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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The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

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End of the Aussie brain drain

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Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

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Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

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Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

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Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
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Join the tequila gold rush

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Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

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