Voices

This definition of anti-Semitism has been too stretched for too long

It's time to reassess Gilbert and Sullivan

They are musical geniuses, says Jessica Duchen, so why won't the Royal Opera House or Glyndebourne touch them?

Claire Skinner: From washing up to the West End

Claire Skinner's apprenticeship under Mike Leigh made her a natural choice for the semi-improvised TV hit Outnumbered. Now she's returning to her first love – theatre. Claire Allfree meets her

Politically charged finale as jury honours Thai and Binoche stages protest

Festival's top prize goes to Asia for the first time since 1997

British realism amid the glamour of Cannes

Mike Leigh makes a triumphant return to the festival

Nobody's mug: How did Eddie Marsan become Hollywood's go-to man for great British character acting?

Eddie Marsan would probably agree that his face is his fortune. He is one of those film actors you can't always put a name to, but you'll instantly recognise that cartoon countenance: wide with low ears, flattened nose and crestfallen mouth, liable to look meek or mean depending on how the wind is blowing. It is the sort of face that nature has provided with its own stocking mask.

Mike Leigh film in running for Palme D'Or

British director Mike Leigh's new film, Another Year, is in the running for the Cannes Film Festival's top prize the Palme d'Or, it was announced today.

Tony (18)

Gerard Johnson's low-budget streets-of-London downer is nominally about a serial killer, but in Peter Ferdinando's remarkable title-role it becomes rather more about urban loneliness and alienation.

Our culture critics’ picks for 2010

From Picasso’s politics to ‘The Prisoner’ and Beethoven to Big Boi, our experts choose their cultural highlights for the next 12 months

Philip Hensher: Gaffes that can be a boon to Cameron

Peter Hobbins is a member of the Conservative association in Orpington, Kent, and a local councillor. In the past, he was a Conservative Party candidate, failing to win the Rhondda seat in the 2001 General Election. He was struck by the changing nature of aspiring Tory politicians, and put his thoughts in a series of e-mails to fellow Orpington conservatives. Candidates included, he said, "a Mr Dilon Gumraj and a Zerha Zaidi and others ... not one of them has a 'normal' English name ... Maybe I should change my name to something foreign – how does Petrado Indiano Hobbinso sound to you?" Startling stuff, and Mr Hobbins has been suspended from the party forthwith.

Last Night's Television: Spanish flu &ndash; the forgotten fallen, BBC4<br />Silverville, BBC1

It's Manchester in 1918 and there's trouble outside t'mill. A little girl has just dropped dead, her earlobes and lips a fetching shade of cyan and Dr James Niven has a bad feeling about it. "This may signify the beginning of a new outbreak," he says, before asking that Manchester be closed until further notice. "I want all public assemblies curtailed, I want the Sunday schools closed, I want the trams stopped and the mills shut down," he tells his boss, who takes the view that this is all alarmist nonsense and what they really need to be worried about is an epidemic of VD when the boys get back from the trenches.

Simon Channing Williams: Film producer who worked with Mike Leigh for 20 years

Simon Channing Williams played a major part in the British film industry by producing all the films directed by Mike Leigh for the past 20 years. In 1988 he and Leigh formed Thin Man Films, the company that funded and made possible Leigh's projects, including the multi-Oscar nominated Secrets and Lies (1996) and the equally acclaimed Vera Drake (2004). Channing Williams also produced the controversial story of a whistleblower, The Constant Gardener (2005), directed by Fernando Meirelles, which won Rachel Weisz a supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of an activist whose uncovering of corporate corruption – the testing of drugs on Africans by pharmaceutical companies – leads to her murder.

Alison Steadman: 'I hear the character in my head'

Candice Marie, Pam, Mrs Bennet and the immortal Beverly &ndash; all great roles that only Alison Steadman could have created. But her latest on stage is the toughest yet

Mommy dearest: Claire Skinner transforms into a monster of a mother

She's the sweet, dippy mum in the hit comedy 'Outnumbered' &ndash; so how does Claire Skinner get over coping with the worst-behaved children in television? By playing one of the worst-behaved parents in drama

Editor-At-Large: Another butterfly broken on a wheel

It's hard to think of Boy George as a butterfly, but try. What on earth was the judge doing when he sentenced the former Culture Club singer and songwriter to 15 months in prison for handcuffing a male escort to a wall in his London flat after a row, when both men have admitted they were taking drugs? Was this meant to send a message to other men who might pick each other up via the internet and indulge in a spot of sado-masochism? Or a warning that drugs are bad for us? It all sounds so horribly familiar to my generation. Has our justice system really nothing better to offer Boy George as a way out of his misery with substance abuse than a spell in the slammer?

Read all about it: Tales from the bright side of life

Recession needn't mean depression &ndash; in fact, the first weeks of 2009 brimmed with heart-warming, gloom-busting stories. John Walsh unearths accounts of serendipity, misfortune overcome and downright silliness that you may have missed
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Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable