News Chris Hadfield has agreed to take on the role of cultural ambassador for Ireland

Chris Hadfield, the singing astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station, has taken on a role as cultural ambassador for Ireland.

Viewers of Lap of the Planet will be taken on a live trip around Earth

Channel 4 to broadcast programme live from the International Space Station

Lap of the Planet is due to air in March with two other space spin-offs planned

2013 - the year in review: The best pop music of the year

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds: Push the Sky Away

Christmas Day 2013 was all about the battle for the other most worthy yuletide delivery: the alternative Christmas message.

Snowden v Bowie v … Kate Nash? The battle of the alternative Christmas message

While Channel 4 located the alabaster NSA whistleblower, several other household names came out of the tinsel

Lone parent for a week – how hard can it be?

Because my wife is off in Austria having her colon cleansed, I have been Mr Mum for the week. To my amazement, I realised that this is the first time I have looked after both my kids without Stacey for more than a day. This was quite shocking to me, but it was my kids who pointed it out. They were clearly concerned about the week ahead and how I would fare as sole carer. How hard could it be, I wondered? Wake up, make breakfast, drop them off at school, mess about all day, pick them up from school, make supper, and send them to bed. If only I'd known.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in 'The Fifth Estate'

On no! David Cameron likes Benedict Cumberbatch!

What happens when you discover that you share the same taste in music and films as the Prime Minister?

Graffiti to promote Arcade Fire's new single

Arcade Fire's new single 'Reflektor' leaks online fuelling speculation it features David Bowie

The hotly anticipated new single from Arcade Fire - an apparent collaboration with David Bowie - was leaked online ahead of its unveiling today.

Video: Andy Gill's Mercury Music Prize

Watch the videos below to take in tracks from some of the 12 artists that Andy Gill believes should be recognised on the Mercury Music Prize shortlist.

The cover of Lady Gaga's new single 'Applause'

First look: Lady Gaga's 'Applause' video

The first single from Lady Gaga's Artpop album was leaked last week in what the singer declared a "pop emergency". What followed was a rush-release of the track, "Applause", last Tuesday, and now the video has finally been revealed.

One minute with: Catherine O'Flynn, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

Adam Buxton

Edinburgh 2013: Adam Buxton's Kernel Panic is comedy for the YouTube generation

If you like to spend your free time laughing at mad, misspelt and hyperbolic comments on web forums, then Adam Buxton's brand of piss-take comedy for the YouTube generation will be right up your street.

Hattie Morahan, actress: 'I love the virtuosity and imaginative chutzpah of Da Vinci's Demons'

Cultural life: Hattie Morahan, actress

'I love the virtuosity and imaginative chutzpah of Da Vinci's Demons'

Tina Turner

Page 3 Profile: Tina Turner, Singer

A fool in love?

<b>Astronauts repairing the Hubble Space Telescope </b>
<p>Endeavour space shuttle, 1993 </p>
<p>The Hubble Space Telescope was sent into space in 1990. Orbiting outside the distorting effects of the Earth’s atmosphere, it has taken the most breath-taking images of our universe. This photograph shows astronauts F. Story Musgrave (on the robotic arm) and Jeffrey Hoffman (inside the shuttle) during the first servicing mission, which repaired a flaw in the telescope's primary mirror. </p>

Update: NASA aborts live-streamed space walk after helmet leak

Astronauts Chris Cassidy and Luca Parmitano will be carrying out routine maintenance on the ISS

Earls Court Exhibition Centre - used for 1948 Olympic Games - to be razed

London Mayor Boris Johnson has approved plans to demolish the art deco Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

Grain Store, Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, London

Lisa Markwell finds a new vegetable nirvana behind an old transport hub.

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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
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A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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