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The Remains Of King Richard III Are Finally Laid To Rest

Benedict Cumberbatch reads at his distant relation Richard III’s burial (despite saying he’s not ‘part of the landed gentry’)

26 March 2015 15:43

Benedict Cumberbatch once complained that ‘posh-bashing’ had got so bad in Britain that he was contemplating a move to America. Cumberbatch, who attended Harrow, moaned that people showed prejudice towards his background despite the fact… Continue reading


Today’s reburial wasn’t about Richard III. It was about Benedict Cumberbatch

26 March 2015 15:07

We should have known it. Today’s reburial isn’t about Richard III. It’s about Benedict Cumberbatch. Isn’t everything these days, somehow about Benedict Cumberbatch? I have a theory that he’s the… Continue reading

'Isis' the labrador on Downton Abbey, on far left (Photo: Giles Keyte/ITV)

Isis-gate: Why dogs are out at Downton

24 March 2015 15:50

It’s been a bad month for dogs, first there were reports of the fatal poisoning of a prize-winning Crufts dog, and now there will be no canine lead in the… Continue reading


George Gissing: the last great Victorian novelist?

23 March 2015 12:26

George Gissing’s The Whirlpool was originally published in 1897. In this shortened version of the foreword to the new Penguin Classics edition, D.J. Taylor argues that its author is ‘the last great… Continue reading


Spectator competition: female chauvinist pigs on men behaving badly (plus: when Damon Runyon met John Bunyan…)

21 March 2015 9:30

There are man-haters everywhere, it seems, from children’s telly to high culture. Charges of sexism have been levelled against the creators of the Daddy Pig character in Peppa Pig —… Continue reading

Aidan Gillen as Littlefinger and Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark

Game of Thrones premiere at the Tower of London, review: the pride before the fall

19 March 2015 12:12

Television is in a golden age. Or at least so we are told. If you weren’t able to tell from the quality of the programming, the decadence of the parties… Continue reading

Hilary Mantel is the author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies

Wolf Hall gets an American makeover

18 March 2015 13:36

Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall documents the rise of Thomas Cromwell, one of history’s most famous anti-heroes. Chronicling Henry VIII’s ill-fated marriage to Anne Boleyn, it is just one of many accounts of life in Tudor times under Henry… Continue reading


Mark Gatiss: I based Sherlock’s Mycroft on Peter Mandelson

17 March 2015 10:03

In the BBC’s Sherlock, Mark Gatiss plays Sherlock Holmes’s sly older brother Mycroft. Now the actor has revealed in an interview with the Radio Times that the person who inspired… Continue reading

United for the first time in history: the original surviving Magna Carta manuscripts at the British Library. Photo: Clare Kendall/British Library

‘Magna Carta Unification Event’ at the British Library: a magna balls-up

16 March 2015 17:38

Early last month I tripped on up to the British Library for the ‘Magna Carta Unification Event’. Manuscripts had been choppered in from Salisbury, Lincoln, and indeed (x2) from the British Library’s… Continue reading

Investigation In Jimmy Savile Allegations Continues

What’s the point of the BBC if we no longer share common cultural values?

16 March 2015 16:24

Is privatising BBC3 as bad as Isis’s destruction of Nineveh? That was the wonderfully trolling headline on a Stewart Lee piece in the Guardian over the weekend. He was making the point… Continue reading

Stefano Gabbana (L) and Domenico Dolce attend a private dinner celebrating the Victoria and Albert Museum's new exhibition 'The Glamour Of Italian Fashion 1945 - 2014' at Victoria and Albert Museum on April 1, 2014 in London, England.

I’d love to buy Dolce and Gabbana just to spite Elton John

15 March 2015 23:03

Thank God for Dolce and Gabbana. Where other fashion designers play with their image like Mr Benn, the children’s character who adopts a different persona every time he changes his… Continue reading

Sanna, the #MelFest host

Eurovision in sign language

15 March 2015 9:18

I was at the hall of Swedish Church in Marylebone last night to watch the final of Melody Festival – the bar was selling dill crisps, pear cider and plenty… Continue reading

Alan Bennett says England excels at hypocrisy

Alan Bennett shows how hypocrisy is a National issue

11 March 2015 10:53

Alan Bennett announced on Radio 4 last week that ‘hypocrisy’ is the defining characteristic of the English. ‘In England, what we do best is lip service,’ he sighed, before going… Continue reading

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Spectator competition: lines on Heaven and Hell (plus: compose a lament for a defunct newspaper)

7 March 2015 9:30

Nietzsche famously said that in Heaven ‘all the interesting people are missing’. To judge by the entries for the latest competition — which asked you to describe your idea of… Continue reading

Still from Björk's Black Lake at MoMA, New York. Photo: MoMA/ Wellhart/ One Little Indian

MoMA’s new Björk exhibition cramps the singer’s style

6 March 2015 13:46

Was intimacy the goal of Björk at MoMA? Co-curated by the Icelandic musician herself and Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA chief curator at large, the exhibition allows for a closer look at… Continue reading

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Hans Haacke's Gift Horse - and Boris. Photo: Ray Tang/REX

Hans Haacke’s Gift Horse, Fourth Plinth, review: cringe-worthy – but at least it’s not David Shrigley

5 March 2015 15:01

There is good art, there is mediocre art and there is bad art. In the same ratio – about 3:65:32 – there is good political art, mediocre political art and… Continue reading

Image: Getty

Jeffrey Archer: Bollywood plagiarised my books

4 March 2015 15:56

Jeffrey Archer is none too impressed with the Bollywood film industry. In an interview with India’s DNA Newspaper, he said that several Bollywood films have ripped off his books without his permission.… Continue reading


Rufus Sewell’s performance in Closer embarrasses audience members

4 March 2015 12:02

Rufus Sewell’s turn in Josie Rourke’s production of Patrick Marber’s Closer at the Donmar Warehouse has won rave reviews. Still, the A Knight’s Tale actor confides to Mr S that not… Continue reading

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Melody Festival’s ‘Heroes’ shows why Sweden rules the pop world

1 March 2015 15:12

The world’s most-watched cultural event is still two months away, but for Eurovision affectionados the entertainment has started already. Britain and Sweden are the continent’s two greatest exporters of pop music, but… Continue reading

Circa 1670, English diarist and reformer of the navy, Samuel Pepys (1633 - 1703). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Spectator competition: a Pepys’-eye view of the 21st century (plus: female chauvinist authors)

28 February 2015 12:19

It was Samuel Pepys’s birthday this week and for the latest competition you were invited to imagine him let loose on the streets of 21st-century London and to provide a… Continue reading

A glimpse at the new murals at Tottenham Court Road tube station

Why has TfL vandalised the Eduardo Paolozzi murals at Tottenham Court Road?

27 February 2015 17:03

Last weekend I used the Northern Line at Tottenham Court Road station for the first time since it reopened. Oxford Street is not my favourite place in London but perversely for… Continue reading

Isis fighters destroy ancient artefacts at Mosul museum

For modern-day Assyrians their present is under attack from Isis, as is their past

27 February 2015 14:40

The historian Tom Holland tweeted this morning: ‘What ‪#ISIS are doing to the people & culture of ‪#Assyria is worthy of the Nazis. None of us can say we didn’t… Continue reading


Madonna fell off the stage at the Brit Awards and we laughed because we’re sadistic

26 February 2015 15:19

Go on, admit it, you laughed, didn’t you? When Madonna was yanked off the stage by a dancer pulling her cloak during her finale performance at the Brit Awards, you… Continue reading

Galanthus plicatus 'Golden Fleece'

Single snowdrop sells for £1,390: welcome to galanthomania

26 February 2015 13:41

Have you heard of galanthomania? It’s an affliction that can rob people of their money – and, it seems, their senses. They’re so desperate to get hold of some small… Continue reading

Netflix's "House Of Cards" Washington DC Screening

House of Cards creator reveals rift with BBC over ‘insensitive’ Margaret Thatcher plot

25 February 2015 8:30

The third series of the American adaptation of House of Cards, which stars Kevin Spacey, will see the programme go in a different direction to the political trilogy on which… Continue reading