The Diary: your essential what’s on guide

Your indispensable guide to the best theatre, film, sport, restaurants and much more

The Lost City of Z, an old fashioned adventure story about real life British explorer Perry Fawcett, is out on Friday – Charlie Hunnam plays the dashing hero of the piece. Already out in cinemas is the live action version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, with Emma Watson and Downton’s Dan Stevens in the respective title roles, and arthouse ghost story, Personal Shopper, starring Kristen Stewart. The latest film from the brilliant British director Ben Wheatley, Free Fire, is out on March 31.

After a friendly international against Germany (March 22), England take on Lithuania in a World Cup qualifying match on March 26. Looking further ahead, April 2 sees the Boat Race hit the Thames, swiftly followed by the Masters Golf from Augusta (April 6-9) and the Grand National at Aintree on April 8.

Absent Friends by Howard Hodgkin, 2000-1; Private Collection

The National Portrait Gallery is opening its new exhibition of work by the late Howard Hodgkin, later this month. The show, entitled Absent Friends, traces the human form in Hodgkin’s art. For our preview of the exhibition go here. Outside London, the Ashmolean Museum’s Degas to Picasso show is worth a visit, as is Bath’s Holburne Museum for the Bruegel: Desigining a Dynasty exhibition.

Meanwhile, The Other Art Fair’s latest edition opens at London’s Victoria House on March 30. The fair showcases emerging artists and gives buyers a chance to pick up a piece by a star of the future. Before you go, our guide to buying contemporary art is a must-read.

The Thinking Drinkers

Spectator Life columnists, The Thinking Drinkers, host a monthly booze and comedy session at the Museum of Comedy, in London. Every audience member will be plied with alcohol as Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham reveal the people, places and colourful history behind each drink – the next show is on April 6.

Critics have been quick to praise the West End revival of Edward Albee’s classic play of marital warfare, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which runs at the Harold Pinter Theatre until May 27. At the Royal Exchange, Manchester, David Greig’s version of The Suppliant Women, runs until April 1. For our guide to theatre productions to book ahead for, go here.