Simon Armitage, renowned writer, national curriculum fixture, is that rare thing: a poet who admits to a sunny frame of mind
Mad dashes and flying colours
Since she last appeared at the National six years ago, Helen Mirren has become a dame and played the Queen. So she's no stranger to the purple in Jean Racine's great classical 17th-century tragedy about a dysfunctional royal expiring with incestuous love for her stepson.
Mirren's purple patch comes to an end