Helen mirren

Perfection: The Duke reviewed

The Duke is an old-fashioned British comedy caper that is plainly lovely and a joy. Based on a true story, it’s an account of the 1961 theft of a Goya painting from the National Gallery, stars Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren, and is directed by Roger Michell (of Notting Hill fame). Many films have all their ducks in a row yet are somehow disappointing, but this is perfect, capturing the spirit and joie de vivre of the old Ealing comedies. I could probably watch it all day every day for the rest of my life. Broadbent plays Kempton Bunton, a 57-year-old, working-class Newcastle taxi driver — although he has trouble

My thoughts on Helen Mirren’s casting

On Monday, I had a whinge-walk with Lizzie, my friend of 47 years. We met at breathing classes for our first babies and we gave birth on the same day in the now defunct Avenue Clinic in St John’s Wood. Our children grew up joined at the hip. Today my daughter Amy is a playwright in NW3 and Lizzie’s is a Buddhist monk in Nepal. Amy is with me at least twice a week, though her mother’s ability to make off-the-cuff remarks which generate front-page headlines makes her wish she was the one in a Nepalese monastery. I faced my daughter’s embarrassment and near cultural cancellation last week after I