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?

My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall By John Major

The former PM eloquently ties the story of mass entertainment to his family history

Paralympic opening ceremony to feature Stephen Hawking

The Paralympic opening ceremony will be an “exquisite journey of discovery” with Professor Stephen Hawking as a guide, its co-artistic director Jenny Sealey has said.

Phantom singer Brightman 'to become Russia's next space tourist'

British singer Sarah Brightman may be the next paying passenger to ride a Russian rocket to the International Space Station, the Interfax news agency reported today, citing an unidentified official in the space industry in Russia.

Punch and Judy makes comeback

Punch and Judy is making a comeback - but without the violence or dropped baby.

History brought to life: Housesteads Roman fort

Countyfile: Northumberland - Follow the historic trails of the Vikings and Romans

It's the last chance to see a Viking battle at Lindisfarne Priory today (01289 389200; www.english-heritage.org.uk; admission £6.50). "The Vikings Return: Viking Raiders" will aim to recreate the atmosphere of AD793 when Lindisfarne was the scene of the first assaults on the north-east coast of England by these marauders. Rather less combative entertainment is also on offer at this specially reconstructed Viking encampment. See the armour they wore and weapons they used, and there's also a replica of a Viking longship to admire.

Bulllet Catch, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Here comes actor and, for the occasion, raconteur Rob Drummond to tell us a story.

One Minute With: Louise Welsh, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

Callum McClure, 14, from Guildford, Surrey,
first became interested in illusions when
he was eight and a magician came to his
school. He is planning on graduating to the Magic Circle and travelling to Las Vegas and Hollywood

Hey, presto! Record numbers of children signing up to Young Magicians Club

Children see magic because they look for it, it's said, but more and more of them are determined to practise it as well. Once the preserve of men in tuxedos pulling rabbits from top hats, TV magic is nurturing a new generation who want to get down with the kids.

See Cantina for just £17.50

Take your seat for an evening of beautiful, exhilarating and truly breathtaking entertainment.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: There is still a strong case for a republic

I admire and hugely like the singer Billy Bragg, that proud working-class hero. The last time we met, the Queen's Jubilee came up and also my fierce republicanism. Don't fret, said Billy, understand. Royalty is an integral part of British culture. Respect it, as you ask for your culture to be respected. I have never believed any tradition should be above criticism, just because it goes back a long way. But still, Billy, this time I tried, really tried. And then this week the excessive indulgence of spoilt royals, the oleaginousness and uninhibited ostentation got to me. Objections broke out, like hives. And quite honestly it is a relief after the suffocating restraint of the past months.

Knight vision: Medieval magic in Gotland, Sweden

Summer 2012: Family-friendly festivals

Jousting knights and juggling jesters will help recreate the spirit of medieval Sweden at the Medeltidsveckan Festival (00 46 0498 29 10 70; www.medeltidsveckan.se), in the walled city of Visby on Gotland island from 5-12 August. Sunvil Discovery (020-8758 4722; sunvil.co.uk/discovery) has a week from £1,385 per person including return flights on SAS Scandinavian Airlines from Heathrow via Stockholm to Visby, accommodation with breakfast and car hire.

Album: Saint Etienne, Words and Music by Saint Etienne (Heavenly)

The handover between "Over the Border" - a semi-spoken memoir about the powerful hold of pop over the young mind - and "I've Got Your Music" encapsulates everything that's great about Saint Etienne: one minute they're singing about great pop, the next they're actually doing some.

How We Met: Chris Cox and Tim Minchin

'I get frustrated by how good he is, but it inspires me to do better'

Joan Smith: Is this how people should treat their pets?

Dr Johnson was famously sniffy about dogs walking on their hind legs. So I'm not sure he'd have been entranced by Pudsey, the mop-haired pooch whose owner swept up a £500,000 prize at the weekend. Ashleigh Butler, who's 17, has trained her collie-cross to dance on his hind legs, and their barn-storming performance took them to victory in the final of Britain's Got Talent.

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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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there