Daily Telegraph

by Anita Singh

Ken Loach doubled Britain's chances of winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes yesterday when his new film became a last-minute addition to the line-up.

Loach submitted ROUTE IRISH for official competition only 48 hours before the beginning of the festival. It joins Mike Leigh's ANOTHER YEAR, the only other British film in the 19-strong line-up.

Loach was said to have declined an earlier opportunity to enter ROUTE IRISH - named after a road from Baghdad's airport to its fortified Green Zone - only to have an 11th-hour change of heart.

Organisers were willing to make allowances for the director, who is a firm favourite at Cannes and won the Palme d'Or in 2006 for THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY.

The festival opens tomorrow with the world premiere of Ridley Scott's ROBIN HOOD, starring Russell Crowe.