News

In profit...

$5bn: the cost of saying Donald Trump is a mere millionaire

Businessman sues journalist who questioned scale of his wealth, reports Stephen Foley

Pageant official quits over Miss California move

In the latest twist in a scandal that has rocked an American beauty pageant, a former Miss USA has resigned as co-executive of the Miss California USA competition following owner Donald Trump's decision to let the state's controversial title holder keep her crown.

Last Night's Television: Coronation Street, ITV1<br />The Apprentice, BBC1<br />Rain, BBC2

"We've already watched a lot of television tonight," moaned Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, flinching from the prospect of a marathon viewing of The Thorn Birds with Deirdre. Ken doesn't really approve of television, thinking there are better ways to spend your time, and who could gainsay him given the immeasurably more interesting drama you can get just down the road at the Rovers Return, a kind of Epidaurus with bitter on tap. Dynastic curses, incest, blood feuds and murder are stacked up behind the bar, alongside the pork scratchings and dry-roast peanuts. Last night, for instance, Colin – Rita's box-fresh fiancé – was revealed to have impregnated Julie when she was just 14 years old. Colin, rather unwisely in the circumstances, tried to argue his corner, pointing out that Paula wasn't exactly a blushing innocent at the time, but Rita was having none of it: "What you did is unforgiveable... you abused a child." She then went to sit in the dark in the Kabin, mascara streaming down her cheeks while her friends tried in vain to get her to pick up the phone. Rita declined, which won't really surprise you if you've ever seen her phone, a grim piece of faux-sophisticate tat that looks as if it's been made out of raw liver and prompts me to offer a word of congratulation to that unsung team of geniuses, the Coronation Street set-dressers. Ken, meanwhile, was off down the canal towpath looking longingly at a barge crowned with a stone Buddha, from which classical music was seeping through the net curtains. For Ken, this represents nirvana, and though he turned away from it last night I don't think it will be long before he succumbs to temptation.

Last Night's Television: The Apprentice, BBC1<br />The Speaker, BBC2

"We've had a bit of depression in this boardroom over the last few weeks... it's time for a bit of laughter," said Sir Alan, dispatching the winning team at the end of the latest episode. Something similar might have been said of The Apprentice itself at the beginning of last night's programme. So far, it's been fine, but not exactly vintage stuff... and decidedly short on YouTube gold, the sort of jaw-dropping, did-you-see-that-bit moment that gets a series talked about the next day. Last night, made up for it, with easily the funniest episode so far. The task facing the teams was to brand and advertise a new breakfast cereal, a worthy- looking combination of bran flakes and dried fruit. The teams had to come up with a concept, and a cartoon character that might persuade parents to buy this mixture, and their children to swallow it. The fun started almost immediately. "Has the cereal-killer thing already been done?" asked Philip. His team-mates gently steered him away from that mysteriously unexploited territory, where children's breakfast and mass-murder meets. But that deranged proposal was only marginally more misguided than what he came up with next. Thinking on his feet, which were by now lodged squarely in his mouth, Philip outlined his stab at advertising surrealism, a campaign that centred on the comic potential of underwear: "It's so natural that you feel naked... but with pants!" he said, in a eureka tone of voice. Creative excitement gripped him and he stood to audition the jingle he'd composed to accompany his concept: "When you waaaake up and your belly's rumberling... You've got to dance in your pants till you get your belly filled. If you are off to work or you are off to school, you got to dance in your pants until you get in the mood".

The Speaker, BBC2; The Apprentice, BBC1

If The Speaker hasn't already shaken off most of its audience by now it can hardly be accused of lack of effort. An elimination contest intended to find the best young speaker in the country, The Speaker began, logically enough, with the first sifting of young hopefuls – and the by now familiar vocabulary of knockout television – long queues outside regional town halls, dodgy audition tapes, swing doors batting open to reveal the exuberant or the crestfallen. Where else would you start, you might ask, given that all such enterprises must sharpen to a point? To which one would simply say, "Much later, please." This might not make make sense with the more vulgar manifestations of the talent-show genre, since they relish the electronic bedlam of the opening rounds and the opportunities they offer for judicial astonishment and scorn. But it would have made sense here for several reasons.

Is Sir Alan softening up to make a credit-crunch Apprentice?

The waspish Amstrad boss can be a fearful figure for the show's contenders, so should his producers take some sting out of his tail? Ian Burrell speaks to them

Culture: Who'd want to be in the firing line?

I'm looking forward to the new series of The Apprentice, which begins this week, not least because it will be interesting to see how the format has been tweaked to take account of the credit crunch.

Reality TV goes Starck raving mad

The latest reality TV star is Philippe Starck who is on a mad mission to unearth the best of British design. Annie Deakin reports

Hit & Run: Not an heir out of place

As a couple, Brangelina are worth far, far more than the sum of their parts. So what do you get when you factor in their travelling caravan of six children? Well, it may not be the most scandalous paparazzo shot, but to celebrity watchers, the shot you see here is worth lingering over. It's not often that you get to see the whole clan, in the same place, so unguarded. But yesterday, as they made their way through Tokyo's Narita Airport, none of the Pitt-Jolies had been left with the nannies. It gives us an opportunity to learn a little about looking effortlessly cooler than anyone else in the world ever.

Crunch forces Trump to cancel holiday-home plan

Donald Trump has shelved plans to build hundreds of homes at his proposed golf resort in Aberdeen because of the slowdown in the property market. The US developer's lawyer George Sorial said: "The homes could take several years. We're not going to build anything until it feels right."

Another round of trouble as Trump sues for $100m

After a bruising campaign to build a golf course in Scotland, the tycoon sets his sights on a town in California

One Click Wonder: The Music Drags

With audiences flocking to &lsquo;La Cage Aux Folles&rsquo; and &lsquo;Wig Out!&rsquo;, and a stage version of &lsquo;Priscilla, Queen of the Desert&rsquo; opening in 2009, drag is taking the West End by storm. Here we celebrate the art form&rsquo;s best (and worst) practitioners...

Deborah Orr: Change is what the Scots want too

Glenrothes is not about the Union, even if Gordon Brown likes to think it is

Donald Trump adviser had opposed golf course

An ecologist advising Donald Trump on his planned £1bn golf resort in Aberdeenshire admitted yesterday he did not believe the course should be built on environmentally sensitive land.

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
Career Services

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