the house - above all, some fine voices that you probably won't have heard in opera, the point of the whole exercise. Tickets pounds 5 from 071-328 1000; start time 8pm.

Underrated: Sharing the joke: The case for 'Last Action Hero'

It doesn't pay to be too clever.

Law Update: Out of Africa

Lester Aldridge, one of the top ten law firms in south England, has just completed a trading mission to South Africa. Its intention was to develop strong trading links and to attract new business to the UK, and the firm has received a number of immediate instructions. It has also set up a scholarship for a South African candidate attorney (trainee solicitor) to spend four weeks at its offices in Bournemouth.
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Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
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The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

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Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

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Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk