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

Joely Richardson is playing Ellida in Henrik Ibsen's The Lady From The Sea at Rose Theatre in Kingston from February 23 to March 17

The lady from the dynasty

Joely Richardson, a scion of England's grandest theatrical family and with a glittering career to match, is pensive on the eve of her return to the London stage, writes Arifa Akbar

Snooker: O'Sullivan storms back to end barren run

Ronnie O'Sullivan brought the house down at the Tempodrom in Berlin last night with a magnificent comeback win to beat Scot Stephen Maguire in the final of the German Masters.

Meryl Streep looks and sounds like Margaret Thatcher, but also suggests her vulnerability

The Iron Lady, Phyllida Lloyd, 105 mins (12A)

Meryl Streep is superb, but the story is of one woman fulfilling her destiny rather than the pell-mell of politics

The best: 1.The Fighter - 'In my opinion, the greatest sporting film ever made – but so much more. The fight scenes were stunning but secondary to a story which has poignancy and great humour'

The midlife crisis that turned into a 600-film odyssey

In a good year for the film industry, the average Briton will go to the cinema three times. Neil White clocked up twice that number of movies in just one day as he chased his goal of watching every new release over the last 12 months.

Arts review of 2011 - Television: You've no idea how much we liked watching

Mr Drew of Passmores school was my hero, in a year in which the reality show got a bit more real

Foxfinder, Finborough Theatre, London (4/5)

There hasn't been a bumper yield of great new plays this year, but now, at the eleventh hour, comes this spell-binding dystopian parable by Dawn King.

Lost and found: A dense web of stories in Mysteries of Lisbon starts with a foundling boy

Mysteries of Lisbon, Raul Ruiz, 266 mins (PG)

Raul Ruiz, who died this year, has left us with a surreal four-hour story, set in 19th-century Portugal, that reclaims cinema as the language of dream

The Brontës - Cinemagoers have had their fill of this sister act

Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre return to the screen in September. Today's film-makers are too obsessed with the Brontë sisters, argues Geoffrey Macnab

DVD: The Illusionist (PG)

Fans of Sylvain Chomet's wonderful Belleville Rendez-Vous will find the director in a slightly gentler mood here.

Diary: The period drama with a modern message

The war between the Coalition and the BBC rages on, but the corporation's latest salvo comes from a somewhat unexpected source: the costume drama department. South Riding, slated for Sunday nights on BBC One from the end of this month, is based on the 1936 novel by Winifred Holtby.

The ten best costume dramas

From bonnets and bustles to swords and sandals, there's nothing more comforting on a dark evening than a box set of drama DVDs. After all, we Brits do make the best



Click on the image to launch our guide

Behind the scenes with Nanny McPhee and Mr Edelweiss

Take a preview peak at 'Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang' ahead of its release in cinemas on Friday. This exclusive video feature explores the relationship between Nanny (Emma Thompson) and a Jackdaw named Mr Edelweiss who follows her around.

DVD: Bright Star, For retail & rental (Pathé)

Jane Campion steers clear of the clichés of the typical English bonnets-and-breeches costume drama, but she veers too far in the opposite direction when she turns the tragic romance of John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) into a casual, housebound flirtation between two giggly neighbours.

Leading article: Goodbye to Guy?

American grey squirrel comes in, British red squirrel goes out. American crayfish comes in, native crayfish gets crunched – quite literally. American mink comes in... you get the picture.

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.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015