Actress Harriet Walter, who has been made a dame in the New Year Honours, has enjoyed a distinguished career on stage and screen spanning three decades.
Dame Harriet, the niece of Sir Christopher Lee, trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art before beginning a long association with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Her many shows with the RSC – which made her an associate artist in 1987 – include Nicholas Nickleby, The Duchess of Malfi and Macbeth, alongside Sir Antony Sher.
In 1989 she received a Laurence Olivier theatre award for her performances in Twelfth Night and Three Sisters.
Her film work includes appearances in the Oscar-winning films Sense and Sensibility, Atonement and Babel.
On the small screen, Dame Harriet, who turned 60 in September 2010, has been seen in such BBC dramas as Little Dorrit, Ballet Shoes, The Men's Room and Unfinished Business.
Last summer she enjoyed rave reviews and a Tony award nomination while playing the role of Elizabeth I in the play Mary Stuart on Broadway.
Appointed a CBE in 1999, she also writes about the theatre, contributes to academic journals and is the author of Other People's Shoes, a guide for budding actors.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.