Michael Caine stars in the Muppet’s take on Dickens’ tale, 'A Christmas Carol'. Keeping the morals of the original story the Muppet’s add a touch of light-hearted frivolity to an enjoyable family film.

The best films to watch on TV this Christmas

For those who couldn't bear another run of Love Actually...

Between The Sheets: What’s really going on in the world of books

Books about royalty were a highlight of 2013, with the birth of Prince George (right) unleashing a right royal deluge of biographies of the young family, picture books of the young family, children’s books with cute cartoon versions the young family ... our favourite was by Nicholas Allan (practically a royal biographer since the huge success of his searingly insightful portrait The Queen’s Knickers in 1998): The Royal Nappy shows regal diapers since Henry VIII’s which, oddly, don’t get a mention in the year’s favourite history genre – the biographies of characters from Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall books. And still they come: Robert Hutchinson’s Thomas Cromwell and Susan Bordo’s The Creation of Anne Boleyn are out in the new year.

Bags more: More than 15 million of us planned to shop during the weekend sales

Hark! Cash tills ring... After one of the slowest build-ups to Christmas, shoppers brave the foul weather to snap up a bargain on 'Panic Saturday'

The country may have been battered by squally wind and heavy rain, but shoppers descended on Britain's high streets and shopping centres yesterday as struggling retailers slashed prices in a "Panic Saturday" fire sale after one of the slowest build-ups to Christmas on record.

Fans at the World Darts Championship keep themselves entertained with the various fancy dress seen each night
Howard's end: no more 'stacking' for planes

Simon Calder: Ho, ho, ho! Christmas cheer to report

The man who pays his way

Win Butler and his Canadian band Arcade Fire will play Glastonbury next June

Arcade Fire confirm Glastonbury Festival headline slot 2014

The Canadian rockers will be playing at Worth Farm in Somerset next June

Dr Peter Capaldi is a real family guy

Inside Television

Andy McSmith's Diary: 2013 - a year of discoveries - from secret gardens to extraterrestrial trysts

It is approaching that time of the year when you take a backward look and think to yourself: what do I know now that I didn’t know a year ago?

Rare 1696 Stradivarius violin worth £1.2m has finally been found by police

Violin which thief tried to sell for £100 sold for £1.4m

When John Maughan stole a violin from a sandwich shop outside London's Euston station in 2010, he apparently didn't realise quite how valuable it was.

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring against Tottenham

Luis Suarez contract will 'take care of itself' if Liverpool can keep improving

Brendan Rodgers wants his side, who are second in the league, to focus on the football

The Great British Christmas getaway: 4m to head abroad for holidays – while the rest of us face a travel and weather nightmare

An estimated 13 million people set to take to UK's roads from 24-26 December

The brothers, known for their catchphrase “To me, to you”, will sit it on lunchtime news conferences at Northern Echo

The Chuckle Brothers to guest edit regional newspaper the Northern Echo

The brothers, known for their catchphrase “To me, to you”, will sit it on lunchtime news conferences at Northern Echo

Council Christmas card warns London tenants to 'pay your rent'

Postcard advises tenants not to 'overindulge' over the festive period

The Great British Bake Off Christmas Special, BBC2 - TV review

The Bake-Off turns into a bit of a bunfight, but Hollywood shows his star quality

10 best last minute crafty Christmas gifts

There's still time to snap up a crafty gift for Christmas that will look great and keep little ones busy in the holidays

Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
Arts and Entertainment
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Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
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Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

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Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
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One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?