Engaging: Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in the first film of the Hobbit trilogy

First Night: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson

For all the sound and fury, not a great deal actually happens in this initial episode but audiences are bound to eat it up and come back for more

A long slow journey to an abrupt ending

There is a sense of sledgehammers being used to crack nuts in the first part of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. J R R Tolkien's short 1937 novel has been turned into an enormous Wagnerian epic.

DVD & Blu Ray: Downton Abbey: Series 3 (12)

Julian Fellowes's prettier version of Upstairs, Downstairs, above, irritates in a gazillion ways, notably with its absurd script and dunderheaded plotlines.

The Red Arrows pass over the Olympic Stadium

London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony in pictures

Last night's opening ceremony has been lauded as a spectacular, if very British, success.

The real east London: an Olympic view from Hackney

Long before they even began, the London 2012 Games became - in the minds of many - deeply immersed in and reliant on corporate sponsorship. And there were many in Hackney's Haggerston Park, in east London, where thousands of locals not able to get their hands on tickets came to watch last night's Ceremony, who felt that the non-ticketed, non-sponsored party was more akin to the ideals of the original Olympics than the shindig going on just up the road in Stratford.

Comic-Con wraps after four days of pop-art indulgence

This year's 43rd annual Comic-Con festival may be over but die-hard fans of the pop-culture celebration already have their minds on next year's show.

A sponge cake in the shape of a heart? Yes, please. For £10, this cream and whole strawberry-filled treat is yours, along with as much tea as two people can drink, at Peyton & Byrne's café at London's Royal Academy, 3pm to 5pm every day. The perfect thing for a super-sweet first date – or a post- Summer Exhibition pick-me-up. Peytonandbyrne.co.uk

'Green Mile' actor Michael Clarke Duncan hospitalised

"The Green Mile" actor Michael Clarke Duncan has been hospitalised in Los Angeles, a spokeswoman for his reality TV star girlfriend said on Friday.

Black Swan

'Black Swan' lesbian sex scene led to most viewer complaints

A lesbian sex scene helped make ballet thriller Black Swan the most complained-about film last year.

DVD/Blu-ray: 21 Jump Street (15)

Two mismatched rookie cops – Jonah Hill's geek, Jenko, and Channing Tatum's handsome meathead, Schmidt – are assigned to go undercover at a high school to infiltrate a drugs ring.

Anorexic must be force-fed to save life

A High Court judge has ruled that it is in the best interests of a woman who suffers from "extremely severe" anorexia to be fed against her wishes.

Would you trust the people next door with your post?

Royal Mail wants to scrap its "while you were out" cards and leave, say, your Amazon order with your neighbour instead. So no more queueing at some dingy sorting office. Good news, right? But do you trust your neighbour not to shake or take a peak at your new boxset?

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) with Gale (Liam Hemsworth)

The Hunger Games wins four MTV movie Awards

Box-office smash The Hunger Games fought off rivals to pick-up four of the eight gongs it was nominated for at this year’s MTV Movie Awards.

Drink and be merry: Peter Dinklage in ‘Game of Thrones’

Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones, Sky Atlantic

Sandor can't decide whether to protect drippy Sansa or disembowel her. I vote for the latter

Railsea, By China Miéville

All aboard the Medes to hunt moldywarpes

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Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
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Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
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Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
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Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style