News Apologising for using the word to describe her white son, Madonna claimed that it was meant as a term of endearment

After initially dismissing as 'haters', those who criticised her for using the racist term to describe her white son, Madge later said sorry

Lara Pulver with Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes mystery: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's estate and the case of character licencing rights

Sherlock Holmes would have unravelled the case in a heartbeat. Yet so far there is no explanation as to why the estate of the fictional detective’s creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has failed to fight a lawsuit in the US that could leave it out of pocket.

Watch the winning entries from a stranger sort of student filmmaking competition

Can recycling might be something of a whimsical subject, but when the can-making industry decided it wanted to sponsor a competition for budding student cinematographers, they got an incredible response.

Housing: Bovis warns over boost for lending

A new price bubble could be fuelled by government initiatives to prop up the housing market, the chief executive of Bovis Homes warned today.

Too much hanging around: 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol'

Cut! Why it's time to snip the bloated blockbusters

Today's action films are way too long to be truly enjoyable, says Daniel Bettridge

Samantha Cameron was behind Smythson's Nancy bag and its red diary which is in a new Sherlock Holmes film, starring Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr

How is Samantha Cameron breaking into Hollywood? Elementary, my dear Watson

Smythson – the upmarket stationery firm that employs PM's wife – turns to product placement

How is Samantha Cameron breaking into Hollywood? Elementary, my dear Watson

Smythson – the upmarket stationery firm that employs PM's wife – turns to product placement
Zoë Kravitz

Screen Talk: Beginning of the end

Given the apocalyptic weather and natural disasters that hit parts of the world in 2011, many movies in development reflect harsh prospects for humans on earth.

‘Getting back into football sorted me out,’ says Vinnie Jones

Vinnie Jones: The caring side of bullet-tooth Tony

The Brian Viner Interview: No, Vinnie Jones has not gone soft living in La La Land, but he helps newly-arrived Brits in Hollywood, wants to curb anti-social behaviour and has a plea for his old mate Gazza

Two's company: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson in 'Sherlock'

The case of the amazing reinvention: On set with the stars of TV’s Sherlock

Even his creator failed to kill the world's greatest detective, so it's no surprise that he is back, most notably in the new series of the BBC's acclaimed updating. Gerard Gilbert goes on set with its stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman

Madonna gets ready to cause a commotion in Venice

The star's latest film will premiere at this year's festival. Kaleem Aftab reports on the rumours of a troubled production

Last Night's TV: Seven Dwarves/Channel 4</p><p>Wilfred/BBC3

When Channel 4 announced that it was dropping Big Brother two years ago the Channel's head said that filling the hole it left in the schedules would involve "the most fundamental creative overhaul in our history". So, what are they treating us to in the week that Channel Five throws open the doors to the Big Brother house for the first time? One of the "event dramas" they promised?

Minor British Institutions: Pyjamas

Pyjamas have seen something of a revival these past chilly winters. Not the mimsy ones in pastel colours whose principal existence now is in the parallel world of modesty-conforming television bedrooms, but the full flannel, with stripes, cord and top pocket (for your hanky, of course). What could be more comforting and more secure (so long as you've tied the cord properly) while the ice grips and the wind whistles without?

It's hip-hop's turn to hijack scrabble

When did Scrabble get so twee? Everyone's favourite word-game has been hijacked by the indie-pop crowd that shows no signs of relinquishing "Scrabble Sundays" and DIY letter-jewellery. Isn't it time that verbally dextrous hip-hop claimed a triple-letter-score or two?

Guy Ritchie's home taken over by squatters

Guy Ritchie's £6 million London mansion has been taken over by squatters.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment