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?
On the surface, nothing much happens in Mike Leigh's latest comedy-drama except that a husband and wife (Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen) host four meals, one for each season of the year.
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
As Mike Leigh's new film, Another Year, is released, James Mottram explores the rigorous processes behind the performances his work is famed for, while stars reveal the demands involved.
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
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.
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
The star of the Donmar's 'Ivanov' specialises in playing damaged women – yet off stage, Gina McKee seems coolly confident. Alice Jones meets her