Peter Stanford

Peter James Stanford is an English writer, editor, journalist, and presenter

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Human story: Anthony Quinn

The Streets, By Anthony Quinn

A thrilling story of deprivation that shows off the bravura versatility of its author

Cutting-edge history: Roman Catholics beheaded by order of Henry VIII

Saints, Sacrilege and Sedition: Religion and Conflict in the Tudor Reformations, By Eamon Duffy

An erudite iconoclast, this historian overturns assumptions about the beliefs of the English in the age of holy wars.

Father Lynch says: 'I can go into confession and say I have been in every sauna and bath-house and sex club in London 10 times a week and I can get absolved from my sins, but if I go in and say, 'I have been in love with a man for 19 years, married for 14,' there's no absolution. That's the sickness in my Church.'

Father Bernard Lynch: 'The Vatican has told them to get rid of me'

He claims that half of all Catholic priests are gay – and has himself been married to his husband for 14 years. He believes celibacy is to blame for many of the Church's problems – and that the Vatican must take responsibility for the paedophilia in its midst. Is it any wonder so many people want rid of Father Bernard Lynch?

Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel, Victim, By John Guy

Sub-titles are usually where publishers try to hype up a book, or give its subject a headline-making spin. So Viking should be congratulated for their Ronseal-like directness – "what it says on the tin" – in tagging John Guy's biography of Thomas Becket as "a story retold". For the tale of the 12th-century Archbishop of Canterbury and the king who appointed him, but came to rue the day and saw him murdered in his cathedral, is even on the primary-school curriculum.

The Flight, By M R Hall

Fasten your seatbelts for a quality thriller

God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World, By Cullen Murphy

Television has been widely credited with making history fashionable again, with all those enthusiastic and engaging experts taking to the small screen. They have hauled what had become too often a subject constrained by the lifeless prose of academic books into the mainstream of public debate. Now there seems to be traffic the other way, for there is something televisual about God's Jury, an enormously enjoyable and very modern history of the Inquisition by Cullen Murphy, editor-at-large of Vanity Fair.

Reappraisal of Christian concepts: Michelangelo's creation story, in the Sistine Chapel

Christianity in Evolution: An Exploration, By Jack Mahoney

The relationship between Christianity and science has long been a fraught one, whether you go back to the persecution of Galileo by the Inquisition in the 17th century, the rejection of Darwin by the ecclesiastical bigwigs in the 19th, or the current stand-off between militant atheists among the scientific community, such as Richard Dawkins, and a Church that still has faith in miracles.

Santa: A life. By Jeremy Seal

A long sleigh-ride from Asia Minor to the mall

Black Christmas; zwarte piet

This is how Santa's little helpers dress in Holland. Anna Fox photographs a source of much liberal embarrassment

Fantasy groom

How do I look? If there's one thing more eye-catching than a room decorated with purple walls and faux-Georgian furniture, it's the man in leather trousers and flowing silk shirt behind it all. Meet Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, the handy dandy of daytime television
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas