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.

David Lister: It's not time to junk the breeches and bonnets

The death of the costume drama on the BBC has been declared before. By the BBC. In the Eighties the Corporation decided that the public no longer had an appetite for it, and barely made any, denying a generation adaptations of the classics. Then in the Nineties it made the excellent Colin Firth/ Jennifer Ehle version of Pride and Prejudice to critical and public acclaim, and the senior BBC executive Michael Jackson went on the Today programme to apologise for keeping costume dramas off the air.

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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

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Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

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This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee