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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

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
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people
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
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Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
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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
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?