Downton Abbey film: 14 things you need to know

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe cast of Downton Abbey discuss going from the small to the big screen It’s been talked about for years and now, finally, Julian Fellowes’ hit ITV period drama is transferring to the big screen. All your favourite characters have returned – get ready for those famous Dame Maggie one-liners – along with a few high-profile new faces, including Imelda Staunton and Killing Eve’s David Haig. The film centres around a visit from the King and Queen, which has got both the Downton household and the village all aflutter. Reviews have been warm if a little underwhelming, with many publications, including The Telegraph, The Sun, The Guardian and the Daily Mail, giving …

An accidental celebrity 6,000 miles from home

Growing up in the middle-class town of Cheltenham in the English Cotswolds, Dan’s upbringing was nothing out of the ordinary. Image copyright Alex Duncan Image caption Dan on a holiday to Magaluf in 2007 In 2008, Dan had saved enough money for a backpacking trip to South-East Asia with some friends, including myself. Although he came back to the UK after just a couple of months, he decided to return to the region later that year. Little did he know that the decision to return would change his life forever. Dan wound up on the tiny island of Pulau Kapas on Malaysia’s east coast. Rather than just spending his time travelling with Western backpackers, Dan decided to immerse himself among …

An ode to our trees, marking 100 years of conservation

Forests have played an important role in our cultural imagination – as well as historically and industrially, says the writer and artist. “They’re just very intertwined with our British identity, which I love.” Image copyright John Hathaway Image caption Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire Commissioned by the Forestry Commission in its centenary year to tell the story of the nation’s forests, she has set out to write a literary ballad with a twist, inspired by her love of the romantic poets and their connection with nature. “I wanted to tell a story with the forest as the protagonist of these narratives, so that people can start to understand that we are all part of nature and that the forest and the wildlife …

Punk and politics collide on Mercury list

Listen to a playlist of the nominees on BBC Sounds Wolf Alice win the 2018 Mercury Prize They’ve championed several guitar bands on a strong, urgent shortlist – from Dublin punk newcomers Fontaines DC to festival headliners Foals; while British rap is represented by Little Simz, Dave and BBC Sound of 2019 runner-up slowthai. Meanwhile singer-songwriter Anna Calvi, whose album Hunter interrogates the constrictions of gender stereotypes, has now been shortlisted for each of her first three albums, equalling a record set by Coldplay. And The 1975 could become the first band since Arctic Monkeys in 2007 to win the Mercury Prize and be named best album at the Brit Awards. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMercury …

England’s Big Picture: Sharing images of the nation

Each day we feature an interesting photograph shared with us from across England. The picture below is from Sophie Bond of Tewkesbury whose dog Alfie timed his photobomb paw-fectly. This man photobombed his wife 11 years before he met her Pink rainbows spotted over England Squirrel joins couple for romantic moment Seagull’s pasty swoop caught on camera Scroll down to see more readers’ pictures from around England this week. Image copyright Arthur Weaver Image caption This photograph was taken by Arthur Weaver in Christchurch, Dorset Image copyright Frank Samet Image caption This photograph was taken by Frank Samet at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. Frank says: “What caught my attention was the open rear door seen through the open front door …