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Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Sat, 23 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

You said recently that if you were a gay 13-year-old in Uganda today you probably wouldn't tell anyone. Why have things got worse since the Nineties?

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 19:29:00 +0100

Writing one-liners is a serious business.

Peter Sculthorpe: Composer who drew on aboriginal and Asian traditions to forge a distinctive Australian sound

Mon, 18 Aug 2014 20:04:00 +0100

Peter Sculthorpe came to symbolise Australian classical music in the same way that Sidney Nolan represented Australia’s poetry and Patrick White its literature.

Countess Albina Du Boisrouvray: ‘We’re dealing with people who have absolutely nothing’

Sun, 17 Aug 2014 17:32:31 +0100

I am on time to meet Countess Albina Du Boisrouvray, but she’s late. When she arrives, she’s all breathless. She was stuck in the lift in her London hotel. The doors locked and nothing happened. “I felt claustrophobic, do you get claustrophobic?” asks, turning her predicament on to me. Suddenly, I find myself drawn into discussing with her similar experiences of my own.

How We Met: Glenn Wool & Tom Stade - "We can all be pretty vicious and unguarded with one another, as nothing is taboo"

Sun, 17 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Glenn Wool, 39

Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman: "Peter Capaldi is almost the opposite of Matt Smith"

Sun, 17 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

It's approaching seven o'clock on a Friday evening in a forest near Cardiff and filming of the new series of Doctor Who has wrapped for another week. Jenna Coleman, soon to complete her second series as the Doctor's latest companion, Clara Oswald, prepares to be driven back along the M4 towards London for a precious two-day reunion with her boyfriend, the Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden.

The inimitable Kate Bush: Musical pioneer? Reclusive genius? 21st-century witch?

Sun, 17 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

THE IMPACT

Conan O'Brien: The chat-show host on the influence of Monty Python and the curse of James Dean

Sun, 17 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Monty Python was my generation's atomic bomb I watched a lot of British shows when I was younger; Python in particular changed everything in comedy, as they didn't have to have endings for their sketches; they did something only for as long as it was funny. It was sort of Picasso discovering abstract art; a huge leap forward. They still hadn't caught up in the US even 20 years later. I did Saturday Night Live for four years in the late 1980s and we had to narratively end these sketches, even when I only had three minutes' worth of a funny idea.

Tom Aikens: The chef on the greats who inspired him, fitness regimes and what he thinks of beer at breakfast

Sat, 16 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Morning. Where in the world are you and what did you have for breakfast?

Haruki Murakami profile: An everyman for our times

Fri, 15 Aug 2014 20:06:53 +0100

It was Harry Potter fever all over again this week. Foyles bookshop in Charing Cross Road stayed open all night to celebrate with jazz. The Royal Opera House and Tate Modern were bathed in images of the cover. Bookshops across the country happily anticipated a JK Rowling-like rush for the tills as the new Haruki Murakami novel, snappily entitled Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, became the book to beat, having sold a million copies in Murakami’s native Japan within a week of release.

Lord Young interview: ‘We need to get young children believing in themselves’

Sun, 10 Aug 2014 19:41:16 +0100

When I say I’m off to meet Lord Young the reaction is universal: “Blimey, is he still going?” or words to that effect.

Nancy Dell'Olio: The lawyer on the Edinburgh Fringe, dealing with the tabloids, running for political office and €10 leggings

Sun, 10 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

My mother says I always wanted to be famous There are certainly times when it's fun and I enjoy it, but not always. Sometimes it's nice to walk down the street and be recognised but other times I would like to be invisible.

How We Met: Simon Greenall & Matthew Kelly - "The producer said, "You'd better not be drunk". Then he fell down the stairs"

Sun, 10 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Matthew Kelly, 64

Stephanie Beacham: The actress on Marlon Brando's animal magnetism, changing sexual mores and why Joan Collins will never visit her

Sat, 09 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Is it true you've seen Marlon Brando in his Y-fronts and Wellington boots?

Song of Ice and Fire author George RR Martin on success, chess and the wrath of superfans

Sat, 09 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Game of Thrones may be blood-curdling and violent fare but its 65-year-old creator, George RR Martin, is a portly, softly spoken figure in black shirt and braces whose silver beard makes him look a little like Father Christmas as portrayed by Raymond Briggs. On a humid afternoon, he is sitting on a sofa in a suite at the Beau-Rivage, the most upmarket hotel in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Alistair Darling: Quiet man who found his voice

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 18:27:37 +0100

The unexpected warrior, the sober saviour, the one who steps forward as an ordinary Horatius – that’s how many of us like our heroes served. And there was a reminder of this at Glasgow’s Royal Conservatoire on Tuesday night when the hopes of a 300-year-old political union centred on just such an apparently dull, grey figure.

How We Met: Amanda Prowse & Carol Vorderman - 'She took me up for a helicopter flight with Lord Coe; I was sick on his leg'

Sun, 03 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Carol Vorderman, 53

John Myatt: The artist and convicted forger on life and art in and out of prison

Sun, 03 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

I'll always be known as the perpetrator of the biggest art fraud in history I'd go along to the Birmingham Art Gallery, study a painting by, say, Monet, then come back and invent my own hitherto-undiscovered Monet painting, using acrylic paint and mixing it with KY jelly. [Commissioned by his conspirator John Drewe, Myatt went on to sell more than 200 forgeries of famous 19th & 20th century painters between 1986 and 1994.]

Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

Sat, 02 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Did your kids ever visit you on the Harry Potter set?

Ken Clarke: ‘Political leaders take too much notice of media noise’

Sun, 27 Jul 2014 23:21:46 +0100

Ken Clarke is a Big Beast in the political jungle. He is not physically imposing, like Tony Blair, or Clarke’s old ally Michael Heseltine – he is shorter and more rotund than they – but his immensely long career and the blunt confidence and common-sense language he uses to express what he thinks has made him metaphorically big, someone whose opinion cannot be ignored.

How We Met: Nigel Havers & Cherie Lunghi: 'We went to the same stage school. I was there for the ballet, he was there for the girls'

Sun, 27 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Cherie Lunghi, 62

Sara Pascoe: The comedian on Darwin's marriage issues, tutting at old people and her mountain of unread books

Sun, 27 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

I don't want my comedy to be at the expense of others When I started watching comedy there was a lot of negativity about women; a lot of comics were spewing out aggressive, violent and negative material. It's easy to do a routine on Kerry Katona, say, but while Jo Brand has said that you can't have victimless comedy, I restrict my victims to dead people, such as Charles Darwin – or criticising ideas.

Utopia star Fiona O'Shaughnessy: 'I don't like to watch too much violence...it's weird that I'm involved in this'

Sun, 27 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

It's been a good time for damaged kick-ass screen heroines – from Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to Malmo policewoman Saga Noren in The Bridge, anti-social, mildly Asperger's female protagonists have been so much the rage that they've already drifted into cliché; witness computer whizz Chloe O'Brian's makeover in the reboot of 24, the compelling 24: Live Another Day.

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:16:36 +0100

More than 20 years after he joined the BBC as an economics correspondent, Evan Davis still has to put up with detractors who would like to portray him as something of a softie.

Tanni Grey-Thompson: The sporting great shares her thoughts on crashing out, being a life peer and Scottish independence

Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

We've had a summer of crash-outs: Andy Murray, the Brazil team, Chris Froome. How much is a sportsperson's performance about psychology?

David Tovey has weathered cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

It's 20 June, 2013. A 38-year-old man, distressed, emaciated, depleted from chemotherapy, dishevelled from sleeping rough, walks out of Islington council offices on Upper Street, north London, and pulls out a syringe. It contains two grams of crystal methamphetamine – enough to kill him. He finds a vein and slides the needle in. Moments later, pool attendants from the nearby leisure centre see the man collapse on the street. They rush out, and, in the half-breath between life and nothing, reach him, resuscitate him, and phone for help.

How We Met: Stella Rimington & Alan Judd: 'We had to catch one of these Bulgarian spies'

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Dame Stella Rimington, 79

Sara Paretsky: The crime writer on her alcoholic mother, VI Warshawski, and longing to be free

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

There is a theme in crime literature of women being either the femme fatale or the victim When I first read Raymond Chandler, in six out of seven of his novels the woman presented herself sexually, and it galvanised me into thinking, surely there are better ways of representing women, who are more believable and had to solve their own problems? [My character, private investigator] VI Warshawski grew out of that, though it took me eight years until I had the courage to put her on page.

Stewart Lee: The comedian on positive discrimination, causing offence, and who he currently rates on the stand-up circuit

Sat, 19 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Where are you?

Richard Layard: ‘Money is not the only thing affecting people’s happiness’

Sun, 13 Jul 2014 20:40:18 +0100

How could we become a happier nation? One pioneering economist has spent the best part of a decade arguing that we simply must find an answer to this question – gaining the support of David Cameron, who backed the notion of happiness as “the new GDP”.

How We Met: Sally Phillips & Lucy Cooke - 'Her cape caught fire at a Doctor Who party'

Sun, 13 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Sally Phillips, 44

Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Sun, 13 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

As I walk down a forest path on the coast of north-west Scotland, my heart is beating fast. It's not so much the physical effort – the way is not steep – but my sense of expectation that is causing this effect. What I am about to see is a near-mythical place, one I have read so much about and visited so often in my dreams, but never in reality.

Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Sun, 13 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Friendships get suspended when you're on the track I'm friends with [fellow British cyclists and Olympic and World champions] Laura Trott and Dani King, but when we're competing against each other, even in training, there is a big rivalry that comes alive between us. Then, once we're off the track, we can go back to being friends again.

The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Sun, 13 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

When it came to first playing one of the most iconic apes in cinema history, Andy Serkis had his work cut out. And, effectively, his tongue. But at least this summer's return of the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise lets him shout about it. A bit.

Jung Chang: The author of 'Wild Swans' on ruthless empresses, English pubs, and why email monitoring is nothing new to her

Sat, 12 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

In Wild Swans, you speak about being encouraged to inform on people from a young age. How did that culture leave its mark on you?

Is maverick master builder Bjarke Ingels the world's smartest architect - or just the craziest?

Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:30:00 +0100

'Architecture is like a sort of gentleman's sport where you only really get to do it when you're old," says Bjarke Ingels, chomping into a cheese-and-ham croissant outside a café in London's Kensington. "There's this catch-22 that you can't do it till you've proven yourself, but you can't prove yourself till you get the chance to do it."

Lionel Messi: The world at his feet

Fri, 11 Jul 2014 17:46:10 +0100

Before George Best came along with his pop-star ways, even the greatest footballers tended to be self-effacing types.

Dale Vince interview: The £100m hippy with wind in his turbines and Quorn in his burgers

Sun, 06 Jul 2014 19:40:48 +0100

Get off the train at Stroud and the first building on the left is Ecotricity. Walk up to the main street, and the office block on the right is Ecotricity. On the outskirts of town, there is another one for Ecotricity.

How We Met: Elton John & Rod Thomas - 'I've been getting him to listen to Gina G'

Sun, 06 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Elton John, 67

Cornelia Parker: The installation artist on mucking out pigs, blowing things up and Michael Gove's 'terrifying' cuts

Sun, 06 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

I never got to play as a child All my spare time was spent working on my family's smallholding. It was a life of drudgery, really, planting vegetables, digging, mucking out the pigs; perhaps that's why I left for art school and became an artist – to work on stuff that had no [practical] use to it.

Craig Brown: The satirist on death threats from Harold Pinter - and why Jeremy Clarkson makes him feel like a woman

Sat, 05 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Has anyone ever told you they enjoyed your parody of them?

Nicholas Witchell has been reporting on the Royal Family for 15 years - wouldn't he rather swap the front of the Palace for the front line?

Sat, 05 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Nicholas Witchell is not talking about the Queen when he recalls the incident which, along with an icy encounter with her eldest son, has come to define his career in broadcasting. "I lowered myself gently astride the dear lady," he says. "You could hear all these muffled cries and groans. I think it came as a shock to us both."

Ahmed Chalabi: Right man, wrong time for Iraq's once-exiled opposition leader?

Fri, 04 Jul 2014 21:53:44 +0100

The enemy is at the gates of Baghdad. A small insurgent force has humiliatingly defeated an enormous Iraqi army. The government has no authority in that half of Iraq lying north and west of the capital. The Syrian civil war has spread and capsized the Iraqi state. In his eight years in power Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki created a dysfunctional and corrupt dictatorship that alienated two out of three of Iraq’s main communities.

Jimmy Savile admitted getting knighthood was 'a relief because it got me off the hook'

Sun, 29 Jun 2014 12:32:14 +0100

Sir James Savile is absolutely knocked out, over the moon, tickled pink, and thrilled to bits with his knighthood, and still reeling from the excitement of it all. Ooh, but it has played merry hell with his diary. “The Queen deciding to give me this tremendous responsibility – I mean, you go to bed one minute without a care in the world and you wake up the next morning with this gi-normous responsibility come through the letterbox.

John Burnside: The poet opens up about his father's cruelty, the hurtfulness of language – and why he walked away from love

Sun, 29 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

I always wanted to be a painter I loved painting. I went on three different art courses but had no talent whatsoever. On the third one, the teacher said to me, "I hear you're a poet?" I said yes, and he said, "I think you should stick to it; put it this way, you're never going to be Cézanne."

How We Met: Steve Knightley & Jim Carter: 'Jim has this chaotic clown alter ego - a bad-tempered drunkard'

Sun, 29 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Jim Carter, 65

Second coming of Nigel Lawson: The former Chancellor on fracking, global warming and why David Cameron has blown it in Europe

Sun, 29 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

His Cabinet career may have ended following a bitter disagreement with Margaret Thatcher over the economy, but 25 years on Nigel Lawson clearly still reveres the former prime minister. So much so that when I compare the late Lady Thatcher to the woman tipped to one day succeed her, Theresa May, Lord Lawson can barely conceal his disdain.

Kirstie Allsopp: 'They say 'she is retrograde, backward-thinking'. F**k off, I am a feminist'

Sat, 28 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Kirstie Allsopp is cross. Really cross. So cross, in fact, that her cheeks are tinted a bloody red and her voice crackles as if she might cry. "I'm sorry, we have talked about Fill Your House For Free..." she turns to the press officer overseeing the launch of the new show she is supposed to be promoting, before turning back to me. "But the thing is, I've got to be honest. I'm fucking angry. More angry than I have been in the entire time I've had this job and this public profile, because there are women out there who are writing – and they are women, they are not men – they are writing things about me that are vile, derogatory and deeply, deeply personal and it's wrong, it's completely wrong. They are lying to the next generation of women and I don't understand why."

Ice Cube: Former NWA rapper on playing a cop, ignoring the FBI, and career advice for his son

Sat, 28 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

From "Fuck Tha Police" to playing a cop. How have your attitudes to the police changed since your NWA days?

Hannah Arterton steps out of sister Gemma's shadow with Walking on Sunshine starring role

Thu, 26 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Move over, the Cusacks, there's a new sister act in town. And between them they look to have the future of British musicals sewn up. This weekend Hannah Arterton makes her film debut in Walking on Sunshine, a sunny, 1980s-pop-soaked musical that is aiming to be this summer's Mamma Mia!. It will be followed in the autumn by Made in Dagenham, a big-budget West End show from the people behind Jerry Springer: The Opera and Enron, which will star Gemma Arterton.

John Swinney interview on Scottish independence: Can we go it alone and pay our way? Of course we can

Sun, 22 Jun 2014 22:40:15 +0100

In John Swinney’s office inside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh there is a piece of stained glass. It’s the saltire with the inscription: “Now is the day, now is the hour”. The words are from Robbie Burns, imagining Robert the Bruce’s eve-of-battle speech at Bannockburn in June 1314:

How We Met: Catherine Alliott & Sophie Kinsella - 'It must have been daunting having us old fogies all staring at her'

Sun, 22 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Sophie Kinsella, 44

Maggie Gyllenhaal: The actress on switching accents, Middle East politics and going blonde

Sun, 22 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

There are never many excellent projects Every year there are a few and you just hope you can be lucky enough to be involved in them. I feel like I've had maybe two or three projects in my life that have been extraordinary. And then other times you're just trying to find a way through something that's slightly less than extraordinary… But that's OK. That's how we all live!

Phil Collins: The King Lear of pop music

Fri, 20 Jun 2014 20:51:03 +0100

The music world was startled by two pieces of news this week. First, that Phil Collins, the drummer-superstar, had died. A convincing-sounding Facebook page “RIP Phil Collins” attracted a million likes, until, on Wednesday, it was declared a hoax. The other news was almost as startling: “Rock band Genesis are to reunite for the first time in nearly 40 years”, under a picture of the band members from the classic 1970 line-up posing together for the first time since 1998, in their bald and grizzled sixtysomething prime.

Lord Bilimoria: ‘There will be an Asian Prime Minister of this country in my lifetime’

Sun, 15 Jun 2014 23:29:07 +0100

If you founded a beer brand that was sold in 98.6 per cent of the Indian restaurants in Britain plus 4,000 pubs, exported to 45 countries, recorded a 20 per cent rise in sales this year compared with a year ago, netted you many millions of pounds, and earned you a peerage, you’d be feeling pretty content, wouldn’t you?

Dan Snow: The TV historian on Scottish nationalism and why getting drunk must be planned with military precision

Sun, 15 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

There's an extraordinary appetite for anniversaries The 70th anniversary of D-Day has had enormous interest and record audience interactions. I do a lot of history in the off years – when there's no Battle of Waterloo anniversary – and there's less interest. What is it about anniversaries that sharpens the mind? Perhaps it's how we mark our own [passing of the] years.

How We Met: Chas & Dave - 'I was surprised we weren't more successful more quickly'

Sun, 15 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Chas Hodges, 70

Painter Celia Paul: Lucian Freud's ex-lover tussles with ideas of uniqueness and identity

Sun, 15 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Celia Paul was four years old when her life was, in her own words, "blown apart". The fourth of five daughters, she was being raised in India where her father was a missionary; and in the aftermath of her younger sister's birth her parents decided to send her to join her older sisters at boarding school in the Ooty hills in Tamil Nadu. But the idea of separation from her adored mother, particularly in the wake of the birth of the new baby, left her devastated. "I decided to make myself into nothing," says Paul. She stopped eating, became very ill, was taken to hospital and diagnosed with leukaemia. But from then on, the wheels started to turn in a new way. Her parents decided their little girl would have a better chance of a cure in Britain. So, having been in India for 15 years, Paul's father gave up his job and the whole family relocated to London and an uncertain future.

Lily Cole: The British model and actress talks Picasso, Cambridge, and revolution

Sat, 14 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Long day?

Stella Creasy: Could the Wonga-baiting, indie-loving MP tweet her way to No 10?

Sat, 14 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

It's just before midday on a spring Saturday in Walthamstow, north-east London, and the only indication of what's about to hit Cedars Avenue is an agitated MP wearing a striped sash and a rucksack.

How does Tom Wilkinson - star of The Patriot, Valkyrie and Belle - maintain a low profile?

Sat, 14 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Few actors were put on this earth to stand, six feet tall, in a periwig, a white stock, a long and straining blue satin waistcoat and a belligerent expression, and say the words "Do you have in mind my position?" convincingly, but Tom Wilkinson is one of them.

Melvyn Bragg: A Northern hero in our time

Fri, 13 Jun 2014 17:38:18 +0100

The first time I met Melvyn Bragg I was crushed. I thought, hoped, we would get on famously.

Rod Liddle gives his critics plenty of reasons to dislike him - but why does he seem to loathe himself so much?

Thu, 12 Jun 2014 21:15:00 +0100

In 2004, at the height of the media maelstrom that followed Rod Liddle's decision to leave his wife on their honeymoon to be with a woman half his age, a tabloid newspaper rang the doorbell of the flat where the new couple were hiding out.

Vivienne Westwood on fashion and fracking: ‘Who are the people who run the world? I’ll tell you...’

Sun, 08 Jun 2014 22:07:06 +0100

With a surname like mine I’m used to people getting it wrong. I’ve had Blackshaw, Blackman, Blacksmith, even Whitehurst. But never Blacklist. “This is Chris Blacklist,” says Vivienne Westwood to a colleague. I have two goes at telling her that’s not so, then give up.

How We Met: Kieran Evans & Huw Stephens - 'It was a euphoric moment seeing him punching the air with delight to Design for Life'

Sun, 08 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Kieran Evans, 44

Ben Saunders has trekked to both North and South Poles - but what does he do on his summer holiday?

Sun, 08 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

The sun is shining, Britain is enjoying the first flush of summer; here, in a west London hotel, the flowers are in full bloom. Everything is perfect, except the bloke in front of me gives the impression of wishing he was somewhere else. Not because we've fallen out, you understand, but because his spiritual home is probably far away, on a polar ice cap – which one, North or South, does not really matter, either will do.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: The British model on Mad Max, visiting Cambodia for Unicef, and why breakfast has to be green

Sat, 07 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

What are you looking at?

Nigel Evans interview: ‘Even those accused of heinous crimes need trauma counselling’

Sun, 01 Jun 2014 21:03:04 +0100

On the last day of his trial, Nigel Evans returned to Preston Crown Court from a lunch break to be told that the jury had finished deliberating and were ready to deliver a verdict.

Joshua Ferris: The writer on hard work, an obsessive love of sports - and failing to keep up with technology

Sun, 01 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

I have a strange relationship with technology I live a pretty analogue life. Ten years ago I felt like I was cutting-edge because I checked my emails, but now technology has completely overtaken me.

How We Met: Tim Booth & Gordon Strachan - 'You're not turning up in one of those dresses you wear on the cover of the album are you?'

Sun, 01 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Tim Booth, 54

Hugh Dennis: The 'Outnumbered' star on life as a school swot, being mistaken for a flasher, and parenting lessons from his fictional family

Sat, 31 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

What are you up to at the moment?

Marina Abramović: The grandmother of performance art on her 'brand', growing up behind the Iron Curtain, and protégé Lady Gaga

Sat, 31 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Meeting anyone famous is nerve-racking. Greeting someone who has got naked, cut, burnt, stabbed, obsessively scrubbed bones and in one case almost died when a performance went wrong, is intimidating. So it is with some trepidation that I go to meet the performance artist Marina Abramović at her office/studio in downtown New York. The last time we met was in 2011, shortly after her triumphant show which attracted more than 850,000 visitors to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Pharrell Williams - profile: Happiness is his truth

Fri, 30 May 2014 17:29:55 +0100

It was Beyoncé who really nailed the appeal of Pharrell Williams. “He was the person who made it cool to just be you,” she said of the musician who has emerged from the macho and unforgiving world of hip-hop to charm the world. He is slightly built and always ready to express humility; his message has been that it’s all right to be different. Not for him the baggy jeans and oversize sports jersey uniform of the street – his style is personal, recently characterised by a bucket of a Vivienne Westwood hat and some sparkling sneakers that are his concession to bling.

The Jonathan Dimbleby doctrine: You don’t beat cancer by not talking about it

Mon, 26 May 2014 22:19:19 +0100

Britain in 1965 was not a country that talked about cancer. Strange as it may seem in 2014, all the more so  after the tragic death of Stephen Sutton – the teenager who made no bones about his terminal condition, spoke frankly about it on social media and inspired the country to give millions to charity – the disease was once of those things that was kept behind closed doors; muttered about in hushed euphemisms and rarely mentioned publicly.

Willie Walsh interview: Gatwick or Heathrow? It’s just no contest, says IAG boss

Sun, 25 May 2014 19:31:52 +0100

Before we sit in a meeting room, Willie Walsh wants to show me something. “Come in here,” he says, opening a door, “look at this.”

How We Met: Jane Horrocks & John Gordon Sinclair - 'I think she has a mild form of OCD'

Sun, 25 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Jane Horrocks, 50

Johnny Depp and me: Vanessa Paradis on acting, gigging and life after a break up

Sun, 25 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Vanessa Paradis is juggling. There are the two home lives, one in Paris and one in Los Angeles. There's the shared childcare – she and Johnny Depp, from whom she split in 2012 after 14 years together, divide custody of their children, Lily-Rose, 15 this month, and Jack, 12, and her life is a constant blur of transatlantic shuttling. There are the cigarette papers and pouch of tobacco she's currently balancing in her lap as she attempts to build a cigarette.

Justine Roberts: The Mumsnet founder on football, families, and - of course - penis beakers

Sun, 25 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

I never thought mumsnet would become this big

David Arnold: The Hollywood composer on the scores that came to him in dreams, Puff Daddy, and why an MP3 is no match for a live orchestra

Sat, 24 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

You've got a live performance of your film scores coming up. Is there a wider move towards the 'experiential'?

Judge William Sheffield has worked with Steven Spielberg, advised Indira Gandhi, and - best of all - invented the now-legendary banana slicer

Thu, 22 May 2014 21:00:00 +0100

Judge William "Banana Bill" Sheffield has never shied away from his ambitions. After graduating from California State University, Long Beach, with a degree in philosophy, he worked with former classmate Steven Spielberg on a year-long film project, but just didn't see promise in Hollywood.

Phil Shiner: ‘I will not rest until I know how many Iraqis died in British custody’

Sun, 18 May 2014 21:59:58 +0100

Hardly a day goes by, says Phil Shiner, without him or someone who works for him receiving abuse or worse.

How We Met: Professor Brian Cox & Professor Jeff Forshaw - 'We argue all the time'

Sun, 18 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Professor Brian Cox OBE, 46

Channel 4 newsreader Cathy Newman doesn't just read the news - she makes it

Sun, 18 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Early last year, Cathy Newman was standing at the bar of a London club popular with media people when she felt a man's hand resting on top of her own. To her dismay, the unwanted hand then began moving up her arm. She was being stroked by a total stranger.

Tamsin Greig: The actor on finding her funny bone, the homing instinct of Archers' fans, and why she'll never swap London for LA

Sat, 17 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

You've had a long working relationship with Stephen Mangan. Is there a particular creative synergy there?

Robert B Weide is a US TV comedy legend. Now he's over here (just don't mention Woody Allen)

Sat, 17 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

For Robert B Weide, everything should be perfect. In his long and distinguished career, he has won three Emmy awards. He has made acclaimed documentaries about WC Fields, Lenny Bruce and the Marx Brothers. He has directed Hollywood movies and collaborated with Kurt Vonnegut. With his friend Larry David, he has produced and directed dozens of episodes of one of the most acclaimed American TV comedies of the past 20 years, Curb Your Enthusiasm.

How We Met: Rodrigo Sanchez & Gabriela Quintero

Mon, 12 May 2014 12:44:18 +0100

Rodrigo Sanchez, 40

After forming the heavy-metal band Tierra Acida with his brother in the early 1990s, Sanchez performed in Mexico City for several years, along with long-time girlfriend Gabriela Quintero, before both left the band in 1997. Moving to Dublin, the pair built a following as Rodrigo y Gabriela, a rhythmic acoustic guitar duo. He lives in Barcelona

Dr Helen Czerski: The TV physicist on inhuman noises, being all at sea and turning raisins into lava lamps

Mon, 12 May 2014 12:28:20 +0100

Being called the female Brian Cox is a double-edged sword

On the one hand Brian is a fantastic communicator of science and being compared to him [after appearing on BBC series such as Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey] is a compliment. But I don't see why a female physicist should be defined as some version of a male, rather than just an individual in their own right, and Brian's wife [the TV presenter Gia Milinovich] agrees with me on that!

General Sir Mike Jackson: ‘It’s vital we never say to an old soldier... we cannot help you’

Sun, 11 May 2014 21:19:50 +0100

When I meet General Sir Mike Jackson, the first thing I do is to apologise.

Vicky Pryce 12 months on: 'I don't hold grudges'

Sun, 11 May 2014 18:56:04 +0100

There are parts of London that feel protected from the chaos and confusion that otherwise marks the capital, with its crowds and shops and traffic jams backing up at red lights.

Liz Nicholl: No time (or money) for losers, however plucky they may be

Sun, 11 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Two figures hit you between the eyes when you enter the reception area of UK Sport's airy headquarters in London's Bloomsbury: 65 and 120. Posted prominently on the wall, they indicate the record number of medals won by Team GB respectively in the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Ajmal Faizy: The Taliban killed his father and scarred him for life. But now AJ is fighting back

Sun, 11 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

The scars around the eyebrows of young boxer Ajmal Faizy were not inflicted in any fight, but a grim legacy of a more terrifying encounter as a 13-year-old in his native Afghanistan when he was brutally beaten and tortured by the Taliban.

Laura Massaro: Britain's anonymous squash world champion recognised at last

Sun, 11 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

She may have appeared on Blue Peter, left a postman star-struck and taken longer than usual to leave her local David Lloyd fitness centre in the last two months, but Laura Massaro is still perhaps Britain's most unrecognisable world champion.

Sharon Stone interview: ‘I was a bookworm. I used my intelligence to be sexy’

Sat, 10 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

“Bare skin is beautiful, I don’t think God was in the clothing business,” chimes Sharon Stone as she explains why she thinks arguments criticising the amount of nudity on screen are invalid. “I don’t think that Hollywood is obsessed with sex. I think that it’s ridiculous to pretend that everyone isn’t obsessed with sex. Isn’t it every 20 seconds that we think about sex? If we didn’t have sex, there wouldn’t be a future. I think there is a reason that we are obsessed with sex, it’s creativity. It’s the way that God made it.”

Henry Louis Gates: The American literary critic on '12 Years a Slave', his Irish ancestry, and how he fell in love with Cheddar and chutney

Sat, 10 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

What did your role entail as historical consultant on 12 Years a Slave?

Novelist Irvine Welsh has swapped hard-living for Miami gyms and green tea

Sat, 10 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Don't get Irvine Welsh started on Scottish independence. Actually, do. His robust, sweary, soapbox views are as provocative and entertaining as the "Choose life" speech from the film of his book Trainspotting (even though he didn't write the screenplay). We'll come to the stuff – the puff – about his highly entertaining new novel in a minute.

Karen Blackett: Black, working class and successful

Sat, 10 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Karen Blackett's father warned her life would be tough.

Marouane Chamakh: The Eagle emerging from the shadows

Fri, 09 May 2014 23:06:19 +0100

Tony Pulis's Crystal Palace miracle has been made up of lots of little changes and improvements, none of them more impressive than those involving Marouane Chamakh.

Alan Parker: Will the Pfixer emerge victorious in the biggest proposed takeover in British corporate history?

Fri, 09 May 2014 21:07:55 +0100

During the Kraft bid for Cadbury in 2009, selected journalists were invited to meet Irene Rosenfeld, head of the US food and confectionery giant, at a discreet set of offices in London’s Lincoln’s Inn Fields. They were shepherded in to see Rosenfeld, who had never previously dealt with the British press. Doing the introductions and keeping a firm hold on the direction of the conversation was Alan Parker.

Kevin Costner interview: Dances with Hollywood

Fri, 09 May 2014 00:00:00 +0100

Almost a quarter of a century ago, Kevin Costner held his Oscar statuettes aloft, triumphant after winning Best Picture and Best Director for his epic Western, Dances with Wolves.

Exclusive: A year on, Sir Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy on dealing with death of 'Bart'

Wed, 07 May 2014 23:24:56 +0100

One has flown in from California, the other from China, united in friendship and grief, and as determined as they have been in the pursuit of gold to ensure that Friday plays another part in guaranteeing that their best friend's name – and impact – lives on.