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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore