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Armando Iannucci recently said that the UK falls behind the US  when it comes to female comedy writers. Do you find it to be a male-dominated industry?

Lessons for the press from Dickens

Chalk Talk
Family values: 'It's a Wonderful Life'

Ten best Christmas films

The Independent's film critic selects the ten best festive flicks

The News Matrix: Monday 23 December 2013

Artificial heart 'just a pump' like real one

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.

Book Review: Dickens and the Workhouse, By Ruth Richardson

It seems likely that, in writing with such conviction and clarity about Oliver Twist’s workhouse experiences as a young orphan, Dickens knew something of what went on inside. But what’s far more remarkable is that so few of his biographers followed up the connection between his sometime family home as a child and young man on Norfolk Street, London, and the building that stood only a few doors away from him and his family: the Cleveland Street Workhouse.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Lenders first, their critics second – the mistake MPs couldn’t afford to make

It must have seemed a good idea at the time. But you had to wonder, seeing their representatives lined up in front of the Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee, whether the off-the-back-of-the-lorry company names help their branding as public spirited pillars of the financial services community: Wonga, Mr Lender, QuickQuid. How confidence-inspiring is that?

Adjoa Andoh stars as Miss Havisham

Theatre review: Great Expectations, Bristol Old Vic

In Neil Bartlett’s staging of Great Expectations at Bristol Old Vic, you hear the story more than watch it. The chains of the convict, the hammering of the blacksmith, the unhinged humming of Miss Havisham are as much a part of the characters as the costume, expression and lines.

Third of Brits don't know who wrote Great Expectations - can you name the authors of these classics?

A new report has claimed a third of British people do not know the author of Great Expectations. It's Charles Dickens, by the way.

Book review: Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation, By Andrew Lycett

A biography that reveals the yin and yang of Victorian moral life – and a literary friendship

Ralph Fiennes as Charles Dickens

Film review: The Invisible Woman - Ralph Fiennes stars in the love life and adventures of Charles Dickens

Performing admirably both behind and in front of the camera Ralph Fiennes depicts Charles Dickens as a boisterous man so taken with his own celebrity that he believes he can hide his affair with a young actress (Felicity Jones) from the press. This is a film of two strands. As a treatise on how celebrity can delude it is excellent, but Fiennes is initially less sure-footed when dealing with the central secret romance.

Ralph Fiennes as Charles Dickens

Film review: The Invisible Woman - Ralph Fiennes stars in the love life and adventures of Charles Dickens

Performing admirably both behind and in front of the camera Ralph Fiennes depicts Charles Dickens as a boisterous man so taken with his own celebrity that he believes he can hide his affair with a young actress (Felicity Jones) from the press. This is a film of two strands. As a treatise on how celebrity can delude it is excellent, but Fiennes is initially less sure-footed when dealing with the central secret romance.

Review: The Luminaries, By Eleanor Catton

However you read this rangy, enormous, brilliant novel, make sure you do before its scope is crushed by a cinema or television adaptation

Last night's viewing: Who Do You Think You Are?, BBC1
Big Bad World, Comedy Central

Gary Lineker's family is fascinating. But not necessarily the ancestors he found with the help of the crack squad of genealogists in the Who Do You Think You Are? team. More interesting is the world of his brother, Wayne. Wayne – the black sheep Lineker – was once sentenced to two and a half years of bird for tax fraud. He also turned up on ITV's The Only Way Is Essex and runs a raft of Lineker's Bars in parts of the Med usually seen in the backdrop of Sky1's Ibiza Uncovered. The guy's a card.

The one-man plays of Simon Callow

The actor Simon Callow is set to star in a new one-man show exploring the life and work and the German composer Richard Wagner. However, it is not the first time that Callow has taken on a one-man role.

Mishal Husain will join presenters on BBC Radio 4's Today programme

BBC announces Mishal Husain as new female voice for Today programme

Show's stalwart presenter Jim Naughtie has moved to work on coverage of Scottish independence referendum

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US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines