The Insider: How to make your shelving sexy

When you make shelving a feature, rather than a bland device to store clutter, the stuff you display tends to look (and get treated) better...

The Insider: How to get lighting right

Nosing at other people's homes from the top of the bus after dark, I always marvel at so many rooms robbed of atmosphere by dependence on stark central ceiling lights. A lamp or two is a start – but what else can you do with lighting to transform a space?

The Insider: How to find inspiration

After moving from a small flat to a whole house, I panicked: I had little furniture, no budget and zero direction. Inspiration was clouded by the threat of expensive mistakes and "blank canvas" alarm. So where can one turn for ideas?

A Number, Menier Chocolate Factory, London

Caryl Churchill's play could not, at first glance, be more topical – on the day of its opening, the doctor who developed IVF won a Nobel Prize. But, on second hearing, the 50-minute two-hander seems less impressive than when Michael Gambon and Daniel Craig performed it on its premiere in 2002 or when Timothy and Sam West, the current cast, did so in Sheffield in 2006.

Krapp's Last Tape, Duchess Theatre, London

It's a year since Michael Gambon was obliged to abandon rehearsals for Alan Bennett's Habit of Art because of a health scare. What a pleasure, therefore, to be able to welcome the fully restored actor back to the London stage now in Michael Colgan's powerful production of Krapp's Last Tape, which has transferred from Dublin's Gate Theatre. One wonders whether there's an element of witty defiance in Gambon's decision to give us a portrayal of the great Beckett protagonist that so pointedly highlights the fact that he's not long for this world. There's certainly no danger of any further tapes from the chronically dilapidated, terminally enfeebled figure he cuts here.

First Night: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Odeon, Leicester Square

It's dark – but at least there's a kiss

Longitude pioneer was not a 'lone genius'

Experts believe that master clockmaker John Harrison must have had highly skilled help in creating his revolutionary sea clock

David Lister: When does an actor become a star?

My esteemed colleague, the science editor of this paper, Steve Connor, has attracted opprobrium in the letters column for referring to the also esteemed Sir Michael Gambon, pictured, as "the Harry Potter actor". Ms Doraine Potts claimed she was "shocked" by this, adding: "For an actor with such a distinguished career in film, television and the theatre to be identified solely by his appearance in a popular children's movie is insulting not only to the actor himself, but also to your readers."

Older father, younger mother, bad idea for baby?

Children conceived by men over the age of 45 struggle in intelligence tests

Revealed: the eight-year-old girl who saved Harry Potter

J K Rowling's new adventure is sure to be another mammoth bestseller. But, reports John Lawless, the first Potter manuscript was destined for oblivion - until the publisher's young daughter read it

btw

The New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane must be feeling pleased with himself about the news that the next James Bond movie - the 21st in the franchise - will be Casino Royale, based on Ian Fleming's first Bond novel, published in 1953. Reviewing the plonking Die Another Day three years ago, and deploring the triumph of technology over suavity that the films had become, Lane addressed the master spy in these words: "All right, 007, listen carefully: I want you to go and meet a gentleman named Lee. Ang Lee. Take him a copy of this novel, Casino Royale. It may look like an ordinary paperback, but concealed within is an array of clever tricks, some of them, I don't mind telling you, on the dodgy side, and - here's the thing - nobody seems to have put it to proper use. There was once a joke version, but that doesn't count. Be a good chap and tell our Mr Lee to turn the book into a period drama, would you?" The "joke version" was a terrible 1967 spoof movie starring David Niven, Peter Sellers and, er, Woody Allen. It looks like the people at MGM have heeded Lane's suggestion. Now all they need is a new Bond. Pierce Brosnan parted company with the management after a row about profit share.
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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?