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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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Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
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
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea