Arts and Entertainment Mel B is confirmed as a judge for the next series of America's Got Talent

Could Mel B be to America what Nicole Scherzinger is to Britain?

The Things That Shaped Our Year: The Rise And Fall Of The Spice Girls

From the death of Diana to the birth of Dolly, and from the rise of Bridget Jones to the fall of the Spice Girls - our writers choose the 10 people and events which made 1997 so special

GIRL POWER

Just slogan spice? Or is it really happening?

Film: It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world ...

The World of Spice is a scary place - women rule and men serve only as sidekicks, villains and fall guys. It's not a bad place to visit, Ryan Gilbey says, but you wouldn't wanna live there.

Books: Children's books

It's probably too late now to get hold of a Teletubby in anything other than book form - astonishingly there are still plenty of copies of Laa-Laa's Ball and The Flying Toast (BBC, pounds 2.50 each) around, as well as the Teletubbies Annual 1998 (BBC, pounds 5.50). Two year-olds are addicted to these fat, furry aliens and their horribly jaundiced baby companion in the same way that they were once addicted to Postman Pat and his black and white cat - for hopelessly passe kids, Collins have produced A Special Delivery From Postman Pat by John Cunliffe incorporating three new adventures in a single package (pounds 9.99). The drawback to giving any of these books is that you will be required to read them out loud at some point; discerning adults (or at least those who wish to remain calm over the Christmas hols) should search out a copy of The Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore instead (a new edition of this classic poem, magically illustrated by Christian Birmingham, is published by Collins, pounds 12.99). Children of all ages are entranced by this tale. Persuade them to read it turn and turn about on Christmas Eve, and they will revel in the growing sense of suspense and the old-fashioned world of firelight, snowy moonlit nights, stockings hung up and the distant sound of sleighbells it conjures up.

Have the Spices passed their sell-by date?

What goes up must come down, but the important question is when. Could it really be true that the age of the Spice Girls has passed as suddenly as it emerged?

Advertising Review: How to spice up a campaign

Polaroid

Letter: Boring Spice

Sir: Parents who queue to buy Spice Girls dolls this Christmas may receive a less than delighted response from their offspring. I asked a class of 11-year-olds to invent new versions of worn-out similes. The suggested replacement for "as dull as ditchwater" was "as dull as the Spice Girls".

Nick Leeson's smile

PROMISES LOVERS MAKE WHEN IT GETS LATE by Darian Leader, Faber pounds 9.99

The Way Out Spices: bringing that extra little something to girl power

The Spice Girls are an alarming phenomenon even at normal size. Translated into a larger-than-life dimension, on average 6ft tall plus stiletto heels, they are truly terrifying. Meet the Way Out Spice Girls, not girls but chaps. Spice-in-charge is Tarty Spice, the pouting, gorgeous, Ginger-Geri-lookalike, aka Steffan Whitfield, 27, poured into a curvy little sequinned number, spider-leg eyelashes aflutter. The rest of the team are Butch Spice (Paul Pure, 27, a dead ringer for Sporty Mel); Leery Spice (Karl Taylor, 25, far scarier than Mel B); Snooty Spice (Giles Bishop, 26, better legs than Posh Victoria) and Spice Rack (Mark Hobbs, 19, demure as Baby Emma herself). The Way Out Spice Girls take their name from the Way Out Club in east London, where they first formed the group as a one-off act. Their half-hour cabaret show includes the Spice Girls' repertoire and favourites like "It's Raining Men", "YMCA" and "We Are Family", and their proudest moment so far has been appearing in the real Spice Girls movie. Driving around London in full costume, the Way Out Spice Girls have been mistaken for the real thing; even in clubs, they claim it takes a while for the penny to drop. "People get within a few inches and suddenly go 'Oh no! They're geezers!'" says the ladylike Butch.

Business Comment: Spice fails to make EMI flavour of the month

Sir Colin Southgate has another three years to run at EMI until he becomes Ex-Spice. With the outlook patchy at best, he will just have to soldier on for the time being as Mixed Spice. Despite the phenomenal contribution of Geri, Mel B, Mel C, Emma and Victoria to EMI's bottom line (12 million sales and number one hits in 14 countries) the business as a whole is not firing on anywhere near that number of cylinders.

Five little rich girls

The Spice Girls are a modern marketing phenomenon, put together, passed around, and merchandised like soap

Maoris at war with Spice Girls

Maori leaders are on the warpath after reports that the Spice Girls had performed a traditional Maori war dance in jest. The group infuriated Maori cultural experts by fooling around with the Ka Mate haka - the version of the dance used by the All Black rugby team to intimidate opponents - on a promotional visit to Bali last week.

ELECTION COUNTDOWN : Extra hot Currie may not be so spicy after all

A bid by the daughter of the ex-minister Edwina Currie to become a sexy rival to the Spice Girls began as an elaborate hoax, it was claimed yesterday.

style police; You too can look like Swampy...

...without preventing a single bypass. James Sherwood shows you how

How to be a real man without the spewing

Inevitably, women will expect more from their partners. Are the men up to it?
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee