Arts and Entertainment
 

The BBC has released more pictures of 'Adventure in Space and Time', a drama about the first Doctor Who series.

Philip Hensher: The art of breaking down barriers

Really, he is issuing an invitation to a gatecrasher who is already in the room

Poland 0 Ecuador 2: Delgado on mark as Ecuador shake Poles

The team from altitude showed some attitude. Ecuador provided a shock in Group A, comfortably defeating Poland, and opened up the possibility that they may meet England should both nations qualify for the last 16. Not that, in truth, there should be too much for England to fear.

Serendipity: The singing detective

WHEN IT comes to popularising science, Jim Ottaviani's comic books do an excellent job of telling scientific stories in a fun and absorbing way. His latest, Dignifying Science, is a beautifully drawn series of stories about women who made major contributions to science and technology, but who have been largely forgotten. For example, although Heddy Lamarr is famous for her film career, few people realise that she also invented a missile guidance system.

search engines: Serendipity On the rebound

IN THE 18th century, fishermen on the island of Lovgrund, a few miles off the Swedish coast, noticed that things were not as they used to be. The village elders remembered how seals used to climb upon a particular rock in the harbour, where they could easily be harpooned or shot. But the seals could no longer clamber on to the rock, because the sea level seemed to have fallen and the rock was too high out of the water.

Search engines: Serendipity - Life on Mars

THE UNLUCKIEST dog in history died on 28 June, 1911 in the town of Nakhla, Egypt. According to onlookers, it was struck by a rock from outer space, part of a meteor shower that peppered the region. Despite the dog's death, the Nakhla meteorite was a cause for celebration, because it was to play a major role in the story of extra-terrestrial science.

Books: Foul play in the cuckoo's nest

Is therapy the disease of which it thinks itself a cure? Brian Morton on a novel that makes up its own mind; Scar Culture by Toni Davidson Rebel Inc., pounds 9.99, 247pp

New Year disco giveaway: film tickets & Gordon's Gin

Prepare to boogie like it's 1979 with the National Film Theatre's "Discoland" season of films, sponsored by Gordon's. This glittering selection of dancefloor classics includes Saturday Night Fever (6 Jan) and Carwash (17, 19 Jan), Paul Thomas Anderson's recent Boogie Nights (30, 31 Jan), The Last Days of Disco with Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale (22, 24, 27 Jan), and a special preview of the latest in the current disco revival, 54 (13 Jan). This stars Michael Myers as Steve Rubell in a recreation of the glory days of the outrageous Manhattan discotheque. Other hit disco movies featured are Can't Stop the Music (9 Jan, above), Xanadu (7 Jan, below right), Gay Disco Shorts (11 Jan), The Music Machine (14 Jan), Thank God It's Friday (15, 22 Jan), Disco TV (18 Jan) and ABBA the Movie (23 Jan). We have a case of Gordon's gin plus a pair of tickets to five different films in the Disco season and an NFT membership to give away to one lucky winner. Three second-prize winners will receive a bottle of Gordon's and a pair of tickets to one of the "Disco" films. Twenty runners-up will receive a pair of tickets to a film in the season. For a chance to win, answer the following question: Which former Calvin Klein model starred as Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights? Send your answer on a postcard together with name, address, daytime telephone number and choice of film to: Disco/ Information comp, Promotions, National Film Theatre, South Bank, Waterloo, London SE1 8XT, by Monday 4 Jan 1999.

Lawrence family to give TV Christmas message

THE PARENTS of the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence will deliver this year's alternative Christmas message on Channel 4.

Those uptight young things

The Last Days of Disco 15

Film: The last days of disco

Whit Stillman's films (which include Metropolitan and Barcelona) are defined by their dry wit and anthropological coolness, characteristics which may not seem to lend themselves to a portrait of the disco scene of the early Eighties. That's what makes the director's bittersweet new comedy, The Last Days of Disco (above), so delightful. It isn't caught up in the hyperbole of its subject, as Boogie Nights was; it has other intentions - to dissect, analyse, satirise. It's very cerebral, very funny and blessed with shimmering performances from both Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale.

The Critics: VIDEOS

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (12). Defrosted in 1997 after 30 years in a cryogenic freeze, Swinging Sixties private eye Austin Powers (Mike Myers) picks up exactly where he left off. That's the one joke in this mostly good-natured kitsch-fest (written by Myers and directed by Jay Roach), and thankfully, it's a reasonably amusing one. Myers, who also plays Austin's psychotic nemesis, Dr Evil, is at his nutty best, spitting out one absurdly anachronistic catchphrase after another. The comedy is occasionally juvenile - indeed, the proliferation of robot babes (not to mention the casting of Elizabeth Hurley) is indicative of the film's target audience - but the overall exuberance makes up for it.

Theatre: Let's have no more bleating about the Bush

Yes, London's premier new- writing venue has just suffered a grant cut. But it's also just won this year's Empty Space Award. James Christopher celebrates 25 years of dramatic innovation atop a West London pub.

Beckinsale leaves her mark on a city pavement

Kate Beckinsale is revelling in the success of her new film, Shooting Fish.
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Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
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Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
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By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

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Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes