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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Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
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The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform