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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The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
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Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
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How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
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Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
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Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
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Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
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Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
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A new American serial killer?

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Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

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Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year

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Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?