Life and Style Fatale attraction: Brigitte Bardot in her youth

As yet another book lauds women across the Channel, Gillian Orr looks at the truth behind Madame Parfaite: extreme dieting and fear of a pressured, fattist society

Hotel Of The Week: Kempinski Hotel Duke's Palace, Bruges

Guests at this palace expect to be treated like kings

Failed suicide bomber's wife jailed for 15 years

The wife of failed suicide bomber Hussain Osman was jailed for 15 years today for failing to tell police of his plans for "carnage and mass murder".

Ebbsfleet United 1 Torquay United 0: McPhee eyes move after final touch for Ebbsfleet

While Ebbsfleet United are now owned by shareholders sourced through the internet and have a sponsor who can whisk them away to France at a moment's notice, the man who scored their winner on Saturday is altogether less exotic.

If you can't get to the National Gallery... it will come to you

The best most travellers can expect from a departure lounge is a dog-eared copy of a celebrity magazine and lukewarm cappuccino in a cardboard cup.

A train to nowhere: Eurostar passengers endure disaster-ridden journey to Paris

A Eurostar train that left London for Paris on Friday evening finally pulled into Gare du Nord yesterday morning after a night of railway mishaps.

Eurostar credits move to St Pancras for boosting ticket revenues by 25 per cent

Five months ago, Eurostar executives were toasting the rail operator's successful move from Waterloo to St Pancras at the elegant champagne bar in its new terminal. They no doubt broke out the bubbly again yesterday after reporting record passenger numbers and revenues for the first three months of the year – as customers flock to the high-speed cross-Channel service which promotes itself as the eco-friendly transport of choice.

Station change boosts Eurostar

A switch of London terminals helped Channel Tunnel high-speed rail company Eurostar record a big rise in passenger numbers and revenue in the first part of this year, it was announced today.

Family Break: Are you a Fearless, Valiant, or Plucky Gaul?

This year's blockbuster Asterix movie is likely to win the comic character some new fans. Juliet Rix visits the theme park dedicated to the famous Roman-basher

Hotel Of The Week: The Dominican, Brussels

An elegant refuge in Europe's capital city

Something to declare: Europe from your local station; reaching Heathrow; Verbier

Bargain of the week: Europe from your local station

The Weasel: Platform performance

On the first Sunday after Eurostar’s move to St Pancras Station, refurbished at a cost of £800m, I was admiring Martin Jennings’statue of John Betjeman near platform 5 when I was approached by an Irish gent.“Are you a relative?”said the genial chap. “You have a bit of a look of him.” This was an ambiguous compliment. After photographing the poet in 1955, Cecil Beaton confided to his diary: “An Edwardian vaudeville tramp … the anonymity of an oyster.”

Dom Joly: (Minor) heroism on the riverbank

We've got gorgeous river-paths right behind the house that stretch on for miles and miles should the need arise. My dog Huxley, now his testicles have been removed, has only one desire in life: to repeatedly fetch a stick until he can't stand up any more. He starts getting excited at the prospect of a walk at about 5am when he jumps on the bed and licks my face repeatedly.

Weekend, by William McIlvanney

Reeling and writhing
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
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Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
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Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
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The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
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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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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
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