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

The Bank Job (15)

The enigma of David Mamet

David Mamet's latest play has been panned in New York. But a UK revival of Speed-the-Plow, starring Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum, reminds us of his astonishing powers, says Paul Taylor

The Third Leader: Six of the best

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobics: don't panic! Yes, well, right, that's easy for me to say, but then I don't suffer from a morbid fear of the number 666, arising from its association with the Beast, the Antichrist, the Apocalypse, children with rude stares and some truly horrific rock bands from whom no live chicken or kohl merchant was, or is, safe. There was also something to do with a TV advertisement for aftershave, but I might be confused about that.

REVIEW: THEATRE - The sins of the father

Man and Boy Duchess Theatre London oooo9

Pick of the Day: Radio

THE ACTOR David Suchet, currently starring as Salieri in Amadeus, talks about his musical Private Passions (12noon R3) and chooses a piano concerto by the maligned composer.

Books: Spoken Word for Xmas

Browsing in a bookshop is one of the best ways of solving tricky present problems, and now that most good bookshops have substantial offerings on audio Santa's life is even easier. Starting with the smalls, Babe in the City (HarperCollins, pounds 6.99), Dick King-Smith's sequel to the hugely enjoyable Babe will be a treat - and prepare them for the film. For slightly older children (and their parents), Martin Clunes reading Jeremy Strong's The Hundred Mile an Hour Dog (Penguin, pounds 7.99) will go down well. A Christmas must is Alan Bennett's placidly commonsensical reading of J M Barrie's Peter Pan (BBC, pounds 8.99) his calm makes the matter-of-fact magic of the tale the more absurdly real. And look out for Ivory Shell's series of highly collectable classic children's stories from countries all round the world, available either in ordinary pictorial plastic cases or very attractive gold-lettered gift boxes, both at pounds 6.99. I especially enjoyed the Egyptian and Aboriginal Tales.

Theatre Review: Amadeus

Amadeus

Theatre: Divine or obscene?

AMADEUS THE OLD VIC LONDON

Television Review: The Mrs Bradley Mysteries

EVERYTHING WAS as it should have been in The Mrs Bradley Mysteries (BBC1). We were in a country house in the early 1920s where the owner was called Bing, the housekeeper was built like a menhir, the scullery- maid was hot to trot and there was a penniless cad on the prowl who looked like a young Nigel Havers.

FIRST CALL LAST CALL

The darkly humorous writing talent of Peter Shaffer meets the directorial nous of Sir Peter Hall in the Old Vic's production of Amadeus in October. David Suchet (right) demonstrates the versatility of his acting as the bitter and jealous Salieri, following his recent stint as a hen- pecked husband in the Almeida production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Michael Sheen, the RSC's most recent Henry V, plays the obnoxious child prodigy corrupted by the wild pleasures which accompany his newfound acclaim. This is one that theatre buffs shouldn't miss.

Leading article: Unsolved mystery

Leading article: Unsolved mystery

Theatre review: Family reunion

Saturday, Sunday... and

Television: I've got my period drama on

ITV SEEMS to have developed a straightforward criterion for the production of its drama classics: they'll do it if it has a woman's name in the title. In the last 18 months we've had Emma, Rebecca and Jane Eyre. It would be nice to think that Justine, Lolita and The Second Mrs Tanqueray were on their way, but in the meantime, I was more than happy with Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Sun & Mon). This was not just because Justine Waddell made as good a Tess as we're likely to see - obstinate, honourable, bewildered and distraught - or that hot new acting property Oliver Milburn was just born to be Angel Clare (read Hardy's description of Clare if you don't believe me). It was also because some of the difficult things were got right. In particular, a necessary sexual atmosphere was well invoked before Tess was ravished by the moustachioed Alec D'Urberville, helping to explain her momentary ambivalence to his advances.
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried