Keith Allen: From Comic Strip to the Croisette

He made his name as a stand-up, became an infamous party animal– and earned acclaim as a serious actor. Now he's turned movie director, with a controversial documentary about Princess Diana

Hirst and friends in bid to buy Chelsea boatyard

Leading lights from art and commerce including Britain's wealthiest artist, Damien Hirst, are leading a bid to own a historic London boatyard in one of the capital's most salubrious postcodes.

Christopher Hirst: America still can't handle the truth

For those who are old enough, the violent deaths of the two brothers remain momentous markers in our lives

The Portrait, Grand Theatre, Leeds<br/>The Schubert Ensemble, Wigmore Hall, London

Musically, Opera North's Weinberg revival is subtle and tautly sung. Visually, though, it tries too hard

Personal view of Warhol to fetch &#163;5m

An Andy Warhol self-portrait from 1967 went on public display yesterday for the first time in 37 years.

Artists reveal the book that has shaped their thinking

If you were to recommend the one book to a friend that has shaped your thinking what would it be? That's the question that the Other Criteria shop in west London posed to eight artists.

Modern British Sculpture, Royal Academy, London

Moore and Hepworth aside, our Modernists persistently failed to hit the target

Modern British Sculpture - picture preview

The Royal Academy's latest blockbuster exhibition, Modern British Sculpture, features cutting edge works by Anthony Caro, Damien Hirst and Barbara Hepworth. To give you a taste of what to expect from the show, which opens to the public on Saturday, we've brought you a picture preview.

Christopher Hirst: It takes a star to pull off a white suit

White clothing becomes a different colour shortly after you've put it on. In the grime of London, this period is less than 10 minutes

Dylan Jones: 'Damien Hirst&rsquo;s enormous workshop makes Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons look like amateurs'

Now, I don't tend to do guided tours. Don't like the idea of having my hand held while I move from exhibit to exhibit, room to room. Once, 18 years ago, I wangled a trip to New York just so I could see the Matisse exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and I remember being shocked at the lines of visitors, glacially moving from exhibition space to exhibition space, dutifully listening to the catalogue headsets, and nodding earnestly, almost as one.

Hirst creates mini diamond skull

Damien Hirst has created a controversial new version of his £50m diamond-encrusted skull.

Mat Collishaw: An artist in full flight

With shows at the V&amp;A and his new gallery, one-time YBA Mat Collishaw has finally come of age

Back out of the vault: secret life of the skull

Hirst's &#163;50m creation is on display again. But where for the love of God has it been hiding?

Blaze of glory: Building a bonfire is one of autumn's great joys

It's also a useful way to prepare the garden for winter
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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
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'