Sport Didier Deschamps' France side face a tricky first leg in Ukraine

The clash of giant egos is in Lisbon, the romance in Reykjavik, and the only previous winner under threat plays in Kiev, but perhaps the most intriguing European World Cup play-off begins on Friday night in Athens.

The Thorny question of valuation

The proposed break-up of Thorn EMI has been talked about for so long that if, and when, it is finally announced next week the sense of anti-climax will be palpable. But with Sir Colin Southgate reliably expected to set the ball rolling with Tuesday's third-quarter figures, attention will really start to focus on what the demerged parts might be worth.

PolyGram makes it an eighth year of growth

ROGER TRAPP

The bride and groom wore lavender

Some marriages are made in heaven ... but who did Cary Grant and Elton John think they were fooling?

Too casual to take the limelight

Rock

Once upon a time in South Central LA...

The American cinema - like Molire's bourgeois gentilhomme - has been speaking prose for most of its adult life: it moves within a narrow naturalist mode that's hard-pressed to accommodate high flights of lyric fancy. Unlike the art of the painter, the novelist or the musician, a poet's fragile miniaturism doesn't lend itself to the broad strokes of the big screen; it might work, just, in an arthouse film - Cocteau's The Blood of a Poet, say, or Tom and Viv, but in the multiplex it risks sounding pompous and hollow.

Just one big happy family

Rock

A case of poetic justice

Paul Muldoon won this year's T S Eliot Award. An Irish plot? An establi shment fix? No, says Michael Glover

Key players and bit-parts

Whoopi Goldberg (above)

The post-Janet emperor of yoof: As Channel 4 mops up the audience, BBC Television's new head of youth programmes searches for hits and Street-Porter cred. Steve Clarke reports

John Whiston, BBC Television's new head of youth programmes, has a profound regard for his maverick predecessor, Janet Street-Porter: 'It's very hard to think back to pre-Janet days. It's like before Christ.'

Wales awaits poetic justice: David Lister on the film of a writer's life up for an Oscar

THE EYES of the world will be on stars such as Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis at the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles in eight days time. The eyes of Wales will not.

Mean streets

(First Edition)

COMEDY / Poetic justice: John Hegley has extended his repertoire. Mark Wareham reports

Poetry can be a terrible burden for the stand-up comedian. Many's the performing versemonger who has fallen into the gutter, bloodied and bowed, after attempting to tell a joke. Apologetic to the point of embarrassment, they introduce themselves along the lines of, 'Er, right, we'll get the poems out of the way as quickly as possible and then you can have a good laugh with the other acts.'

York on Ads: No 8: Hi-Tech

UNTIL, say, 1991, the training-shoe sector was the hot one for advertising- agency creatives who wanted to show their leading-edge stuff for the youth market. But in 1992 the searchlight moved to computer games as training- shoe sales and profits hit the slide.

Out of Japan: Poetic justice for a life blighted by sickness and war

TOKYO - 'Not many people could write this book,' said Toshiharu Oseko, without a trace of immodesty. Mr Oseko has published an annotated English translation of 330 haiku poems written by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), Japan's most famous poet. It took him seven long years - remarkable considering the haiku has a set length of just 17 syllables, giving him a translation rate of 2.2 syllables a day. But Mr Oseko, 64, is nothing if not thorough.

Rap star accused after sex attack: Woman claims young singer 'rewarded' his friends by forcing her to be sexually assaulted by them

THE HARDER black rappers try to rise above the violent and sexist images some of their songs project, the more they are pulled down by life, real or imagined.
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
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James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
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filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
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The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
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Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
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Day In a Page

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
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A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

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From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?