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Mike Leigh returns to theatre after six years waiting in the wings

Mike Leigh is to return to the National Theatre with a collaborative, improvised play, his first stage work in six years.

Hero of Baker Street returns... and has he got news for you

Benedict Cumberbatch braved comparison with other distinguished actors as Sherlock Holmes. Now he faces another formidable challenge

BBC's Sherlock to return for second series

Two very different detectives are returning to our screens.

DVD: Sherlock (12)

Haven't we had enough Sherlock Holmes? There was Guy Ritchie's 27082010mockney take on the super sleuth, Jeremy Brett's deliciously perverse one in ITV's 1980s series and Rupert Everett's recently underwhelming one on the BBC.

The ideal Holmes show: Benedict Cumberbatch is a revelation as supersleuth Sherlock Holmes

Gerard Gilbert can't wait for his return...

Culture Club: Sherlock, Sunday, BBC1

Readers review this week's TV drama

Age can wither them: Will today’s hit plays still be being revived in 50 years' time?

Private Lives and After the Dance both caused a sensation when they appeared in the Thirties and are still being successfully revived. But will today’s hit plays last the course?

From William Gillette to Benedict Cumberbatch: The changing face of Sherlock Holmes

Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has remained in the popular consciousness for nearly 125 years. The tales of murder and intrigue have endured because they enthral readers, viewers and listeners today as much as the Victorian audiences they were written for.

The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, Duchess Theatre, London

What is happening to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson? They have been updated on television, by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, having endured the mixed blessing of a louche makeover by Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law in last year's movie.

After the Dance, NT Lyttelton, London<br/>Love Story, Minerva, Chichester<br/>The Fantasticks, Duchess, London

An assured Rattigan revival proves there's dramatic life in the drawing room yet, while a musical 'Love Story' is saccharine but leaves a sour taste

After the Dance, NT: Lyttelton, London

It's 1938 and the Bright Young Things of the Twenties are neither as young nor as bright as of yore. One of them plans to throw a gas-mask party, until she realises that, although too amusing for words, such head-gear categorically prevents you from downing a drink, and that would defeat the object of the exercise.

Brit flicks: Where you live and what you watch

Are you more likely to rent Trainspotting if you live in Edinburgh? Do coastal towns prefer pirate flicks? To find out if geography determines our taste in films, Tim Walker analyses the choices of over 600,000 British movie lovers

The City, Royal Court, London

Twisted tales of urban life

Katie Mitchell: 'I'd hate to hang around making theatre when they're tired of it'

Theatre director Katie Mitchell's work has horrified many critics &ndash; but others love her plays. She tells Alice Jones how she thinks her latest venture, 'The City', will be received

Cultural Life: Rose Tremain, novelist

Theatre

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Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
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peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
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booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
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Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
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Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
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Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital