Arts and Entertainment

Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Hell's angels: Hellebores add some cold-season cheer

Winter bedding is not the most glamorous of ideas. Especially when it comes to those acres of monocolour pansies. It's sort of an amazing achievement to ruin the pansy – they are this great, characterful little flower, in bright colours, with spirited little markings on their faces, which they hold up high to the sun. But ruin them people consistently do: stroll into your local DIY shop in the next few weeks and there will be polystyrene trays of them by the hundred, stacked and ready for non-gardeners to progressively kill over the coming months.

Led Zeppelin

Fancy sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll? Just press 'play' on your live DVD

DVDs of live performances are selling in their millions, often bought by fans who were at the gig and want a memento.

Government under pressure to halt preparations for the badger cull after e-petition

The Government is under pressure to halt preparations for the badger cull after an e-petition launched by Queen guitarist Brian May forced a debate in the House of Commons.

Television choices: More operatic aspirations for free-thinking Mercury

TV pick of the week: Freddie Mercury - The Great Pretender: An Imagine Special

Jimmy Page says 'no' to Led Zeppelin reunion

Led Zeppelin will not be reuniting any time soon.

Last night's viewing - Wonderland: I Was Once a Beauty Queen, BBC2; The Great Train Robbery, ITV1

"Beauty queens belong to an era when everyone was sweet and lovely and nobody did anything wrong," said Tracy Dodds in Hannah Berryman's film about the heyday of the beauty contest. The remark turned out to be not quite as ingenuous as it sounded. Dodds was commenting sardonically on her own unexpectedly short possession of the Miss Great Britain title, which she relinquished when it emerged that she'd posed for topless shots before the contest. But the first time you encountered it, in the opening sequence to Wonderland: I Was Once a Beauty Queen, it was also undercut by a coincidence that Berryman surely couldn't have predicted when she made her film. As Dodds recalled her first steps on the road to beauty pageant glory – her parents had written to her school saying she'd got tonsillitis so that she could enter Miss New Brighton – you saw an image of the local newspaper reporting on her subsequent victory. And the celebrity giving her a congratulatory peck on the cheek looked uncannily like Jimmy Savile. Beauty contests were primetime family entertainment back in the Seventies, but I bet there were some backstage angles from which they didn't look anything like as cheesily guileless.

My Fantasy Band: Beth Jeans Houghton

'Rodriguez is pretty much sex on vocal chords'

Pappy's: Last Show Ever, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

After some muted outings, the sketch group Pappy's are back to their lovable best, on the kind of form that saw them shortlisted for Edinburgh's comedy award in 2007 and will probably get them a place on this year's list, too.

Folk singer Scott McKenzie, whose hit 'San Francisco' soundtracked the flower power movement, dies aged 73

Scott McKenzie, the folk singer who provided a global anthem for the 60s “flower power” movement, has died aged 73.

Fantasy Band: Aiden Grimshaw

'Jack White's a sick frontman. And he has that great hair'

Fantasy Band: Sen Dog, Cypress Hill

'I don't think there has been a more important collaboration to this day since Run-DMC and Aerosmith doing "Walk This Way"'

Album: Joe Jackson, The Duke (Ear Music)

In his Eighties pomp, Jackson contributed a superb arrangement of "Round Midnight" to a Thelonious Monk tribute album, but this new homage to Ellington works as superior adult-pop rather than jazz.

Beat that: gnaoua musicians perform in Essaouira

Trail of the unexpected: Essaouira, Morocco

This relaxed port city is full of rhythm. Linda Cookson heard it ... all along the watchtower

Leading article: Ziggy played the stock market

The Fender Stratocaster: those words alone are enough to send shivers down the spine of anyone with an ounce of rock'n'roll in them. But the grandiloquent nomenclature is one thing – the musical instrument itself quite another.

Observations: Take a break in a cottage that has a creative past

Rather than renting the same old boring Cornish cottage, how about staying in a bolthole with a creative past?

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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May