Arts and Entertainment

Cutie and the Boxer (E) Zachary Heinzerling, DVD (82mins)

Film: Britcom targets the big screen

As 'Notting Hill' cleans up in America, Louise Jury reports on the stars of TV comedy who have their sights set higher

The enduring war

The First World War continues to haunt us. Why? A new TV series attempts to separate the myths from the bloody reality

Arts: I never talk to strangers

Don't bother trying to win over Miranda Richardson. She does the seducing, OK?

The Critics: Every film-goer's dream

Notting Hill Director: Roger Michell Starring: Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, Rhys Ifans (123 mins; 15)

Profile: Richard Curtis - From gags to riches

`Notting Hill' is charming, witty, delightful. But has the writer of `Blackadder' gone soft?

Film: The Big Picture: First among sequels?

NOTTING HILL (15) DIRECTOR: ROGER MICHELL STARRING: HUGH GRANT, JULIA ROBERTS, RHYS IFANS 123 MINS

It's Notting Hill, but not as I know it

The hype has been with us ever since Julia flew in on Concorde last summer and the Portobello Road was carpeted with artificial snow. Richard Curtis rides again with not a sequel to, but a sort of reprise of, the nation's favourite romantic comedy, Four Weddings and a Funeral. Finally, five years on from Curtis's low-budget triumph, we're within spitting distance of seeing Hugh Grant scoring with another chick from across the pond.

Christmas books: Humour - You won't believe this...

Steer clear of the spin-offs, says Martin Rowson. Stick to the cartoons

Rallying: Mr Bean a vintage runner at 61

BOB BEAN first entered the RAC Rally the year England won the World Cup, 1966, long before he gained his current identity.

Altogether now... breathe

A COUPLE of years ago, I was looking for a poem of Auden's which I couldn't lay my hands on, so I went to Charing Cross Road to look for it. Foyle's was the first shop I went into, and was genuinely shocked to find the shelves bare of his books. I became angry: this great English poet unrepresented in what was once an international byword for bookshops. "Do you realise," I said, tersely, to the assistant, "that there is not a single copy of any book by W H Auden in stock?" "Yes," he replied, "and it's your fault." It was shortly after the release of Four Weddings and a Funeral. I knew that there had been a bit of a rush on "Funeral Blues", so memorably spoken by John Hannah in the film, but had no idea that Auden had literally reached the best-seller lists. It was a striking reminder of how poetry, the Cinderella of the written word, with sales in single figures, can, spoken aloud, be the most popular of all literary genres.

Don't get mad, get rational

Miranda Richardson faces a new screen challenge: playing `Mrs Normal' for once. Interview by James Rampton

In the News: Rowan Atkinson - The recluse who engineered his way to stardom

BACK in his student days, Rowan Atkinson wanted to be an electrical engineer. It is an image that is hard to match with the rubber-faced comedian whose alter-ego, Mr Bean, is one of the best-known comic creations on British television, writes Kate Watson-Smyth.

Rugby Union: The serious side of Blackadder

The captain of the team they call the second best in the world has one ambition - to play for the best team; David Llewellyn talks to the leader of the first-rate All Black Second XV

CINEMA: A half-baked Bean who should have stayed in Britain

Mr Bean is the world's most popular in-flight entertainment, and understandably so. Half-asleep between bouts of air-sickness is undoubtedly the best way to watch it. But now Rowan Atkinson has brought his creepy TV character to the big screen, his audience no longer has the option of taking off the headphones and reading a book instead.

Mr Magoo with malice

The puerile Mr Bean has made it from TV to the big screen, from London to Los Angeles. But the idiot's-eye outlook he offers remains the same
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick