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Watch a selection of trailers for our film and television critic's choice:

Spider-Man Broadway musical looks like turn off

There was no resting on laurels for the cast and crew of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark yesterday after a first preview performance on Sunday night of the most expensive and elaborate musical ever attempted on Broadway brought tales of actors dangling above and audience twiddling thumbs below.

Author seeks to stop Broadway show

Fela!, the award-winning Broadway musical about the late Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, which opened in London this week, could face closure after the author of a book about the Nigerian superstar sued the producers. He claims that they stole his work and thought an offer of $4,000 (£2,500) was all he deserved for copying portions of his book into the play's script.

Is Broadway crazy to take on Almodóvar?

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

No tenant? What about the homeless?

TV's Phil Spencer says charity scheme can fill the void for hard-up landlords. Julian Knight reports

The Country Girl, Apollo Theatre, London

"I'm getting baggy under the eyes," exclaims the old actor on the comeback trail in Clifford Odets's wonderful backstage drama. But as that actor is played by baggy-eyed Martin Shaw, the remark is as superfluous as Edith Evans's complaint in Hay Fever years ago that someone was speaking to her as if she were 80 (which she more or less was).

Tom Hedley: 'On stage, Flashdance in your face and completely alive'

When I wrote Flashdance, in 1982, it was a hard sell; musicals were considered poison at the box office and Hollywood studio executives were put off by the notion that what I had written would in any way be thought of or described as a musical. The first director I approached was the great Bob Fosse. He was very drawn to it but, after giving me copious notes, he finally shrugged and said: "Look, the fact is, this is simply not a movie. What you have written is a stage musical and I would be willing to consider working on it for Broadway. But even then there is a central flaw in your concept – you seem to have all the choreography done as single dancers direct to the camera. You must have ensemble choreography for the stage."

Love Poems, By Carol Ann Duffy

This life-enhancing harvest of 34 poems reveals Duffy as a poet who covers the stormy waterfront of desire, devotion and despair. From early collections such as Mean Time to a preview of the forthcoming The Bees, the Poet Laureate runs passion's gamut from wild infatuation through absence and infidelity, break-ups, grief and solitude. .

The Human Comedy, Young Vic, London

The Young Vic has an admirable tradition of kicking off its year with a production that pulls in the local community to play alongside professionals in the role of chorus – and the venue has had some of its most signal recent successes in this department. It now launches its 40th anniversary season in joyous fashion with the belated British premiere of The Human Comedy. A flawed, affecting show by Hair composer, Galt MacDermot, this piece flopped on Broadway in 1984, but it fits the bill here to an almost parodic degree in its celebration of the healing power of community and the unifying nature of song.

Anne Frank: The Life, The Book, The Afterlife, By Francine Prose

Can there be anything new to say about Anne Frank? No, and there is nothing really new here. On the other hand, the Anne Frank industry is so huge that there's a lot the ordinary reader doesn't know. This is truer in the US than here: only a quarter of American high school students can identify Hitler, Francine Prose says, whereas more British students can identify Hitler than Oliver Cromwell, to judge from recent reports. But the wider story of the Frank family and their helpers is less well known, and the first part of this book is fascinating.

Police officers hurt in Northern Ireland riots

Three police officers were shot in a night of rioting in Northern Ireland.

John Forsythe: Actor who played Blake Carrington in 'Dynasty' and the elusive Charlie in 'Charlie's Angels'

It is ironic that an actor who so distinguished himself in films and on Broadway before winning fame as Blake Carrington on television in Dynasty should perhaps still be best remembered for a role in which viewers never even saw him, that of the elusive Charlie in Charlie's Angels, whose disembodied voice on a phone line gave his girl detectives their new assignment each week.

How does 'Hair' still bring in the bread, man?

In 1968, the squares thought it 'perverted', and to the kids it was phony.

Nocturnes, By Kazuo Ishiguro

With their gently melancholy wit and bittersweet harmonies, Ishiguro's five "stories of music and nightfall" feel much like the Broadway standards that inspire them.

Tom Sutcliffe: TV is about a lot more than moving images

There was a lot of excitement about the third dimension at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – with numerous manufacturers unveiling various kinds of 3D television sets and 3D computer displays. But when you looked more closely at the froth and hype and exuberance, almost all of it appeared to stem from people who had a strong vested interest in leaving us dissatisfied with boring old D, never mind how many pixels it could boast or the dizzying height of its definition.

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Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

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Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

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France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
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Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
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Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

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Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect