Timothy Spall

Last Night's TV: Chris Ryan's Strike Back, Sky 1
Timothy Spall:

What I want to know is who kidnapped Jed Mercurio and where are the ruthless bastards keeping him? He's an interesting and talented writer, after all, and the only explanation for the appearance of his name on the credits of Chris Ryan's Strike Back – a terminally dim-witted bit of SAS combat porn – is that he's being held in a basement somewhere and forced to write this gibberish at the point of a gun. It's at times like this that the Writers' Guild of Great Britain needs to be able to call on an elite force of its own, a team of crack dialogue boys who could blow the seals on Mercurio's contract and extract him to a place of safety, where he could be debriefed by trained trauma counsellors. Failing that, though, we're just going to have to look on helplessly as the humiliation continues.

Black and white and red all over: Left-wing reads

Socialist fiction, feminist theory, even Marxist tracts – thanks to the recession, the classic left-wing reads of yesteryear are back in vogue. But which titles really deliver power to the people? Andy McSmith finds out

Beale's Best In Show: Levi's (BBH)

Not many advertisers stay married to the same ad agency for five years, let alone 25. But the relationship that Levi's has with Bartle Bogle Hegarty has done more than stand the test of time. It has set the advertising agenda and produced some of the most enduring and iconic campaigns of the last quarter of a century.

Timothy Spall: Lucky Tim

Timothy Spall is a very fine actor, and a lovely man. Now he's broken into the Hollywood big league, but it hasn't changed him one bit. He still loves Mike Leigh, 'nice arms' and, most important of all, Rich Tea biscuits. Portrait by Eva Vermandel