Arts and Entertainment Paul O’Grady, best known for his drag queen comedic alter ego, Lily Savage, has strong views on benefit reform

Viewers complained the comedian's strong opinions were not challenged

National art collection goes online

Around 200,000 oil paintings, representing the entire catalogue of the national collection, are to be made available online.

Cultural Life: Frank Skinner, comedian

Comedy: I liked Roisin Conaty at the Soho Theatre. She won Best Comedy Newcomer at Edinburgh. She was her own support act, so supporting a character she played who was nothing like her real self.

Letter from the editor: A model of impartiality

When I wrote, from my own jaundiced viewpoint, that Manchester had a greater claim to beEngland’s second city than Birmingham, I was braced to expect a torrent of missives from angry Brummies.

Happy birthday, Assembly Rooms! 30 years of Fringe magic

Edinburgh's shabby-chic civic chambers became the spiritual home to the best and brightest comic talents. Carol Sarler can't stay away

RBS hit by FSA inquiry into Coutts

Coutts, the Queen's bank, is under investigation from the financial market watchdog over a fund it sold to customers including TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson, it emerged yesterday.

Gauthier Soho, 1 Romilly Street, London W1 (020-7494 3111)

The long, boozy lunch may no longer be a part of media culture, but you'd never know it from all the new restaurants opening in Soho. Just when it seemed that chain cafés and bars would choke the life out of London's creative heartland, the place has been revived by an infusion of exciting, independently-owned new openings.

'Exile on Main Street' becomes Stones' first No 1 album in 16 years

The Rolling Stones were celebrating their first album number one in 16 years last night, as a re-released Exile on Main Street hit the top spot.

Hit & Run: Saviours of Friday TV?

Perhaps it's the beard wot done it. Adrian Chiles's controversial face fur arguably doesn't cut it on Friday nights when, it was confirmed this week, Chris Evans (pictured, top), will occupy The One Show sofa alongside the sufficiently glamorous Christine Bleakley. BBC bosses expect Evans, the clean-cut (well, clean-shaven) new star of mainstream BBC programming, to sprinkle the 7pm magazine show with a bit of stardust in a new-look end-of-week edition. Expect sharper suits and more purple – a house band, perhaps.

Jew or Pakistani? The bullies don't care

A background of ethnic ambiguity inspired David Baddiel's new film, <i>The Infidel</i>

Frank Skinner to front new BBC2 show

Frank Skinner has signed up to front his first BBC2 series since Fantasy Football in the 1990s.

Baddiel courts controversy with film about 'Muslim Jew'

Comedian says his cinema debut will tackle material until now regarded as off-limits
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John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
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Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'