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
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On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
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The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

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From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
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Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

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David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral