• Python at 50: Silly Walks and Holy Grails, review – half a century of fish-slapping and 'nudge-nudge'
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Python at 50: Silly Walks and Holy Grails, review – half a century of fish-slapping and 'nudge-nudge'

    There were some wonderfully funny moments in Python at 50: Silly Walks and Holy Grails (BBC Two, Saturday). Such as Michael Palin, Graham Chapman and Terry Jones making life impossible for a local TV news reporter during a Monty Python shoot in remotest mid-Seventies Yorkshire, or John Cleese delightedly sharing with fellow Pythons his tax-deductible new hair implants, or Terry Gilliam wearing the briefest (and possibly snuggest) cut-offs ever worn by a working film director, on the set of The Life of Brian in Tunisia.

  • Peaky Blinders episode 3 review and series recap: a sectarian showdown is on its way
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Peaky Blinders episode 3 review and series recap: a sectarian showdown is on its way

    Fascists with friends in high places. Glaswegians with grudges. Wives waving divorce papers. We’ve already reached the midway point of the fifth series and the Peaky Blinders are besieged from all sides.  Here are all the talking points from the plot-thickening third episode…

  • From Kes to Clockwork Orange, the 20 best British films
    Movies
    The Independent

    From Kes to Clockwork Orange, the 20 best British films

    On 1 September 1949, Carol Reed’s celebrated thriller The Third Man was released. It was an immediate hit and in the ensuing seven decades, The Third Man’s popularity has remained constant, with frequent appearances on TV and in the cinema, as well as a beautiful restoration in 2015.The film has also featured regularly in lists of the greatest films of all time, and many critics treasure it. It’s been 20 years now since the BFI placed The Third Man at the top of their own list of greatest British films, so perhaps it’s time for a reappraisal of the finest examples of British cinema.

  • Sanditon, episode 1, review: Jane Austen with lashings of sun, sand and sex - but will viewers crave something more?
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Sanditon, episode 1, review: Jane Austen with lashings of sun, sand and sex - but will viewers crave something more?

    The new Andrew Davies adaptation of Sanditon on ITV on Sunday evening unveiled one of Jane Austen’s lesser-known works as an entertaining romp set in an England undergoing unprecedented social change – with lashings of sun, sand, sex and bare-bottomed sea bathing.

  • Dad’s Army, The Lost Episodes, review: a valiant labour of love
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Dad’s Army, The Lost Episodes, review: a valiant labour of love

    News reports last week that a generation of viewers has taken refuge in watching endless reruns of Friends and the US version of The Office (according to data on Netflix’s most-watched shows) have mostly ignored one salient fact: the generation before has been doing that for years in Britain. They just endlessly watch repeats of Dad’s Army.

  • No Time To Die: everything we know about Bond 25
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    No Time To Die: everything we know about Bond 25

    After months of mystery, plans for the 25th James Bond film seem to be taking shape. We have a star, a director and even a title. We’re beginning to get a sense of the film that has, until now, felt as elusive as its eponymous hero.

  • Dad's Army: The Lost Episodes - what to expect from the re-created comedy classics
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Dad's Army: The Lost Episodes - what to expect from the re-created comedy classics

    Close your eyes and you might just be back in Walmington-on-Sea in the early 1940’s. Or at least in a living room in the late 1960’s. From whatever distance you view your nostalgia for the Second World War as seen through the lens of classic sitcom Dad’s Army, the  ‘new’ episodes re-created from three missing shows, will hit your nostalgia buttons bang in the middle.

  • 30 best children’s books: From Artemis Fowl to Harry Potter
    Style
    The Independent

    30 best children’s books: From Artemis Fowl to Harry Potter

    We all have cherished memories of the books we read and shared as children. Big friendly giants, honey-loving bears, hungry caterpillars, iron men: these figures populate the vivid imaginary landscapes of our childhoods. Everybody will remember the book that made them laugh and cry, the one that they turn to again and again. Like totems, we pass them on to our own children, each book a spell in itself.But there isn’t room in this list for everything. I’m sure that every single reader will gasp at omissions and query the order. There are many personal favourites that I’ve left out, and many more 20th- and 21st-century writers whom I would have liked to include. This isn’t intended as a definitive ranking; but as an overview, and a guide. You’ll recognise many; a few perhaps will be not so well known, but deserve more attention. I’ve considered influence as well as originality; but crucially, all of the books here have stood the tests of time, taste and, most importantly, readers. Each one, whenever it was published, can be read and enjoyed by a child today as much as it was by the children of the past.I hope too that this will encourage many adult readers to turn back to their childhood shelves, take up that long-forgotten gem, and find wonder and magic once more. So – are you sitting comfortably? Then let us begin.1\. The Alice books by Lewis Carroll (19th century)Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass, and what Alice Found There, are an extraordinary brace of books, written by the mathematician Charles Dodgson, under his pseudonym Lewis Carroll. He employed logic, humour and inventive fantasy, fashioning the most powerful and unusual works in children’s literature. Some have tried to work out why a raven is like a writing desk. But most will be content to be drawn away into enchantment.2\. Kinder- und Hausmarchen (‘Nursery and Household Tales’) by The Brothers Grimm (19th century)Exceptionally influential, this collection of more than 200 tales underwent many editions in the Grimms’ lifetime. Though the seamier elements were altered for a prudish bourgeois audience, the fairy tales retain a depth that resonates with children and adults alike. We all know The Frog Prince and Hansel and Gretel; but have you read Hans my Hedgehog, about a half-boy, half-hedgehog? 3\. Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen (19th century)A strange and shy man, Hans Christian Andersen produced some of the most beautiful and reverberant literary fairy tales in the world, about loss, love and longing. Gerda’s search for her brother Kay in The Snow Queen; the little mermaid’s mute passion for her prince; gorgeously written, the stories offer solace and enchantment. 4\. The One Thousand and One Nights by Anon. (Folk tales)This scintillating series, which Scheherazade spins to her royal husband every night so that he spares her life to hear their conclusion, first came to Europe in 1704 in a French text that also contained Aladdin, Ali Baba and Sinbad the Sailor. Elemental, opulent and wondrous, the stories are full of passion and revenges, and remain enormously influential.5\. Peter and Wendy by J M Barrie (1911)Some would argue that this novelised form of the play Peter Pan is not a children’s book, being instead complicit with an ironic, adult viewpoint. However, this, and all its variants, are enjoyed immensely by children. There is the theme-park world of Neverland: the sense of unbounded imagination, and the dizzying allure of flight and magic.6\. The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come by John Bunyan (1678)One of the first books enthusiastically taken up by children, this is now largely neglected, even by adults and scholars. Unjustly so, as its allegorical power and beauty are unsurpassed. Its humour and colloquial nature mean it is still accessible. From the Slough of Despond to the Celestial City, it brims with memorable places and people. 7\. The Narnia series by CS Lewis (mid-20th century)The best children’s books have a way of altering the universe around them. Everyone can remember their first encounter with Narnia and then trying to get through the back of the wardrobe afterwards into the enticing other world. Lewis’s stroke of genius, of course, was making the animals talk; the knightly adventures of the children are gripping.8\. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (1995)Philip Pullman’s daemons, in his lavishly-imagined alternative world run by a sinister religious organisation, are among the most enduring creations of children’s literature. His themes are cosmic and vast, with a dizzying sense of possibility. His story is spellbinding, and, in Lyra Belacqua, he made a heroine at once appealing, spiky and enduring. 9\. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (1937)In The Hobbit, an odder book than it at first appears, the tiny hairy-footed Bilbo Baggins goes on a journey with some dwarves, and is actually rewarded for being a thief. The charm of the hobbits’ world is matched by the excitement of the adventures Bilbo finds himself entangled in and many readers will be led on to its vast sequel, The Lord of the Rings. 10\. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)There is some debate as to whether The Wind in the Willows is a children’s book, or whether it’s really a book to lift up the spirits of down-trodden city clerks. Either way, the gentle adventures of Mole and Ratty, and Toad’s ridiculous shenanigans, express a lyrical love of the pleasures of rural life.11\. The Once and Future King by TH White (1958)Captivating, wise, witty, this collection of three earlier books treats the Matter of Britain. TH White’s masterstroke was to imagine the young king Arthur as Wart, an ordinary boy thrust into extraordinary situations, and his Merlin as a kindly, forgetful old man (viz. Dumbledore). Neglected in recent years, White deserves a place in the limelight once more.12\. Five Children and It by E Nesbit (1902)A representative from the first Golden Age of children’s fiction in the early 20th century. Nesbit’s grumpy, vain wish-granting Psammead (or “sand fairy”), an immortal who used to eat pterodactyl for breakfast, offers adventure in a world without oppressive evil. The brothers and sisters find that magic doesn’t always offer a solution.13\. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (1894)Raised by wolves, Mowgli must face the terrible tiger Shere Khan, with the help of Baloo, a “sleepy brown bear”, and Bagheera, a panther. Full of invention and adventure, the stories were an immediate hit, the behaviour of the animals believable and, paradoxically, human. Their wildness and subtleties have become thoroughly imbued into the popular imagination.14\. Matilda by Roald Dahl (1988)I’m willing to bet that after reading this, many children stared at pencils, hoping they might be able to move them with their mind alone. Dahl’s exuberant imagination is on full display in this emotionally weighty story about a little girl’s fight for love and escape. Miss Trunchbull, the vicious headmistress, is one of literature’s great villains.15\. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963)A picture book that reveals more about itself each time it’s read. Note how the pictures expand as Max’s imaginative world grows; how the text, poetic and spare, interacts with the visuals; how Max, through his journey into the interior of his self, meets and conquers his anger at his mother. The drawings are lovely, too.16\. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (1936)What at first seems to be a delightful story about a little bull who hates fighting becomes a potent fable about what’s expected of boys. Rejecting masculine violence, Ferdinand prefers just to sit under a cork tree. The illustrations of Spanish matadors, picadors and their arenas are astoundingly evocative. 17\. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (1962)This has all the hallmarks of classic children’s literature: missing parents, a usurping adult, terrible injustices and the romance of winter and wolves. Set in an alternative historical era, where James III rules, little Bonnie’s fortune is snatched by a sinister governess. Children will cheer when she gets her comeuppance.18\. The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin (1968)The recent death of Ursula Le Guin, aged 88, has brought renewed attention to her works. Ged, a dark-skinned boy from the goat herding island of Gont, demonstrates exceptional powers and is sent to learn how to be a wizard. His resulting quest is epic, with a depth and strangeness that lasts.19\. Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (1958)Considered by many to be one of children’s literature’s most outstanding examples. Tom is packed away to stay with his aunt and uncle: but when the clock strikes thirteen, he finds a gorgeous garden, and in it a little girl called Hatty who seems to come from a different time. Emotionally rich, it will leave a lasting impression on any child. 20\. The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively (1973)Penelope Lively once said that “children need to sense that we live in a permanent world that reaches away behind and ahead of us”. Her writing encompasses a huge range, and this, her Carnegie-winning novel about a house beset by the spirit of a sorceror, is eerie, effective and involving.21\. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling (late 20th century)First published more than 20 years ago, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone blazed into the world’s consciousness like a bolt of lightning. Moving from the initial wonder and quirky charm of the first three books, the series took on a darker tone, resulting in an enthralling septet and a cultural phenomenon.22\. The Scarecrows by Robert Westall (1981)I’ve chosen The Scarecrows over The Machine Gunners, which is perhaps Westall’s better known book, as I think this has a quality of terror and an understanding of adolescence that is matchless. It focuses on a boy’s tortured relationship with his stepfather and the encroachment of a murder that happened many years before. Unforgettably spine-tingling, and profoundly affecting.23\. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (2001)A wondrously clever book that upturns children’s literature convention. Its hero, Artemis Fowl, is a 12-year-old boy who also happens to be a criminal mastermind. Containing such characters as a kleptomaniac, flatulent dwarf, and a centaur called Foaly who’s also a technical whizz, this is a hilarious delight. 24\. Down with Skool! A Guide to School Life for Tiny Pupils and their Parents by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle (1953)As any fule know, reading Molesworth is like being a member of a secret skool gang. Complemented by Ronald Searle’s satirical drawings of depressed, deluded schoolmasters and grubby, disobedient schoolboys, all the world’s vanity and hypocrisy is on display through Molesworth’s cynical, instantly likeable and badly spelled voice. A grate writer, indeed.25\. The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban (1967)A bittersweet and unusual tale, in which a clockwork mouse and his child are thrown out of a toy shop, and then must embark on a journey to find safety. Unlike the film Toy Story, in which the toys are complicit in their servitude, this allows discarded toys to find a world of their own, constructed according to their own terms. Full of striking imagery and exciting scenes. 26\. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (2001)Former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman’s novel described a world in which black Africans had enslaved white Europeans. Whites, or noughts, were economically impoverished, while the blacks, or crosses, were in power. An inter-racial love affair between two teens brings first passion and then tragedy. Powerful, provocative and original.27\. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (2015)The recent winner of the overall Costa Book Awards is a remarkable novel from a remarkable writer. Hardinge is a true original, her sentences poised and poetic, her alternative 19th-century world fully imagined, and her intelligent, enquiring female lead not simply a good role model but also a fine addition to literature.28\. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (2003)Quite simply, Cressida Cowell has an exceptional ability to give children what they like. Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a Viking who doesn’t fit in: gawky and geeky, his adventures with his hunting-dragon Toothless are madcap and marvellous. Give it to a child and see them become engrossed immediately. 29\. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (1902)Even Potter knew she was writing nostalgically about an imagined past, but who could not fail to love this slyly observed tale of a naughty rabbit? Potter’s arch, almost Austen-esque prose interacts seamlessly with her keenly observed studies of flora and fauna. Avoid the new film and stick to the original.30\. Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes (1857)This moving, charming and poignant tale of boarding school life is included partly for its own merits, but also as it was the first in the school story genre that spawned so many thousands of books, through Enid Blyton right up to JK Rowling. And, of course, the bully Flashman, without whom we wouldn’t have George MacDonald Fraser’s hilarious series detailing his further adventures.Philip Womack is the author of six critically acclaimed books for children, including The Liberators (2010), The Broken King (2014), and The Double Axe (2016). He teaches children’s literature, and children’s and young adult fiction at Royal Holloway, University of London, and is crowdfunding a novel on Unbound, The Arrow of Apollo, set in a legendary mythical past

  • Netflix movies: The 100 best films on Netflix UK, from Spartacus to Birdman
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Netflix movies: The 100 best films on Netflix UK, from Spartacus to Birdman

    Netflix has plenty of classic films in its catalogue – and in recent years, the streaming service has also produced some remarkably original films of its own, from the animal rights satire Okja to the Oscar-winning Roma. But for every award-winning drama, there are just as many trashy B-movies (such as the risible romance A Christmas Prince).

  • Gentleman Jack, episode 5, review: Suranne Jones shines as things get serious for Anne Lister
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Gentleman Jack, episode 5, review: Suranne Jones shines as things get serious for Anne Lister

    There was mid-series misery  for Gentleman Jack, as Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) was left broken-hearted and bloody-nosed.

  • What happened to Arya Stark in the Game of Thrones finale - and what's west of Westeros?
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    What happened to Arya Stark in the Game of Thrones finale - and what's west of Westeros?

    Through eight truly traumatic seasons of Westerosi warfare, no-one has had to adapt quite as fast or as frequently as Arya Stark.

  • Arya Stark's Kill List: who's still left for Needle in Game of Thrones season 8?
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Arya Stark's Kill List: who's still left for Needle in Game of Thrones season 8?

    Whilst some people count sheep to get themselves off to sleep, Arya Stark recites the names of all who have wronged her. The aim, in case you haven’t worked out already, is to quite literally strike those names off.

  • Direwolf theories: everything we know about Ghost and Nymeria in Game of Thrones
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Direwolf theories: everything we know about Ghost and Nymeria in Game of Thrones

    A long, long time ago (circa the very first episode of Game of Thrones) the Starks stumbled across an orphaned pack of puppy direwolves and took it upon themselves to look after the small survivors. One for each of the six Stark children.

  • Azor Ahai: who is the original Game of Thrones Prince that was Promised?
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Azor Ahai: who is the original Game of Thrones Prince that was Promised?

    Even if you’re the most casual, easily confused Game of Thrones fan in existence, you’ve probably grasped the basic thrust of the show’s plot by now. Previously, lots of people were warring over who should sit on the Iron Throne of Westeros. Now, most of the contenders are dead - save for one or two - and a bigger, scarier problem has emerged.

  • Bran Stark theories: What Bran's visions tell us about the ending of Game of Thrones
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Bran Stark theories: What Bran's visions tell us about the ending of Game of Thrones

    Of all the Game of Thrones storylines, Bran Stark’s has been the most sedentary – and that’s not just because he can’t actually walk. He has spent most of the show being dragged across an icy wasteland, hugging old trees. Sometimes, though, these mystical old roots have born fruitful visions that may well determine the outcome of the show

  • Strong, stubborn, and sweet on Brienne: will Game of Thrones give Tormund Giantsbane a happy ending in season 8?
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Strong, stubborn, and sweet on Brienne: will Game of Thrones give Tormund Giantsbane a happy ending in season 8?

    Tormund Giantsbane entered Game of Thrones in season three as a minor character, part of the wildling rabble who captured Jon Snow. Over time, though, the red-headed warrior has steadily worked his way into our affections with his bluff jibes and unrefined ways, injecting some much needed levity in the often dour plotline of Castle Black. It was only when faced with the prospect of Tormund's death, as an ice dragon descended on the wall in the finale of season seven, that fans realised just how fond they’d actually grown of him. 

  • Arya Stark's Kill List: who's left for Needle in Game of Thrones season 8?
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Arya Stark's Kill List: who's left for Needle in Game of Thrones season 8?

    Whilst some people count sheep to get themselves off to sleep, Arya Stark recites the names of all who have wronged her. The aim, in case you haven’t worked out already, is to quite literally strike those names off.

  • Arya Stark's Kill List: who's left for Needle in Game of Thrones season 8?
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Arya Stark's Kill List: who's left for Needle in Game of Thrones season 8?

    Whilst some people count sheep to get themselves off to sleep, Arya Stark recites the names of all who have wronged her. The aim, in case you haven’t worked out already, is to quite literally strike those names off.

  • Bran Stark theories: what Bran's visions mean for the ending of Game of Thrones season 8
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Bran Stark theories: what Bran's visions mean for the ending of Game of Thrones season 8

    Note: this piece contains multiple spoilers concerning the plot of Game of Thrones seasons 1-8

  • Line of Duty, series 5 episode 4, recap: suspicions about Hastings deepen – and a shocking death
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Line of Duty, series 5 episode 4, recap: suspicions about Hastings deepen – and a shocking death

    Phew. After another white-knuckle hour of shady dealings and shock deaths, here are all the talking points from an incendiary fourth episode…

  • Game of Thrones opening credits: how they’ve changed for season 8, and what they mean
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Game of Thrones opening credits: how they’ve changed for season 8, and what they mean

    Note: this piece contains multiple spoilers concerning the plot of Game of Thrones seasons 1-8 

  • Tyrion Lannister: what can we expect for the Game of Thrones character in season 8
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Tyrion Lannister: what can we expect for the Game of Thrones character in season 8

    For an irreverent antagonist with a penchant for prostitutes, Tyrion Lannister really stole our hearts.

  • Who are Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark? Jon Snow's real parents finally revealed
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Who are Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark? Jon Snow's real parents finally revealed

    We found out at the end of the season 7 that Jon Snow was not the illegitimate child of Ned Stark and “Some Bint” (Catelyn Stark’s own words, there) but instead Aegon Targaryen, the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

  • Game of Thrones Night King theories: could there be a devastating ending for the Starks in season 8?
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Game of Thrones Night King theories: could there be a devastating ending for the Starks in season 8?

    In Beyond The Wall, the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones season 7, viewers were given an exciting new revelation about the deadly White Walkers. Kill one of the icy villains, it transpired, and all of the wights created by that particular Walker will instantly drop dead. (Well, permanently dead.)

  • Line of Duty, series 5 episode 3 recap: what the H is going on with Hastings and Corbett?
    Movies
    The Telegraph

    Line of Duty, series 5 episode 3 recap: what the H is going on with Hastings and Corbett?

    Another armed raid, hotel trysts, hostages taken – and did we see the unmasking of corrupt kingpin “H”? Here are all the talking points from a breathlessly eventful third episode…