Arts and Entertainment

From 18th-century caricaturists to Desperate Dan, the art of talking in picture-form has a long and (mostly) distinguished history

Laughing all the way to the riverbank

Anonymous bidder pays seven-figure sum for toll bridge – but investment could pay for itself within six years

The 5p toll bridge is sold for £1.08m

A toll bridge over the River Thames was sold for £1,080,000 at auction today.

Manituana, By Wu Ming (translated by Shaun Whiteside)

As a literary project, it looks at first glance like a giggly stunt positioned in some mischief-making space midway between Monty Python and the Sex Pistols. In 2000, a quartet of cultural pranksters and gadflies from Bologna published Q, a historical novel of adventure and ideas set in the 16th century. They chose as their first sobriquet "Luther Blissett": improbably enough, the name of a Watford striker subject to racial abuse after a transfer to Italy to play at AC Milan. Following a quizzical reaction from the real-life Blissett, the group recruited a couple more anonymous writers, picked for their next incarnation "Wu Ming" "no name" in Mandarin and continued to develop a unique brand of intelligent period fiction, with 54 also translated into English.

The truth is out there: 31/10/2009

A weekly look at the world

The Age of Wonder, By Richard Holmes

Holmes's epic biographies of Shelley and Coleridge are dazzling journeys of intellectual exploration. Fans describe them with a delighted awe that very few other biographies manage to generate. Holmes has now done the same for the scientists of the Romantic era.

Wild in Wales: Three men brave the rain in Snowdonia to discover majestic scenery – and some fine food

A Frenchman, an American and an Englishman went for a walk in Wales. The Frenchman was worried about the food. "What do they eat in Wales?" Hervé asked repeatedly. "Are you sure you can eat well in Wales?"

Sarah Sands: Insult America, Russell, but please make sure it's funny

The Americans are the least cynical people on earth, someone remarked to me recently. And so we send over Russell Brand, a comically depraved figure, an MTV Byron, who lewdly insults a virgin boy band and takes on the most powerful figure in the world, the US President.

Leading article: Riding for a fall

Few British MPs have ever been expelled from Parliament and sent to prison. Among the handful were a couple of Jacobites and John Wilkes, the radical hero who fled to America to avoid trial for libel in the reign of George III. Will the Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik be the next to join them?

1789: The threshold of the modern age, By David Andress

A year is a long time in the global movement towards liberal internationalism

Collection paints George III as a monarch mad about art

There are just two things that most people think they know about George III: he went mad and he lost America.

The Information on `Battle Royal'

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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas