Arts and Entertainment It began here: Oliver Stone's series gives an account of US foreign policy since 1945

Unsure of global politics since the war? Don't worry, Oliver Stone has it all sewn up

Video: Neil: 'Murdoch negotiates like an Italian'

Broadcaster Andrew Neil on Jeremy Hunt's decision to allow Rupert Murdoch to buy BSkyB.

Shapcott's Costa prize is a surprise victory for poetry

The candid and dark poetry of Jo Shapcott, which draws on the poet's recent battle with cancer, has walked away as the surprise winner of this year's Costa Book of the Year.

Birmingham Diary: 'Transparent' Tories silent over falling membership

"We're bringing transparency to government," David Cameron said yesterday. Maybe. But the Conservatives are certainly not being transparent about the health of their own party. There has been no confirmation or denial of the interesting claim by the editor of the ConservativeHome website, Tim Montgomerie, that party membership has declined by 80,000 under David Cameron's leadership.

Shappi Khorsandi, Greenwich Comedy Festival, London

"The great thing about playing this festival is that there's music to fill any awkward silences," says Shappi Khorsandi of the jazz pleasantly leaking from an adjacent tented venue. Khorsandi, however, is not one for leaving silences; she's ever effervescent and with all the more reason to be these days, thanks to a growing audience, in part swelled by TV appearances that range from Friday Night with Jonathan Ross to Question Time.

If the cap fits, wear it. But not if your name is William Hague

The Foreign Secretary has never got over his fashion faux pas as Tory leader. So why repeat the crime?

Matthew Norman's Diary: 'Blinky' Balls does the business on Cable

Anyone with a heart during Thursday's Question Time on BBC1 will have found themselves toying with the remote, pondering whether the act of watching constituted an intrusion into private grief. The post-Budget agony manifested by Vince Cable was better suited to a renaissance painting of Christ on the cross than a chat with David Dimbleby.

Matthew Norman: Liz Jones, poster girl for Big Society

In the most startling reinvention this industry has known in decades, the Daily Mail shrugs off its reactionary stereotype to host an intriguingly hybrid social experiment. The pit canary here is the magnificently prolific Liz Jones, who single-handedly spearheads two major breakthroughs – the first recorded case of Mr Cameron's Big Society in action, and the inaugural deployment of a newspaper column as care in the community. As many of you will know, Liz likes to keep the readership minutely informed of life, latterly dwelling on the £150,000 debt she says has depressed her even more than her rejection by the Somerset neighbours who took mystifying umbrage at being depicted as toothless imbeciles. "Being in debt," wrote Liz, "is worse than anything I have experienced." Given what Liz has experienced – and short of alien abduction, bless her, what has she not? – that's going some. "When you have no money people assume it's because you are lazy or profligate." The rank injustice. The very idea that a woman who spent £26,000 on a bat sanctuary, and lavishes more than £1,000 a year on mineral water, tends towards the wasteful!

Matthew Freud takes over literary agency

The name of Peters Fraser & Dunlop, one of Britain's oldest literary agencies, is set to disappear after the company was taken over by the public relations executive Matthew Freud and agent Michael Foster.

Matthew Norman: The Adam and Alastair show

Media Diary

Joan Smith: In the studio, in the House... where are all the women?

Was it a virus? Something weirdly gender-specific that incapacitated women for the duration of the election campaign? Day after day I turned on the television to find men interviewing men, men arguing with men, and men sitting on panels with men.

The Sketch: He's the Eurocrat son of a banker, so how can he play the outsider?

Yesterday, at The Tories' morning press conference... there wasn't a Tory press conference yesterday. This is so clever they'll be talking about it in a decade. What were the Conservatives doing, withdrawing from the campaign at a moment of existential threat? "Ah," a wise strategist will say (probably Oliver Letwin, on the brink of retirement), "It's too early to tell."

'Spectator' editor vows not to soil his hands with politics

In his first interview, Fraser Nelson tells Matthew Bell his Tory weekly is also a journal of arts and manners

Deborah Ross: 'The big news from the catwalks is that sometimes bags are large and sometimes they are not so large'

If you ask me, now that the London, Milan, Paris and New York fashion shows are over, you need someone to distil all the latest trends for you and, although I didn't initially think I was the right person for that, I took myself aside and told myself not to be so silly. It's a good job I was around, actually, as no one else would have taken the time and trouble.

Piers smooths the way for 'gauche' Gordon

Piers Morgan's Life Stories, ITV1
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Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
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Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
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Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor