A terrible cult

'Withnail and I' is 10. Suzi Feay celebrates a comedy classic

Dear Paul McGann

From the editor of Doctor Who Magazine to its new eponymous hero: a few words about the Tardis and tachyonics

Christine Eccles was commissioned to write a book about the Royal Court. Max Stafford-Clark tolerated it. Stephen Daldry hated it. So just what went wrong?

It all began in 1991 when Max Stafford-Clark, the former artistic director of the Royal Court, agreed to my proposition that I record a year in the life of the theatre for eventual publication by Nick Hern Books. A public institution like the Royal Court ought not to avoid examination.

BBC chief admits 'Castles' a failure

A question mark hangs over the future of the BBC's latest soap, Castles, after the corporation's head of drama, Charles Denton, yesterday branded it a failure, writes Rhys Williams.

Off with the mince

The achievement of the week belonged not to a current Conservative politician, but a retired one. Step forward the willowy Nigel Lawson, who is only two-thirds the man he was when Chancellor. Nigel revealed that he had been on a diet and lost four stone in twelve months.

CINEMA / The British are coming (again)

A year after `Four Weddings', another charming British comedy is a hit. Sue Summers meets the director of `Jack and Sarah'

It's alive, it's alive!

Live TV is 24 hours old today. Janet Street Porter played midwife, Jim White witnessed the birth

Who would you most like to punch?

OPINIONS

Altman: ready to weary

Cinema

The Worst of Times: This stiff grey fin was moving purposefully towards us . . .: Richard E Grant talks to Danny Danziger

When I was eight, my parents, my younger brother, Stewart, and a girl called Margo Edwards, who was at school with us, went on holiday to Mozambique. One day, we took out a small rowing boat with an outboard motor on it, and went fishing on this vast lagoon at a place called San Martina.

How We Met: Richard E Grant and Joan Washington

Actor Richard E Grant, 37, was born in Swaziland. He has appeared in such films as Withnail and I and The Player, and in numerous stage and television roles - the latest in a BBC production of Hard Times. He married Joan Washington in 1986; they live in Middlesex with their daughter, Olivia.

Travel: Transylvania for suckers: Carole Cadwalladr fancied a ghouls' night out in Brasov, but she missed the incubus and could find nothing to get her teeth into

I had read Bram Stoker's Dracula, and seen the film and, since I was passing through Transylvania, it seemed like a good idea to pick up the T-shirt. The taxi driver from Brasov station had got my number. 'I know why you come here,' he said, leering. 'You want to find Vlad to impale you.' Or maybe I just misheard.

REVIEW / All the biggest names fall on Hard Times

FACT: Charles Dickens completed 14 novels. Fact: it is quicker to list the ones the BBC has not adapted. Fact: all but one of them were written in serial form. Fact: Hard Times is the one that wasn't.

MOTORING / Withnail, the cat from Coventry and I: Me & My Motor: Richard E Grant made his screen name in a Mark 2 Jag; now he has his own XJS. Matthew Gwyther goes for a gentle spin

IT COMES as little initial surprise that Richard E Grant's personal road transport is a Jaguar. His first occasion behind the wheel of a cat from Coventry came in the film that made his name - Withnail & I. Fans of the homage to 1969, in which Grant played a waspish out-of-work actor who lived on red wine and Mandrax, will recall the car - 405 SBH, a distressed Mark 2 with one front headlamp missing. At the climax of the film, Withnail is arrested weaving to and fro across all three lanes of the M1 with half a case of his uncle's finest claret inside him. He tries to avoid prosecution by offering a sample of someone else's alcohol-free urine which he kept in a Squeezy bottle hidden in his greatcoat.
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