Cemetery Junction (15)

Imagine Federico Fellini's I Vitelloni set in Reading in the early 1970s and sprinkled with Dick Emery-style gags and you'll come close to the essence of Cemetery Junction.

This is a heartfelt and intermittently funny account of growing up in – and trying to escape from – suburban England. Freddie (Christian Cook) takes a job selling life insurance under stern patriarch Mr Kendrick (Ralph Fiennes in Leonard Rossiter mode). His mum (Julia Davis) and dad (Gervais) mock his middle-class aspirations ("why do you want to go to Paris? There are parts of Reading you haven't seen?").

Phoenix Group settles £500m debt dispute

Phoenix Group, the indebted life insurance group that used to be known as Pearl, has struck a deal with bondholders to restructure £500m of its debt.

No-frills insurance – will it cover you?

As O2 becomes the latest firm to venture into the protection market, Chiara Cavaglieri looks at the pros and cons of cheap deals

Parents struggling to make ends meet

Nearly two-thirds of families with children need both parents to work just to make ends meet, research showed today.

How would your business cope if a key person fell ill?

More than 80 per cent of small businesses have no cover if an important employee is unable to work. Chiara Cavaglieri reports

Superfreakonomics, By Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner

In Freakonomics, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner pulled off an extraordinary trick. They took behavioural microeconomics and the intricate mathematical analysis of very large databases and made a bestselling book of it. Levitt's work is genuinely original, pleasingly rooted in empirical research. It deploys an interesting take on models of incentives and disincentives that recognises how diverse and interactive those currencies are. Dubner gave human form, narrative structure and a good dose of gee-whizzery to the unexpected counter-intuitive results that Levitt's analysis revealed.

How insurers can damage your mental health

A history of conditions such as depression can affect your chances of cover. Chiara Cavaglieri reports

Scottish Widows in court over claims it gave 'negligent' advice to members

Lawyers representing Scottish Widows, the Lloyds Banking Group-owned insurer, will on Thursday make their final arguments in Edinburgh's Court of Session in a hearing that could potentially cost the group hundreds of millions in compensation payouts.

No discount on professionalism: Why Aldi's has a graduate scheme is high demand

Most graduates dread the day when they find themselves wandering the budget supermarket aisles seeking out cheap fortified wine but for Francesca Haynes, 27, it's a dream come true.

The Kreutzer Sonata, Gate Theatre, London

The motion of a train loosens the tongue, confides Pozdnyshev, our companion in a railway carriage for the 85 minutes of this extraordinarily compelling stage adaptation of Tolstoy's great, warped novella The Kreutzer Sonata. In Natalie Abrahami's pitch-perfect production at the tiny Gate Theatre, this figure is a kind of bourgeois Russian Ancient Mariner, compelled to re-tell the story of how he murdered his arguably adulterous wife. She may have been playing more than piano with a newly arrived violinist, who had been a childhood friend of Pozdnyshev. Emphasising the subjective nature of the protagonist's testimony, this couple are seen here fitfully illuminated behind a scrim either making music or love in candle-lit flashes that are like the lingering neuralgic throb of an obsession that has survived Pozdnyshev's acquittal for homicide.

Geithner presses package over dangerous failures

US Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner went to Capitol Hill to press Congress to pass the Wall Street reform package that will allow the government to wind up huge financial firms whose uncontrolled collapse would threaten the entire economy. Members of the House of Representatives financial services committee questioned some aspects of the proposals, including the plan to have companies with more than $10bn in assets repay costs to unwind a firm after it fails. “Most of us don’t die and then buy a life insurance policy,” said Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, saying the funds should be put in place in advance. Mr Geithner said that “would create expectations that the government would step in to protect shareholders and creditors from losses.”

Aviva to make £1.1bn from Delta Lloyd

The insurer Aviva is expecting to make €1.2bn (£1.1bn) from the sell-off of a 42 per cent stake in its Dutch insurance business Delta Lloyd.

Wealth Check: 'I want to buy my own home within five years'

Rachael Greaves, 25, from Cambridge, wants to get on the property ladder, but is worried about her savings depreciating in the current economic climate. Rachael says: "I want to buy my own home within five years." However, without a clear savings plan, she fears it may not be possible. A £30,000 inheritance in shares from her grandfather may help, but it has slumped in value in the last year. Rachael is therefore concerned about the continued risk of investing.

Workers left at risk by employers' cuts to liability cover

Chiara Cavaglieri reports on how you can protect your finances against ill health or accident
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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