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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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Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum