A 2004 painting of MP Diane Abbott which cost £11,750, by Stuart Pearson Wright

MPs splurge £250,000 of public money on 'expensive' portraits

Tax payers' fund the ultimate MP vanity project – having specially commissioned portraits of themselves painted by the UK's leading artists

Self-proclaimed 'mother of the street', Dee Roberts, returns to Benefits Street tonight

Benefits Street and The Great Sport Relief Bake-Off: What to watch on TV tonight, Monday 13 January

Samantha Bond bakes a cake and Romanian migrants arrive in Birmingham

Labour plans to license teachers with 'classroom MoTs' that could see them sacked if they fail regular checks

Regular checks would 're-professionalise' teaching, according to shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt

National Crime Agency reins in attempts to seize tycoon Israel Perry’s assets

The new National Crime Agency is facing a major embarrassment after it abandoned most of its attempts to seize the UK and US assets of Israel Perry, the Israeli tycoon who is also suing the agency for £10m for compensation of losses allegedly caused by the lawsuit.

‘Which inventions were created by accident?’

Potato chips. In the 1800s in New York, a customer at a restaurant sent back French fries because they were too thick. The cook made thinner ones that the customer still thought were too thick. Exasperated, the chef made ones that were exceedingly thin to piss off the customer... who loved them.

DVD & Blu-Ray reviews: The Great Beauty, The Frozen Ground, Museum Hours, InRealLife, Riddick

The Great Beauty (15), Paolo Sorrentino (141mins)

In the studio: Elizabeth Ogilvie, artist

"It is my experience of the countryside that I am trying to convey to the public"

Review: 'Sonic wonderland: A Scientific Odyssey of Sound' by Trevor Cox

An aural odyssey that takes us from the echoes of a London sewer to the world’s quietest place – and beyond

Amiri Baraka: Writer

Poet, playwright and civil rights campaigner whose work made him a central figure in the Black Arts Movement

Aleksandr Naumov, 'Oil', 1927

The Golden Age of Soviet film posters

New exhibition opens in London to commemorate Soviet film artists

David Moyes shows his frustration on another difficult night for the United manager

Peter Schmeichel says Manchester United 'always recover' amid crisis under David Moyes

The Red Devils have lost their last three games in a row

Groove armada: The stunning rebirth of vinyl

Vinyl is shedding its image as a retro novelty as a new generation discovers cover art, liners and great sound

Emma Thompson arriving for the National Board of Review Awards in New York

Emma Thompson fancies playing Sherlock Holmes: Actor in favour of gender-blind casting

The actor Emma Thompson has spoken out this week in favour of gender-blind casting, admitting her particular desire to play the role of Sherlock Holmes.

Ageing former Cuban President Fidel Castro makes rare public appearance at art studio

The 87-year-old made his first public outing in nine months

Brute Force: Wild Beasts
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General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat