Arts and Entertainment

The Good Wife on More4 is in the midst of a reputation revision. Long-term fans of the smart, glossy legal drama, which began its fifth season on More4 last night, often complain it's not given the recognition it deserves. It's true that among crime and law procedurals (TV shows where a problem is raised and solved within a single episode) this is a show of unusual quality. But is The Good Wife really that good?

Tom Hodgkinson: 'We took a TV home. I admit I am weak'

The television is back. Five years ago, in a fit of anti-capitalist pique, I unplugged this instrument of Beezlebub. I decided that I didn't want all its horrors flooding into the family home. I didn't want The X-Factor, CBeebies, Dick and Dom, the Ten O'Clock News or the dreary gloom of EastEnders. Mr Murdoch and his evil ways could stay out of my house for ever. Like Plato, I decided to banish the playwrights and their portrayal of negative character traits from my ideal Republic. My children would grow up unsullied by the false promises of consumerism. Instead, they'd learn useful skills, carpentry and violin.

Totem, Royal Albert Hall, London

Cirque du Soleil has a highly successful formula that surrounds strong, polished circus acts with bombastic glitter and vaguely uplifting sentiment.

A production that doesn't live up to its promise: 'The French Detective and the Blue Dog'

The French Detective and the Blue Dog, Theatre Royal, Bath

In a small town "somewhere between Brussels and Bruges" a trapeze artist disguised as a laundry worker has been murdered. So opens Hattie Naylor's new musical, The French Detective and the Blue Dog, at Theatre Royal Bath's children's theatre, the egg. But this is a production that could have done with a bit longer in the incubator.

The Nutcracker, Coliseum, London

Strip away the outsize costumes and dream noodling, and marvel at the dancing
Murmurs is at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London SE1 (southbankcentre.co.uk), 20 Dec to 2 Jan

Heads Up: Murmurs

The Chaplin family circus comes to town

Surreality TV: the secret other life of George Osborne

A new web-TV comedy with a serious side is a hit – but its subject may not be laughing

Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, London
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker / Jerome Bel, Sadler's Wells, London

Ashton, Macmillan and...Scarlett. This triple bill is a beautiful showcase of British choreography

Oscar and Al Pacino, Radio 4, Tuesday
Schtzngrmm, Radio 4, Sunday

Sorry Al, but you've been outperformed by an old Austrian poet

Holy Flying Circus, BBC4, Wednesday<br/>Mary Queen of Frocks, Channel 4, Tuesday

A dramatisation of the furore over 'Life of Brian' stayed true to the anarchic spirit of the Pythons

Matthew Norman: Who are we to demonise a man who inspires such loyalty?

If Liam Fox became a manager at McDonald's, Adam Werritty would pop up asking, 'Fries with that?'

Pythons annoyed by 'inaccurate' portrayal of debate in BBC drama

It was supposed to be a tribute to one of Monty Python's most famous moments, when the comedians took on religious figures incensed by their 1979 satire The Life of Brian. But the writers and producers behind the BBC's forthcoming comedy drama Holy Flying Circus have angered rather than flattered them.

Stephen King: The magicians of monetarism have very few tricks left up their sleeves

Developed economies are ending up with economic permafrost, where attempts to kick-start growth bump into economic reality

The 'best' joke at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival, according to 3,000 fans

He is a vitriolic stand-up who screams at his audiences – and today he has something to shout about after winning the best joke award at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival.

Sport on TV: Creatures of concrete jungle pave the way for bright future

When the five young street sports fanatics get together on Concrete Circus (Channel 4, Monday) after making their latest viral videos for the web, we're told "they meet in an anonymous urban space in London. No one notices them". Maybe in more innocent times, but now a huddle of hoodies on skateboards and BMX bikes is more likely to be something you watch on CCTV. The narrator is Dominic West, who played the cop McNulty in The Wire, and you expect someone to sidle up and try to score smack off them. For such superficial appraisals, we all deserve a smack.

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German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
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UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

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Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
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Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

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The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

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New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

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Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice