News

Actor took on three armed soldiers who had surrounded star and crew while they were filming later series of Extreme World 3

Smith becomes Jones as Sheridan is chosen to play Bridget on stage

Bridget Jones is returning with a vengeance. The angst-ridden and accident-prone singleton who won fame in Helen Fielding's columns in The Independent before conquering the world in a book and on screen, is about to bring her comic self-doubt and unfulfilled relationships to the West End stage.

Roddy Doyle: Family matters – and an old soul classic

Roddy Doyle is planning a stage musical of The Commitments, he tells James Mottram. But first he's revisiting another hit

Sheridan Smith to play Bridget Jones

Sheridan Smith is set to play the title role in a stage adaptation of Bridget Jones's Diary, the story of a young blonde woman with man trouble, which will debut in London next year.

West End shows still hottest tickets in town despite the big freeze

The Icelandic ash cloud, the Fifa World Cup and the worst winter in three decades could not hold audiences back from the West End last year, which continued to defy the economic climate and smash box office records.

Over the rainbow: Wizard new British musicals

Two new all-singing, all-dancing shows from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh, both inspired by films, will be staged shortly. Michael Coveney believes they and other high-profile openings will benefit from a post-Glee hunger for musical theatre

Exclusive clip: Rabbit Hole

Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play a grieving couple in John Cameron Mitchell's new drama.

Ballet teacher sentenced for abducting boy

A ballet teacher who flouted a police order not to continue her inappropriate relationship with a talented and vulnerable 15-year-old boy dancer was handed a suspended jail term today.

Last Night's TV: Phil and Kirstie's Homes for Heroes/Channel 4<br />Toast/BBC1

Who would have thought it, eh? Location, Location, Location: 10 years old this year. Kirstie and Phil, plugging away for more than a decade. To commemorate this most momentous of anniversaries, Channel 4 decided, in characteristically understated style, to put on a whole evening of Phil and Kirstie-themed fun. Overkill? Probably. But then, what else is on in this weird interim between Christmas and New Year? First up was blooper show Kirstie and Phil's Embarrassing Bits, then a bit revisiting some of their previous guests, and then the rather more sobering Phil and Kirstie's Homes for Heroes, which saw the twosome find houses for soldiers returning from service.

Bourgeois &amp; Maurice Can't Dance, Lilian Baylis Studio, London

"I wanted to be like Billy Elliot," explains Bourgeois, widening his fabulously made-up eyes, "but more... middle class." The cabaret duo Bourgeois & Maurice are well aware that Sadler's Wells is a dance house. Having landed at the theatre for a Christmas cabaret run, they've decided to become professional dancers by osmosis.

Black Swan: Caught in the dance

Black Swan shows ballerinas as obsessive, mysterious creatures. We do the artform a disservice with this much-peddled myth, says ex-dancer Alice-Azania Jarvis

Harriet Walker: 'What a song and dance! I need to conquer my fear of musicals'

I was supposed to go to the filming of The Million Pound Drop last week, the live TV game show in which contestants answer questions to win £1m in cash by placing it on (they hope) the trap door marked with the correct answer. But I missed the show because I didn't get out of work in time. So, in order to slake the thirst of my demons who demand live entertainment wherever possible, I decided to see Billy Elliot: The Musical (inset below) instead.

Is Broadway crazy to take on Almod&#243;var?

A new stage version of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown could be a musical too far, says Sarah Hughes

Flashdance, Shaftesbury Theatre, London

A dancer's dreams come true

Lip Service, BBC3, Tuesday<br/>Wonderland: Boy Cheerleaders, BBC2, Wednesday

I'm no expert on lesbians, but these characters weren't plausible humans. For real drama, a film on boy cheerleaders dazzled
Career Services

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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
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home