Voices

To buy a ticket for a hotly tipped play, within seconds of booking opening, requires perseverance and nerve as websites falter, payments vanish and a confirmation finally limps through. The goal is to see a top cast, whose fluency and fluidity is testament to years of determination – getting to drama school, being noticed at the end-of-year shows, getting an audition, getting a part and nailing it.  

Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in the first Back to the Future film in 1985

Back to the Future musical to hit London's West End in 2015

Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale are reuniting with Jamie Lloyd directing

Nathan Filer, winner of the 2013 Costa Book of the Year

Costa Book of the Year: Debut novelist Nathan Filer is shock winner of prestigious prize

33-year-old upsets the odds with his novel 'The Shock of the Fall' - the story of a teenager's descent into mental illness

Police captain supports claims that family was tormented by 200 demons as eerie picture of figure on porch of empty house emerges

Latoya Ammons, who is a mother of three, told authorities that demonic spirits caused her 9-year-old son to walk backwards on a hospital ceiling

The cruise liner Lyubov Orlova, shown here among ice in Antarctica, has been drifting without a crew in the north Atlantic for the past year

Lyubov Orlova: Ghost ship carrying cannibal rats 'may have sunk'

UPDATE: Experts say the cruise liner, adrift in the north Atlantic, may have succumbed to stormy weather conditions

Neil Wallis, who gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in 2012, criticised the police investigation

Cleared former NOTW deputy editor Neil Wallis questioned further by police over hacking

Scotland Yard said Mr Wallis 'was interviewed under caution in connection with suspicion of conspiracy to illegally intercept voicemails. He was not arrested'

Natalia Osipova plays Giselle in the Royal Opera House's production with Carlos Acosta
Gregory and Sandi Leeson are thoroughly creeped out by their 113-year-old Victorian home; they have described their home as 'slightly haunted'

The ghost of an idea: Couple advertises home as 'slightly haunted'

Faced with a scary housing market, one American couple has found a novel way to attract interest

Hiroo Onoda: Military officer who refused to believe that Japan had lost the Second World War and stayed in the jungle for 29 years

Hiroo Onoda was a former Japanese intelligence officer, an imperial soldier for whom absolute loyalty and devotion to Emperor Hirohito and his country were paramount in his philosophy, so much so that he refused to surrender following Japan’s defeat in 1945. He remained hidden for another 29 years.

In the spotlight: Brit Award nominee John Grant

The week in music: How I'd love to see John Grant win at the Brit Awards

This year's Brit Award nominations highlight the strength of new music, with breakthrough acts Bastille, Disclosure and Rudimental dominating the British Group and Album categories.

Two unseen books by Stella Gibbons to be published 25 years after her death

The two novels have been revealed by Gibbons' daughter

Garcia's ghost goal: In another duel with Liverpool, Chelsea lost in the Champions League semi-finals with a disputed goal from Luis Garcia. “It was a goal that came from the moon,” said Mourinho, who never acknowledged the goal in the future

Luis Garcia retires: A look back at the former Liverpool favourite, including his 'ghost goal' against Chelsea in the Champions League

The Spaniard played an integral role in Liverpool's Champions League triumph in 2005

Tim Minchin's new project is a musical adaptation of Groundhog Day

Tim Minchin to adapt Groundhog Day for the Broadway stage

The Matilda composer is working with screenplay writer Danny Rubin

The new rules were driven largely by the number of complaints made over 'The Woman in Black'

British Board of Film Classification to rewrite its guidelines after recent complaints

Censors will address the psychological impact of horror, that context of strong language and sexual content in films

Mikhail Kalashnikov posing with the first model of his legendary AK-47

Revealed: The dying remorse of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the man who made 100m rifles

He always said he had no regrets about inventing the AK-47. But in the days before his death he may have had a change of heart

Review: 'The Lie' by Helen Dunmore

A Great War novel that traverses themes of delayed trauma and survivor guilt

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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
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