Arts and Entertainment Comedian Ross Noble whose impression of

Comedian Ross Noble's impression of "elephant man" John Merrick in an edition of Have I Got News For You has been ruled to be "at the margins of acceptability" by the BBC Trust.

Book of a lifetime: The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak

I've given a lot of thought to books that hold a significant meaning for me; the books that have stayed with me long after the final page has been turned. There are many books that have shaped me. To select one feels like an impossible task, like choosing between salade niçoise and buttery mashed potatoes. I love both at different times of the year.

Pic de Bugarach mountain in France

Mayan apocalypse: What now for Bugarach - the French village that will survive the apocalypse

“I am making an appeal to the world – do not come to Bugarach.” Not the kind of pro-tourism message you’d expect from a mayor. But pity poor Jean-Pierre Delord of Bugarach in France, who is putting off visitors who believe his town’s Pic de Bugarach mountain is due to open up and spit out human-saving aliens during today’s Mayan-predicted apocalypse.

DVD: Merlin: Series 4 (12)

"We shan't go to Camelot, 'tis a silly place," as Monty Python pointed out, and the BBC's sword-and-sorcery drama is pretty silly. It's also, however, enormous fun.

A man for all seasons

It's easy to build a classic but current capsule wardrobe. Lee Holmes selects the everyday essentials that will see you through rain and shine

Quiet please: rock gig etiquette

Talking loudly at a pop concert these days can get you reprimanded – and don't even think of spilling your beer. Fiona Sturges applauds the new etiquette

DVD: 44 Inch Chest (18)

Colin Diamond (Ray Winstone), a gangster, spends much of this film snivelling about his estranged wife and struggling to decide whether to kill the French waiter she's sleeping with.

DVD: Outlander, For retail & rental, (Momentum)

Never mind Monsters vs Aliens, the three-word pitch of Outlander is "Vikings vs Aliens", as Jim Caviezel's spaceman crashlands in eighth-century Norway with a fire-breathing beastie in the hold.

Outlander (15)

Alien vs... Viking? You'd better believe it.

FILM: THE STORY OF THE SCENE: `Alien' (1979)

Raised from their stasis-like sleep, the crew of the spaceship Nostromo have stopped to investigate a mysterious distress signal. It's not a good move. In the ruins of an ancient craft in a windswept planet they discover a cargo of giant eggs. John Hurt bends over to peer at one. In a flash, a terrifying organism has attached itself to his face. Taken back to the ship, he remains unconscious until the creature appears to die and fall off. But in the mess hall of the Nostromo he convulses - and a gruesome junior alien bursts from his chest, spraying the onlookers with blood. It's gone down in film legend as the event that Ridley Scott concealed from 28-year-old Sigourney Weaver and her co-stars, hoping to catch real expressions of fear and revulsion.

Film Interview: Alienated? Excuse my French ...

When Jean-Pierre Jeunet got the call to go to Hollywood to direct the latest `Alien' film, he knew it was time to learn some English, get on a plane, and compromise the principles of a lifetime.

Recycled / Where John Lewis met John Hurt

Cavendish Square seems, calmer than other London squares - slightly old-fashioned, less hurly-burly, even cleaner than others; almost a film set vision of London as it is supposed to be. So it's the right place to come across John Hurt, that most versatile, most gentlemanly, most British of actors.

Death in Venice: the remix

Thomas Mann's gay 'Lolita' has been done to death. But one British director was determined to make a film of the novel inspired by the film of the original. And set it in Swiss Cottage. Roger Clarke went on location to find out why

Earthly price for 'Alien' beastie

First seen erupting from John Hurt's chest, the monster that formed the centrepiece of the film Alien goes on sale next month. Those with pounds 20,000 to spend can discover the workings of the puppet that horrified Sigourney Weaver and Hurt in Ridley Scott's 1979 film.
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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