The new Elizabethan age: the arts, architecture, fashion and technology

The reign of Queen Elizabeth II has seen an end to the old certainties of prewar Britain – but a surge of achievements to be proud of

The arts: a golden age for British culture

By Melissa Denes

Elizabeth II's coronation was the first to be televised. Winston Churchill advised against it, but the Princess was keen. Did she have any idea how central a role television would play in her reign? Probably not, and an eternity of Royal Variety Performances is perhaps not the legacy she wants to hand down to her successors. But TV has become the dominant art form: its audiences are vast; it's an elastic, democratic medium that can do straight, silly, satirical, heart-breaking. It's also an astonishing archive: Michael Apted's 7 Up will be watched in 2212, when Simon Cowell's shows are barely remembered.

The second Elizabethan age has brought us rock'n'roll, punk, standup comedy, computer games,
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