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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Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
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Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
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Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
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Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
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Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
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Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
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Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015