Arts and Entertainment Angela Lansbury is set return to the London stage after a hiatus of almost four decades

The actress will return to the Gielgud Theatre where she made her debut

Sarah Sands: The great British blockbuster – big, bold and brilliant

As I skipped to the Van Gogh exhibition at the Royal Academy last week, I experienced that first-day-of-the-sales feeling, excitement hardened by determination. Not only was I going to see one of my favourite painters, but he was everyone else's favourite. The world was converging in its taste, if not in its pronunciation. It was a blockbuster.

Jean Simmons, Olivier's Ophelia, dies at 80

After Shakespeare and Dickens, she went on to Hollywood stardom

Actress Jean Simmons dies aged 80

Jean Simmons, the stunning beauty who sang with Marlon Brando in Guys and Dolls and was Ophelia to Laurence Olivier's Hamlet, died today.



Keira hits the stage

The actress joins a long line of movie stars trying their hand at theatre as she makes her West End debut next week. How will she fare?

Twelve TV treats of Christmas

Gerard Gilbert peeps under the bonnet in 'Cranford' and takes a trip with the Time Lord in a selection of the best yuletide viewing

Observations: Cold comfort at the Globe's open-air Christmas show

Do you fancy an open-air Christmas show this year? If so, head to Shakespeare's Globe, which will be hiring out blankets for its first Christmas production. For those prepared to brave the cold, Footsbarn's Christmas Cracker is inspired by the complete works of Shakespeare. But is, fortunately, a short show – just two half-hour acts and an interval, during which the audience can snuggle up with some mulled wine or steaming hot food. "There's nothing more bananas than doing a show at Christmas in a theatre without a roof, so it seemed like a good idea to find a company like Footsbarn who embody the ridiculousness to fill it", says Dominic Dromgoole, the artistic director of the theatre.

Vyacheslav Tikhonov: Actor best known for playing Soviet spies in a career spanning 60 years

Over a 60-year career as an actor, Vyacheslav Tikhonov played heroic and aristocratic roles, but he was best loved for playing spies. The highlight was the cult television series about the last days of the Second World War, Seventeen Moments of Spring (1973). In the 14-hour television series, he played Max Otto von Stirlitz, a high-ranking German officer who is actually a Soviet spy. Tikhonov brought to the role a quiet authority, which, with his good looks, and fine light tenor voice (several films gave him the opportunity to sing), turned him into something of a sex symbol.

Sarah Sands: Women love him. Men love him. Whishaw has it all

The reason Kate Moss timelessly endures as a model is that you never tire of her face, although you see it everywhere, every day. I have the same response to Ben Whishaw, who won an Emmy last week for his role in the BBC's Criminal Justice series. He is acting incarnate, not so much a performer as a lightning conductor for drama.

Hit & Run: Pleased to meet flu

That greatest of Christmas traditions – kissing – is under threat as Britain's leading authority on etiquette fears sloppy smackers under the mistletoe could lead to a festive outbreak of swine flu. Far better to clash cheeks than lips, says Debrett's, but even a chaste handshake is risky. So as the party season approaches, how is an amorous uncle or Kenneth from accounts supposed to navigate this greetings minefield without being blown into a snotty swine flu lockdown?

Rupert Penry-Jones: 'It's nice not to be chasing a bad guy'

Rupert Penry-Jones is grateful to be TV's most famous spy, and with a play set to open, he isn't worried about being typecast

Robin Scott-Elliot: Real and fantasy football collide on streets of Raith

View From The Sofa: Off Kilter/Champions Trophy/Carling Cup, BBC 4/Sky Sports/BBC 1

John Simm: 'I don't mean to seem cocky'

He's known as the star of television dramas 'Life on Mars' and 'Dr Who'. Now the actor is returning to the West End stage

Afterlife, By Sean O'Brien

Dead bodies, Hell's Angels and 'The Wicker Man': who knew modern poets had such dangerous pasts?

Christina Patterson: Society isn't broken, it's just become self-centred

Was it inevitable, after 18 years of me, me, me, that we’d all bow to the new god, Choice?
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Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
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Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
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footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
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Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
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Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities