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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