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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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month