Arts and Entertainment

Jumbo the elephant was a Victorian sensation, who between his birth in modern-day Eritrea and alcoholic death in the American circus of the incorrigible showman PT Barnum was the star attraction at London Zoo.

Journal De France, film review: Raymond Depardon is like an eccentric old magician

(12A) Raymond Depardon, Claudine Nougaret, 100 mins

A copy of vice magazine

Vice's partnership with gay rights group Stonewall is a clever move

The magazine's new film, Young and Gay in Putin’s Russia, will be broadcast to a wider audience thanks to the innovative alliance

Gone with the Wind actress Alicia Rhett dies aged 98

Rhett was one of the last remaining cast members from the 1939 classic

Book review: 'The Mirror' by Richard Skinner

Purgatory is other people

A still from the new Disney film Frozen

Frozen freezes Catching Fire out of UK and US box office top slots

Disney's Christmas offering took £4.7 million in its opening UK weekend

Shane Black and Syd Field at the American Screenwriters Associations' '2002 Screenwriting Hall of Fame Awards'

Syd Field: Screenwriting guru whose alumni included Darabont and who first popularised the three-act structure

Syd Field was a highly sought-after screenwriting teacher, renowned as a guru of the art of the screenplay. Of his eight books on the subject, the first, Screenplay: the Foundations of Screenwriting, is considered the bible of the art. He popularised the classic three-act paradigm, identifying important plot points and formulating a structure which not only reflected many existing films but which allowed writers to structure their own scripts. That he was never much in demand as a screenwriter himself throws an ironic sidelight on his career.

Dustin Lance Black: Five things you didn’t know about Tom Daley’s boyfriend

Hands up if you knew exactly who Dustin Lance Black was before the news broke this morning that he is the man Tom Daley is currently “in a relationship” with?

Horrible History: It was while staying at the Villa Diodati, on the shores of Lake Geneva, that Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein

Mythology, monsters, and Mary Shelley: The enduring fascination of Frankenstein's creation

Events surrounding the creation of ‘Frankenstein’ in 1816 have gripped writers ever since. Lesley McDowell on an enduring literary fascination

Report: Apple closing $345m deal to buy Kinect manufacturer PrimeSense

Israeli-based PrimeSense created the technology behind Microsoft's Kinect motion sensing device, fuelling rumours of future Apple products

Amber Heard will star in Mathew Cullen's film based on Martin Amis's London Field

Screen Talk: Johnny Depp joins Amber in Martin Amis tale

Tinseltown Insider

Book review: Mitterrand. A Study in Ambiguity, By Philip Short

A penetrating study of a president that captures his extravagant complexities

Young: his long-gestating project, a history of British television films, will remain sadly unfulfilled

Cy Young: Film historian, a BFI governor and an 'Independent' obituarist

Occasional visitors to BFI Southbank under Waterloo Bridge could not in recent years have failed to notice the white-haired gentleman asleep in the foyer near the ticket desks; some may even have wondered why security did not have him removed.

Review: Empress Dowager Cixi, By Jung Chang

One of only three Chinese empresses to exercise outright power, Cixi was a survivor of Emperor Xianfeng’s harem who acted as regent for her own and her adopted son for almost 50 years. Stories of cruelty and allegations of murder have attached to her but this picture has been challenged as scholars exposed early accounts as often wildly inaccurate propaganda.

Review: Mastering The Art of Soviet Cooking, By Anya von Bremzen

Billed as “The Hare With the Amber Eyes meets Julie and Julia”, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is part memoir and part history – following the Russian kitchen from the turn of the 20th century through to the present. Von Bremzen herself moved to the USA at the age of 10, and much of the book is recounted from a distance, both of geography and of time.

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game