Arts and Entertainment

Warmth and wit light up this festive box of delights 

Nelson Mandela's funeral plans: 'Nicole Scherzinger to sing'

The former Pussycat Doll apparently met with the late South African president’s daughters at the Mandarin Hotel in London, where they are said to have discussed the potential appearance

Scilly season: The year's first daffodils can be tracked back to the pharaohs

I got a letter this week from Churchtown in the Scillies. I love this letter – it's one I get every year in November, as the Julian family gears up its daffodil farm for a winter of blooming and picking, boxing and despatching.

Page 3 Profile: Gareth Malone, choirmaster

Oh, that man from the TV

Album: The Polyphonic Spree, Yes, It's True (Good Records)

Back after a hiatus, The Polyphonic Spree, the overpopulated Aquarian choir led by Tim DeLaughter, have undergone a subtle shift in direction.

Abiona Omonua and Cynthia Erivo in The Color Purple the musical

Theatre review: The Color Purple, Menier Chocolate Factory

Menier Chocolate Factory, London

Album review: Garrett Lebeau, Rise To The Grind (Music Road)

Austin, Texas-style country-meets-soul, with composer/singer Lebeau, a Native American Shoshone tribesman who grew up on a Wyoming reservation, backed by three star sidemen in Roscoe Beck, JJ Johnson and Red Young.

Album review: Mavis Staples, One True Vine (Anti-)

With One True Vine, Mavis Staples reprises the collaboration with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy that created 2010’s hugely successful You Are Not Alone, with even more spectacular results. The two work with an ease and assurance that allows the producer to bring out the best in Staples’ smoky, impassioned delivery.

Play of the week: Let the Right One In, Dundee Rep Theatre

At odds with its summer premiere, the National Theatre of Scotland’s adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s supernatural coming-of-age novel – later adapted for the cinema – brings the chill of a northern winter to the theatre.

Lord Digby Jones was interrupted by Wanda Jackson’s yodelling

Lord Digby Jones Radio 4 interview is 'yodel bombed' by Wanda Jackson in glitch

It was enough to make listeners think they were still dreaming: a live segue from a worthy discussion to a yodelling woman. But Sunday’s on-air glitches on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House were very real.

Cultural life: Rufus Norris, Director

Theatre

Van Dyke Parks, Songs Cycled (Bella Union)

Album review: Van Dyke Parks, Songs Cycled (Bella Union)

Van Dyke Parks deals in Americana of a different vintage to most musicians. In some ways, he's closer to Charles Ives than Hank Williams or Robert Johnson, his work redolent of an earlier, smalltown America, but viewed through a distorting mirror.

The Child Of Lov, The Child Of Lov (Double Six)

Album review: The Child Of Lov, The Child Of Lov (Double Six)

The Child Of Lov is Cole Williams, a reclusive bedroom soundscaper flushed into the open courtesy of this debut album, which marries disjointed beats with hoarse, high soul vocals.

George Beverly Shea Gospel, singer revered around the world

George Beverly Shea: Gospel singer revered around the world

The evangelical preacher Billy Graham said, “I would rather hear Bev Shea sing than anyone I know”, and Shea was an integral part of his crusades, performing with Graham at huge arenas and effectively preparing the way for his addresses. He modestly said that he was never the main attraction, but he sold millions of albums and became the world's leading gospel singer.

George Beverly Shea has died aged 104

Baritone George Beverly Shea dies aged 104

George Beverly Shea, whose booming baritone voice echoed through stadiums, squares and souls during a decades-long career with evangelist Billy Graham, has died aged 104.

Album: Roger Beaujolais Quartet, Mind the Gap (Stay Tuned)

An umpteenth album of mobile, articulate, mellifluous small-group modern jazz by the London-based vibraphonist, in train with Robin Aspland (piano), Simon Thorpe (bass) and the redoubtable and, on this occasion, delicate Winston Clifford (drums).

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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss