After joining a rambling tour of New York, Johann Hari sees the city in a new light
Brenda Blethyn, everybody's favourite on-screen mother, hits the TV detective beat next month. But first, she's got one or two surprising confessions of her own.
Celebrity casting doesn't suit Trevor Nunn's Rattigan period piece, but Mike Leigh's superb 'self-revival' is Chekov in a bedsit
Mike Leigh has broken the habit of a lifetime and returned to direct one of his stage plays for the second time. You can see why he has been reluctant hitherto. Given the improvisatory techniques and the exhaustive research into character that goes into the creation of a Mike Leigh piece, the original actors might be said to "own" the material in a deeper sense than is normally meant by the term. How could you hope to re-create in rehearsal that intimate sense of mutual discovery with actors coming to the finished product cold?
Mike Leigh protegée Sinéad Matthews tells Elisa Bray why she is ideally suited to her new role in The Glass Menagerie
Bitterly witty, his film about ageing is compelling
Starring: Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville, David Bradley
She's played everyone from feisty cockneys to the Iron Lady. As she hits the Oscar trail for the new Mike Leigh film, Lesley Manville tells Jonathan Romney about her catalogue of banned sex scenes and the cash that Matt Smith owes her
They are musical geniuses, says Jessica Duchen, so why won't the Royal Opera House or Glyndebourne touch them?
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
Festival's top prize goes to Asia for the first time since 1997
Mike Leigh makes a triumphant return to the festival
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.
Candice Marie, Pam, Mrs Bennet and the immortal Beverly – all great roles that only Alison Steadman could have created. But her latest on stage is the toughest yet
She's the sweet, dippy mum in the hit comedy 'Outnumbered' – 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
Recession needn't mean depression – 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