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
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
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Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
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Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
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Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
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The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss