Sport Andy Thomson

They haven’t tried to “sex up” bowls to appeal to a wider audience: no semi-naked girls cartwheeling down the rink, no hellish bursts of naked flame, no garish wigs – well, there are probably a few hairpieces as the crowd is largely of a certain age. (The men are generally happy with their bald lot, though, so the seats at the World Indoor Championships at Potters in Norfolk actually look like they are being occupied by rows of shiny pink bowling balls.) The organisers wouldn’t want to make the spectacle too exciting, would they? When it comes to tie-breaks there are no references to sudden death.

1 January 2014: Google Doodle celebrates the New Year with animation of numbers dancing as 2013 is relegated to a dark corner

Happy New Year: Google rings in 2014 with animated Doodle

Search giant rings in the New Year with dancing cartoon of numbers

Andy McSmith's Diary: Nadine gives ‘the scum’ something  to get their teeth into...

It can be said without fear of contradiction that the Sunday Mirror is not Nadine Dorries’ favourite read. Last week, a Sunday Mirror hack approached the Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire to ask why she pays her daughter £35,000 a year from her MP’s expenses to work for her when her daughter has a Cotswold home 96 miles from London and 89 miles from Bedfordshire.

The five remaining members of Monty Python are expected to announce a comeback on Thursday

Monty Python team show, old surrealists never die like... they just make comebacks

Next to today’s sketch troupes, Python is not looking so strange

Nick Boles, Planning Minister: 'We need to redefine ourselves'

Tories need to connect with liberal youth or risk being reduced to rump party in rural England, warns Nick Boles

Planning minister also floats the idea of reviving the National Liberal Party

Coachella Valley High School, where the football team is known as

California high school criticised for using Arab stereotypes

A high school in California has been criticised for using what some say are damaging stereotypes of Arabs.

Jessica Raine as Beatie and Linda Bassett as Mrs Bryant in Roots

Theatre review: Roots - 'A meticulous and beautifully acted revival'

Roots, the central work in Arnold Wesker's 1950s trilogy, refuses to be rushed and keeps you waiting two and half hours for a turning-point. But the cumulative power of the piece is quietly devastating, as is decisively demonstrated now by this loving, meticulous and beautifully acted revival by James Macdonald. Written in the Norfolk dialect, the play tells the story of a young woman, Beatie Bryant, who returns to her glum family of farm labourers and tries to groom them for the impending visit of her “intellectual” London boyfriend Ronnie (the East End Jewish poet of Chicken Soup With Barley). She browbeats them with Ronnie's thoughts about art and politics by repeating them parrot-fashion and only finds her own voice in a climactic surge after a calamity the  audience may have started to anticipate.

Making waves: Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson: 'I never really felt like pushing boundaries'

The 38-year-old Hawaiian says he would rather surf than be in the studio

JK Rowling: the top storyteller of her generation will appear, like a seraph descended from heaven, to meet her public

Book review: The Cuckoo's Calling, By Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling)

Whodunit? Now we all know, but enjoy the intrigue on its own terms

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Joan Iyiola in A Season in the Congo

Theatre review: A Season in the Congo, Young Vic, London

It's six years since we last saw him on stage giving an award-winning portrayal of Othello at the Donmar Warehouse. Now Chiwetel Ejiofor is back and in magnificent form as Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the newly independent Congo, in Joe Wright's production of this 1966 play by Aime Cesaire about the fraught political struggles that led to Lumumba's CIA-endorsed assassination after barely seven months of power. 

Apprentice 2013 finalist Luisa Zissman

Apprentice 2013: The candidates that couldn't resist caricature...

Decision time is fast approaching for Sir Alan Sugar who decides which eager business person will become his new partner in The Apprentice final airing tonight.

Heard the one about the Orthodox Jewish woman suing Lancôme over fading Sabbath make-up?

There’s a fine line between curiosity and contempt; between offering people the opportunity to learn about a different culture and asking them to laugh about it.

Fiction and fact: According to historian Susan Bordo, Natalie Dormer's portrayal of Anne in The Tudors came closest to the real Boleyn girl

'Anne Boleyn was no soap seductress,' says US academic Susan Bordo

American historian urges a rethink on David Starkey and Hilary Mantel portrayals

The Wright Way: Clive Beeches (LUKE GELL), Gerald Wright (DAVID HAIG), Malika Maha (MINA ANWAR), Bernard Stanning (TOBY LONGWORTH)

TV review - Ben Elton's The Wright Way (BBC1) is groan-inducing

 The Great British Sewing Bee, BBC2

Sign of the chimes: Portsmouth supporters are about to follow other European fan groups who own their clubs

The Last Word: Margaret Thatcher treated them all as a disease. Now football fans are the cure

What has happened at Portsmouth must become the model for club ownership – supporters rule

Ubu Roi, Barbican, London

Theatre review: Ubu Roi, Barbican, London

This play by the 23 year old Alfred Jarry caused a sensation when it was premiered in Paris in 1896. A somewhat hysterical W B Yeats subsequently asked “what more is possible? After us, the Savage God”.

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Day In a Page

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
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone