Arts and Entertainment

Given our national obsession with property prices, Tim Walker’s novel is bound to hit a nerve. His fictional couple, the Manvilles, bought their large north London home at a knock-down price in the 1990s, and it became the key to two aspects of their family life. Jerry, a successful advertising executive, undertook all the original plumbing, electrical and redecoration work; Pen devised a series of popular children’s books, The House on the Hill, whose “cheeky brat with the ridiculous schemes” is modelled on, and named after, her real-life son Conrad: 15 years on, they have done a loft conversion, and divorced.

Archie Bland: Jacintha Saldanha deserves to be more than a fable

With 2Day FM's decision to cancel its Christmas party, and promise of a £320,000 donation to Jacintha Saldanha's family, a full stop, or at least a semi-colon, may now be written in to the narrative of her death. A large sum of money, and a promise not to have any fun: these are the kinds of expressions of regret we can understand.

Jacintha Saldanha deserves to be more than a fable

Turning this nurse's fate into a lesson for modern society ignores the truth

Government will not change drugs policy despite critical report

The Government tonight ruled out any shift in drugs policy despite a damning report by an influential group of MPs which said Britain was failing to tackle drug barons or the multi-billion pound global profits of their illegal trade.

The shocking before and after pictures of meth addicts - warning: disturbing images

Warning: contains disturbing images
 

An anti-drugs video has been created, warning of the horrific effects methamphetamine can have on users.

Bing for a day: my fruitless attempt to avoid using a Google product

Bing for a day: my fruitless attempt to avoid using a Google product

It is possible I've visited Starbucks more since its tax affairs became news, but those who have boycotted the chain (which has now agreed to review its practices because of "consumer pressure", the Treasury said today) need not look far for a caffeine fix. Is there really much to separate, say, a Starbucks latte and one from the Costa over the road?

Editorial: An imperial past that the French can't quite escape

France has not lost its love-hate fascination with Napoleon Bonaparte, if the furious competition to buy one of his wartime letters is a guide. In the letter, written in code in 1812, the French Emperor, signing himself "Nap", reveals his bitter frustration with the failure of the Russian campaign and his intention to blow up the Kremlin on 22 May at 3am. It was expected to fetch up to £12,000 but, following some fierce bidding, instead went under the hammer to the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Paris for 10 times that amount.

Scott Walker

Scott Walker, Bish Bosch 4AD

No regrets as Scott's strange sounds prove addictive

Not just clutter: 'Between the Ears' on Radio 3 looked at downsizing

The Week in Radio: Moved by the memories of those who can't let go

"This is my life, I can't just throw it away," said an elderly woman in Radio 3's Between the Ears, the panic rising in her voice. She was in process of moving into sheltered housing, and the prospect of reducing her worldly goods was making her ill. She had, she explained, just spent three days in hospital.

Anorexia usually begins in adolescence, affecting 1 to 2 per cent of teenagers and university students

Hundreds of websites urging girls to 'starve for perfection'

Study reveals alarming rise in promotion of anorexia and competitive dieting

13 killed by 'toxic cough syrup' in Pakistan

Police officer Multan Khan said the dead were all drug addicts

Back-to-work scheme ‘failing homeless’

Homeless people are being failed by the government’s flagship back-to-work programme despite large amounts of public money being given to private firms to cut chronic employment, a new report warns.

Holly Willoughby: Hero or Villain?

On 12 November 1916, people around the United States experienced an outbreak of mass hysteria as 800 simultaneous sightings of Charlie Chaplin, then the most recognisable person in the world, were reported across the country, from the Atlantic coast to Pacific.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Hard times, hearts and truths

Iain Duncan Smith wants to take child benefits and tax credits from mothers who have a third child and any more thereafter. Unbeatable China has a draconian one-child policy, so why not us? There is no public outcry because the proposed policy only targets the children of the most disadvantaged, those "feral" creatures, the enemy within. I thought IDS had come to understand such hopelessness.

Is it sad that I find the US elections so enthralling?

This obsession with the Obama vs Romney contest can't hide the fact its outcome will make little difference over here

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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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there