Robin Williams as Tom Keating in Dead Poets Society
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Remembering Robin Williams (1951-2014)

The American actor and comedian has been found dead at his home in California, aged 63.

Robin Williams, the American comedian and actor has died of suspected suicide, aged 63. His career took off in the 1970s with the TV comedy Mork & Mindy and he was elevated to Hollywood A-list with leading big-screen roles in Good Morning Vietnam (1987), for which he won the Golden Globe for best actor, his Oscar-nominated role in Dead Poets Society (1989), Awakenings (1990) and the Golden-Globe-winning The Fisher King (1991) – though to those of a certain vintage he will forever be remembered for his role as the cross-dressing husband/nanny in Mrs Doubtfire (1993).

A second flourish in the late-1990s included his lead in La Cage aux Folles remake The Birdcage and his Oscar-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, with more recent parts including Night at the Museum and the voice of a penguin in Happy Feet (both 2006). Above is an image of Williams from one of his most memorable and moving roles, that of the inspirational but unorthodox English teacher John Keating in Dead Poets Society. 

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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Karen Bradley as Culture Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

The most politically charged of the culture minister's responsibilities is overseeing the BBC, and to anyone who works for - or simply loves - the national broadcaster, Karen Bradley has one big point in her favour. She is not John Whittingdale. Her predecessor as culture secretary was notorious for his belief that the BBC was a wasteful, over-mighty organisation which needed to be curbed. And he would have had ample opportunity to do this: the BBC's Charter is due for renewal next year, and the licence fee is only fixed until 2017. 

In her previous job at the Home Office, Karen Bradley gained a reputation as a calm, low-key minister. It now seems likely that the charter renewal will be accomplished with fewer frothing editorials about "BBC bias" and more attention to the challenges facing the organisation as viewing patterns fragment and increasing numbers of viewers move online.

Of the rest of the job, the tourism part just got easier: with the pound so weak, it will be easier to attract visitors to Britain from abroad. And as for press regulation, there is no word strong enough to describe how long the grass is into which it has been kicked.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.