Arts and Entertainment Carey Mulligan would snap up a role in ITV period drama Downton Abbey if given the chance

The British actress admires Julian Fellowes after he helped launch her career

Leading article: A surfeit of crinoline

When a politician says it's not about the money, you know – say observers of American politics – that it's about the money. You could say the same about the BBC and ratings. When their spokespeople insist, as they did yesterday, that it's not about the ratings, you can be pretty sure that this is indeed exactly what it's about – in this case the plummeting number of viewers for Emma, its latest costume drama.

The Word On... Wuthering Heights

"With [Peter] Bowker reportedly – literally – taking a Stanley knife to the original book in order to arrange it into a coherent and hence more transferable-to-screen timeline, he butchered some of the original essence and culled some of the characters too." -

Roderick Floud: Costume dramas give a false picture of the size people used to be

What are the most obvious changes to have occurred in the shape of the human body in recent centuries? TV costume dramas are notable for their attention to detail, to the most minute aspects of costume or furnishings. But there is one aspect of the past which, unavoidably, they get wrong. The actors are too tall and, usually, too fat, properly to portray historical characters.

Barry Lyndon (PG)

First released in 1975, and now showing at the BFI, this is Kubrick's most beautiful movie, and his most touching.

Story of the Scene: 'Chariots of Fire', Hugh Hudson (1981)

When location manager Iain Smith turned up on the beach at St Andrews at 5am in the morning, he assumed the shoot would go smoothly this time round. The opening shot for Chariots of Fire showed the athletes in training, running through the sea. Since the film is set in 1924, all signs of modernity had been meticulously removed. Then Smith glanced up at the horizon and saw a British Navy frigate anchored offshore, dominating the bay. He had to get rid of it.

The Last Mistress, 15

That's one way to make history our favourite subject: Catherine Breillat's latest film is part an essay on 19th century mores, part melodrama, and part outright deviant sex tale – with laughs

Sport on TV: Tall story of spider man is a costume drama

Alain Robert drives his family up the wall. The world's greatest "urban free solo" climber has scaled 80 of the world's tallest buildings without using any equipment, just his hands and feet. He has an arrest sheet as long as his arm, which in his case is very long from all the trauma he puts his muscles and tendons through.

Dawn Alford: My Life In Media

'My parents had hopes I'd be a Betty Boothroyd. I wanted to be the next Judy Garland'

A N Wilson: Why can't we bury the hatchet with Thatcher?

Many of the Iron Lady's greatest supporters were notable buffoons

Christopher Prins

Actors' favourite costumier
Career Services

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