Arts and Entertainment

If there was a "miaow!" button on my keyboard, I'd have worn it out on Sky Living's new modelling talent show. With Naomi Campbell on the judging panel, it could never be less than diva-licious, but The Face set itself apart from America's Next Top Model and even the superb RuPaul's Drag Race with an extra 20 per cent added bitchy. You see, it wasn't just the contestants in competition last night, it was the judges too.

Country & Garden: Look on the bright side

There's no sadder sight than a tight-fisted window box. The answer is to go for a generous splash of colour

Brian Viner's Icons of the 20th Century: No 2: Charlie Chaplin, Comic

THERE ARE those who say that Buster Keaton is the greatest screen comedian of all time. Others plump for WC Fields, some for Jacques Tati. A friend of mine rates Robin Askwith very highly. But nobody was ever more famous for making people laugh than Charlie Chaplin. And never was a comedian more versatile. WC Fields, not a man given to ladling praise, called him "the greatest ballet dancer who ever lived". Sarah Bernhardt described him as "the pantomimist sublime". For George Bernard Shaw, he was "the one genius created by the cinema". Keaton himself rated Chaplin "the greatest comedian in the world".

Tv Preview & Festive Films

Remotes at the ready? Videos primed? Then put your feet up and let Robin Buss guide you through the best of Christmas Week television and film, while David Thomson picks the ultimate Christmas movie

Friday Book: Older but thankfully not wiser


Has Marceau anything else not to say?

THE legendary figure of mime artist Marcel Marceau returns to London this week, but critics are wondering if, after more than 50 years of performing, he still has anything not to say.

TV Review: Doctors' Orders

"Paul has a more recent experience of a home birth" said a confiding voice in Doctors' Orders (BBC1). A coy lilt in the tone warned you not to expect a human infant and, sure enough, the next shot was a cute close- up of a lamb, as pristine and fluffy as an Easter greetings card. It was a reminder that this latest docu-soap has been as carefully engineered to audience desires as any mid-evening main-market drama - indeed Dr Paul Slade could scarcely be improved on if he had been designed by a committee of script editors. He drives a characterful classic MG, wears waistcoats, keeps a few animals on his farm to provide a hairy relief from human complaints and is possessed of a stocky, sympathetic bedside manner. But if Doctors' Orders is Peak Practice with real people it remains a fact that there are still things people prefer to do off-screen. Not many, it's true; last night's episode (the second this week) included the sight of a woman having a mole removed under local anaesthetic. ("Will you send this sultana off for tests?" she asked as it was sliced off. "It's more like a raisin," said the nurse. "No, I think sultana is better," added the doctor, displaying his superior grip of Dried Fruit Diagnostics.)

Found: film Chaplin didn't find funny

A documentary film about Charlie Chaplin has come to light after 70 years. David Lister suggests that Chaplin kept the film out of the public eye because it stressed his working-class origins.

Chaplin family refuse to be made Charlies over the euro

What does Charlie Chaplin make you think of? Comic calamities, an unsteady gait, a bumbling persona - perhaps the qualities of an ideal candidate to promote the European currency. But, as Clare Garner heard, his family have reservations.

How was the art exhibition? Er, moving ...

The other night I was told something shocking. A bloke I know had been along to the Tower of London, a place which - as a Londoner - he hadn't visited for a quarter of a century. Most of it, he said, was much as he remembered. Except one thing. These days, if you go and see the Crown jewels, you do not walk round the glass cases looking for the Koh-i-Noor, or stand wondering how anyone could walk with one of those heavy crowns balanced precariously on her royal bonce. No, you are loaded on to a travelator - like those that carry you to the far-flung modules of large airports - and taken sedately, but inexorably, between the displays and out again. Not that he cared, he said, because he hadn't really wanted to see them in the first place. "Probably paste," he said, carelessly, adding that he had preferred the ravens.

A great hatred of water

MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE: The Life and Times of W C Fields by Simon Louvish, Faber pounds 20

Travel: Deep down it was scary

Days out: The Allan family visits the Black Country Museum. By Catherine Stebbings

LAST NIGHT: Review of Modern Times

Modern Times (BBC2) began as if it was an account of a lottery win - with the delivery of a couriered letter containing a large cheque. Brenda and Steve, its recipients, conspired in the pantomime of mystery (although they must have known as well as the film crew exactly what it contained), and the next thing you saw was the couple in a travel agent, ordering a world trip. At which point, it was revealed that this was the dark doppelganger of the lottery's universal "what-if" question. What would you do if you only had a year to live? "I'm not one of those people who say `Why me?'," Brenda said, explaining how she had traded in her life insurance policies in order to realise her dreams before she died from the tumour in her brain, and, in the phrase, you heard the echo of a jauntier promise about the vagaries of fate: "It could be you."

TV Reviews of Dunblane: Remembering Our Children and Modern Times

Dunblane: Remembering Our Children (ITV) opened with the critical equivalent of a "Keep Off the Grass" sign. A white title on silent black (television's most frequently used code for solemnity) told how 16 children and their teacher had "died" a year ago. And even as you were beginning to take issue with the reticence of that word, your eye caught the end of the epigraph: "This is their film". In other words, it was an act of commemoration, and so effectively beyond criticism. What sort of person would anatomise the flower arrangements on a child's grave?

TV Reviews: Modern Times and Open Rhodes

The best sight in Modern Times's rather esoteric film about rivalry at the upper levels of power-boating (BBC2), was that of Charles Burnett III ripping around the lawn of his country house in his own armoured personnel carrier. Gobbets of immemorial English turf spumed from the tracks as he spun and bucked across the grass, a small boy's fantasy vividly realised. Charles's extravagant 40th birthday party was also featured in the film, a pounds 100,000 affair which he preferred to describe as his "second 20th birthday". But after a while in his company and a glimpse at the interior of his Palladian mansion (photographs of shuttle launches and rocket-shaped table lamps), you wondered whether "fourth 10th" might not have been closer to the mark.


Over the course of 60 years, Christopher Isherwood wrote more than a million words of diaries; after his death in 1986 his companion of 30 years, Don Bachardy, decided they should be published - uncut. As the first volume appears, Christopher Robbins talked to him in the Santa Monica house the couple used to share
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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
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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