Arts and Entertainment

chances are that you have spent the past two weeks wrapping, unwrapping and wolfing down the stuff brought to you by people like the cheerful rating whom Horatio Clare calls "N".

A car burns during clashes between residents and Muslim Brotherhood members and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi supporters outside Cairo University

Egypt protests latest: Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel

FCO advising against travel to all regions except resorts on the Red Sea in South Sinai and those resorts on the Egyptian mainland in the Red Sea governorate

Get me out of here - Tuscany, Cornwall, Andaman Sea island

Now... In July, i-escape.com is offering a week at a luxury hotel near Lucca in Tuscany for £519pp. Surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, the four-star Tenuta San Pietro offers an outdoor pool and fine Italian restaurant. Flights extra. i-escape.com

On death row in an Egyptian prison – the retired British businessman who swears he was framed

Alastair Beach meets Charles Ferndale, the convicted  drug-smuggler imprisoned  on the banks of the Nile

Get me out of here - rural Portugal, Mauritius, Egypt

Now... Depart this month for a break in rural Portugal. Sunvil has four nights' B&B at two Pousadas (historic hotels) split between Estremoz and Alcacer do Sal, with TAP flights from Heathrow to Lisbon, car hire and one dinner for £542 per person. Sunvil.co.uk

A scene from 'The Impossible'

DVD & Blu-ray review: The Impossible (12)

Juan Antonio Bayona (114mins)

Hidden Europe: Don't just book it...

Thomas Cook, March 1873

A Grand Canyon-style ocean floor hidden deep under the Red Sea

Navy discovers 250 metre-deep ‘Grand Canyon’ beneath the waves of the Red Sea

The Devonport based ship created 3D images of the canyon, which was found after the ship left the Egyptian port of Safaga

Former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, seeks refuge in Indian Embassy to avoid arrest

The former President of the Maldives has taken refuge at the Indian Embassy in Male after a court ordered his arrest.

Iranian navy flexes its muscles in Strait of Hormuz

Iran's navy has begun manoeuvres in the area of the Strait of Hormuz, where one-fifth of the world's oil passes.

Ian Williams is aiming for a fourth world title this year

Ian Williams makes it five out of five in Monsoon Cup

A perfect opening set of five wins in his opening five races put Ian Williams and his Team GAC Pindar in a strong position for crossing the first hurdle of a place in the quarter finals of the Monsoon Cup in Malaya.

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: What do you know about company we're considering for our anniversary trip?

Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions

Prime Minister David Cameron is considering stationing warplanes in the Persian Gulf amid rising tension in the region

Britain meets Gulf allies over growing tensions in Iran

Saudi Arabia and the UAE fear there may be attempts to block a vital oil supply route

Action against Iran: UK and US hold talks over military bases

Discussions have taken place between British and American officials over the use of UK bases in the event of military action against Iran, Downing Street indicated today.

Publication of photos of Michaela McAreavey triggers family outcry

The publication of crime scene photographs of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey's body by a Mauritian newspaper marks a new low, her family said.

Rescue launched after boat 'carrying 200 asylum seekers' capsizes

A boat carrying about 200 people capsized south of Indonesia and scores were feared drowned today in an apparent attempt to reach Australia to seek asylum. Indonesian and Australian navies launched efforts to rescue survivors.

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Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
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Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
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Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

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Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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The Queen delivers her Christmas message
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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