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To buy a ticket for a hotly tipped play, within seconds of booking opening, requires perseverance and nerve as websites falter, payments vanish and a confirmation finally limps through. The goal is to see a top cast, whose fluency and fluidity is testament to years of determination – getting to drama school, being noticed at the end-of-year shows, getting an audition, getting a part and nailing it.  

Constance Briscoe arrives at Southwark Crown Court

Top judge Constance Briscoe 'lied to police in order to bring down Chris Huhne', court hears

Ms Briscoe is accused of misleading officers, tampering with an official statement and then submitting a fake document to try to get herself out of trouble

Andrea Leadsom is the head of Fresh Start Group

Civil war erupts amongst Tory eurosceptics as the moderate 'Fresh Start Group' attacks 95 MPs who wrote to Cameron demanding vetos

Anti-European Tory backbenchers were yesterday accused by their more moderate Eurosceptic colleagues of running a “side-show” that is distracting from attempts at serious EU reform.

Two men and three teenage boys convicted at Old Bailey of 18 rapes and a string of other offences

Peterborough sex gang: Five guilty of raping and sexually assaulting underage girls

Two men and three teenage boys convicted at Old Bailey of 18 rapes and a string of other offences

Pope Francis addresses ambassadors to the Holy See at the Vatican on January 13, 2014

Vatican faces UN grilling over child sex abuse

Holy See will be questioned on Thursday over its implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

A US Federal judge has ruled against a ban on same-sex marriage in Oklahoma

US federal judge rules Oklahoma ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional

Judge Kern said the state's law is "arbitrary and irrational"

The trend for mephedrone-type drugs is more prevalent among university-age users and older teens

Rejecting the EU plan to regulate legal highs is yet another lost battle in the UK's war on drugs

This proposal would have reduced the income of dealers, and the danger to users

Nigeria's anti-gay laws: Homosexuals rounded up and beaten, rights groups claim

Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act was passed on Monday

The two students were asked to cover their t-shirts at an LSE freshers fair

Student and women's groups write open letter to UN condemning gender segregation in UK universities

Students and women’s groups have written an open letter to the UN to condemn gender segregation at British universities.

A woman has launched a legal battle to

Woman's High Court fight to 'harvest' seriously ill partner's sperm

The unnamed woman said she and her fiancé had discussed having children before he sank into a vegetative state

George Osborne delivered a warning that the EU should undergo reform, halting decline by backing business and curbing welfare spending

George Osborne sounds 'reform or decline' ultimatum to EU

Chancellor suggested UK was ready to press ahead with smaller group of like-minded countries under 'enhanced co-operation'

Sperm samples frozen and preserved in a tank of Liquid Nitrogen

Test case: Woman launches legal fight to 'harvest' sperm from sick partner

Man is being kept alive medically after devastating series of heart attacks and could die at any time, High Court told

Outlook: Dimon in the rough between investors and regulators

Outlook The gloss long ago came off Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan who steered a nimble course through the financial crisis only to get repeatedly tripped up in its aftermath.

A new cocktail of drugs will be used to kill Dennis McGuire

Ohio judge rules death row inmate is ‘not entitled to a pain free execution’

Convicted murderer and rapist, Dennis McGuire, will be put to death using a new cocktail of drugs that could leave him writhing in agony

World renowned lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC to defend Sussex students from exclusion

One of the most famous human rights barristers in the world will be defending three students potentially facing expulsion from their university.

Kanye West is a suspect in another battery investigation after he allegedly punched an 18-year-old boy for hurling racial abuse at his fiancée, Kim Kardashian.

Kanye West allegedly punches 18-year-old boy for hurling racial slurs at Kim Kardashian

West is already facing charges of battery after a separate altercation with a photographer, Daniel Ramos, at LAX Airport last summer

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The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
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Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

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Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
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View of champagne glasses at a beach bar set up along the Croisette during the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17, 2013
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An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?