Arts and Entertainment From left to right: Felicity Denham (last seen by Covers shivering in the freezing cold press tent at the Hay Literary Festival), Becky Short, Daniel Freeman, Tory Lyne-Pirkis (who knows the rules of polo and makes a freakishly good Queen), Steven Williams (CEO), Fiona Marsh and Tony Mulliken (chairman, aka the Prince of Wales)

What's really going on in the world of books

All My Sons, Apollo Shaftesbury, London

"Will you stop talking like a civics book," growls one of the characters in Arthur Miller's 1947 play All My Sons.

Leading article: Love hurts

What is the "worst thing that has ever happened" to the British acting profession? Was it the murder of Christopher Marlowe? Maybe the 1737 Theatrical Licensing Act, which empowered the Lord Chamberlain's Office to censor plays? Perhaps it was the Carry On films?

Cultural Life: Hilary Spurling, writer

Books: I'm reading slowly and with great pleasure 'The Hare with Amber Eyes' by the ceramicist, Edmund de Waal – part family memoir, part Proustian confession, subtle, spare and elegant, like his pots. The one I most want to read is Candia McWilliam's new book, another memoir, still not quite finished, but I heard her talk about it so brilliantly that I've been on tenterhooks ever since.

Suchet may take Poirot to West End

For the past two decades, he has delighted British audiences in living-rooms up and down the country with his televised portrayal of the world's most famous Belgian detective.

How We Met: Nica Burns & Thelma Holt

'I was climbing a pyramid when she rang: "Darling, it's Thelma, we have to help David Suchet"'

Bored with biopics

Life stories are taking huge chunks of drama budgets – but they are largely safe and unchallenging television, says Gerard Gilbert

Solved: The mystery of forgotten Christie play

The queen of detective fiction turned her uneasy relationship with her daughter into a ' brutal' drama - and now it's on the West End

Gamers in the US
go crazy for www

The evenings are drawing in and fear stalks the nights. Well, it does if the number of mystery games coming out on the DSis anything to go by.

Clive Parsons: Producer who worked with Alan Clarke, Bill Forsyth, Lindsay Anderson and Franco Zeffirelli

The producer Clive Parsons was one of the first to bring to cinemas a gritty, unflinching take on British life in the last quarter of the 20th century when he spotted the opportunity to remake the banned television play Scum for the big screen. This brutal exposé of life inside borstal, written by Roy Minton and depicting violence by both young offenders and warders – including a suicide and a male rape – was dropped from the BBC's "Play for Today" slot in 1977.

The curious case of the author who would not die

The characters are cardboard, the plots rely on chance and the settings are implausible. But no one can resist an Agatha Christie, says Barry Forshaw

Complicit, Old Vic, London<br>Mrs Affleck, NT Cottesloe, London<br>Private Lives, Hampstead, London

A new play about political shenanigans in America has been pipped to the post by the new presidency

My Week: David Suchet wins an Emmy

The actor goes to New York for the International Emmy Awards &ndash; and is stunned to be honoured for his portrayal of Robert Maxwell

Fortitude: Mark Damazer on what it takes to run the BBC's flagship radio network

With his double-starred first from Cambridge, the controller of Radio 4 is not just an egghead but a man of eclectic tastes. As a Channel 4 rival threatens, Mark Damazer tells Ian Burrell of his love for baseball, Bruce Springsteen and his revered network
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Day In a Page

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
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