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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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent