Arts and Entertainment

The national appetite for art and art spaces seems insatiable. When Tate Modern was unveiled in 2000, two million annual visits were expected; today more than five million visitors a year pour through its Thames-side doors.

Blitzed Paul Delaroche artwork restored for show

Wartime curators bemoaned the loss of a great work when they rolled up the remains of Delaroche’s monumental painting, ‘Charles I Insulted by Cromwell’s Soldiers’ that had been pounded by shrapnel after a lethal bombing raid during the Blitz in 1941 which left the Bridgwater House – where the work had hung – decimated.

The Hoerengracht, National Gallery, London

The National Gallery is the unlikely setting for an artistic re-creation of Amsterdam's red-light district

The National Gallery: An Illustrated History, By Alan Crookham

Archivist Alan Crookham takes us from the gallery's birth in 1838 ( with its sum collection of 38 works) to the appointment of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, its first director, whose grand tour around Europe to amass artworks may leave the current incumbent, Nicholas Penny, green-eyed with envy.

National Gallery: Put on the red light

In a life-size take on Amsterdam's sex district at the National Gallery, there's plenty of sleaze – and puritanism, too, finds Tom Lubbock

Philip Hensher: But that was in another country...

Sometimes, when I'm in Berlin, I seem to glimpse the ghost of a different city inhabiting these same streets. In Prenzlauer Berg, behind the gleamingly restored Jugendstil apartment blocks and chic restaurants serving Sunday brunches, there rises up a shabby, grey street with a single cellar bar; behind the lavish grandeur of Unter Den Linden, the sight of a pathetic shop, its wares pushed to the front, two quiet assistants following passers-by with their eyes. Friedrichstrasse, going in the direction of Kreuzberg, has a slight kink; in the mind's eye a cabin rises up, a barrier, a 10-foot wall, the sign "YOU ARE NOW LEAVING THE AMERICAN SECTOR".

The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600-1700, National Gallery, London

Sacred images pull more punches in two dimensions than in three, as an exhibition both absorbing and repellent powerfully shows

48 Hours In: Helsinki

Art and design are among the many autumn attractions of Finland's compact and elegant capital

Last Night's Television - Framed, BBC1; Hardcore Profits, BBC2

Risqué business

The National Gallery: a short history, By Charles Saumarez Smith

Painting battles in Trafalgar Square

Letters: Democracy in Iran

Iranian elections put UK democracy to shame

Art of forgery: Fakes, mistakes and discoveries at the National

Gallery to stage its first exhibition dedicated exclusively to fakes and mistakes – and, its director insists, they can be a pure joy

Corot to Monet, National Gallery, London

The world's most famous school of painting has a political history that is satisfyingly explained in this clever show

Observations: Night time is the right time

The V&A and Tate have been running regular "lates" – staying open beyond normal museum hours for some time. Now, for one weekend only, more than 130 museums, galleries and heritage sights around the country are joining in, as part of the Museums at Night initiative.

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
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Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick