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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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee