Arts and Entertainment Direction and design by Mark Holthusen, words and music by Martyn Jacques, performed by the Tiger Lillies and Laura Caldow, commissioned by Opera North Projects.

Performed by The Tiger Lillies and Laura Caldow

Merry King ready to revel in mud of Chepstow marathon

In keeping with everything else about Christmas, there’s almost too much for the racing fan to appreciate and digest at the moment.

Magic moment: Jonathan Joseph speeds over for the Bath’s decisive try

Rugby round-up: Loss of Andy Goode proves costly for Wasps as Stephen Myler saves Saints

A round-up of Saturday's Aviva Premiership action

Toby Flood, right, has dropped down the England pecking order and moving abroad would dent his hopes further

Leicester's Toby Flood sinks rumours he has already signed for Toulouse

Toby Flood has denied reports that he has signed for Toulouse and will definitely be leaving Leicester. The England fly-half had already been heavily linked with a move across the Channel to join Jonny Wilkinson’s Toulon.

1 in every 105 households in England at risk of repossession or eviction

Newham in London named worst 'hotspot'

John Darwin has reportedly been arrested after he left the country without permission

John Darwin: Man who faked his own death held for leaving country without permission

John Darwin, the man who faked his death in a canoe accident and then handed himself in to the police feigning amnesia, has reportedly been arrested after he left the country without permission to meet a woman in Ukraine.

File image: A devastated young girl has been reunited with her lost teddy following a remarkable social media appeal launched by the woman who found it

Devastated girl reunited with lost teddy bear following remarkable social media appeal

'Roar' had been left on a train during a family trip, luckily it was found by a passenger who appealed to find the owner on Twitter using a series of pictures of the teddy on a night out

Jonny Wilkinson scored his first Heineken Cup try against Exeter during Toulon’s victory

Heineken Cup: Jonny Wilkinson talks up Toulon to his possible successors

Jonny Wilkinson may be famous for fulminating about the solitary moments in a sportsman’s life, but the feted fly-half’s latest reflections on whether he will retire next summer – after Saturday’s  32-20 Heineken Cup win for his club Toulon over Exeter Chiefs – were made with others in mind.

Perpignan were fighting for their lives and seemed to have secured victory with only three minutes to play when Tommaso Benvenuti’s try gave them a 17-13 lead

Round-up: JJ Hanrahan stars with late, late try for Munster

Munster just don’t know when to give up in the Heineken Cup.

Lee Halpin died from Adult Sudden Death Syndrome

Filmmaker Lee Halpin found dead while making homelessness documentary died from Adult Sudden Death Syndrome

26-year-old had been hoping to win an internship with Channel 4

Labour MP Nick Brown's Christmas Card takes aim at Cameron, Rebekah Brooks, Grant Shapps (and a horse)

A Labour MP’s Christmas card has taken aim at Conservative Chairman Grant Shapp’s post on Buzzfeed with a tongue-in cheek design.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said luck governs pupils’ fortunes

Pupils face an 'education lottery' for right opportunities

Sir Michael Wilshaw argues that poverty is no longer the major determinant of whether a child will fail

‘A glitch’ caused disruption at Heathrow (above), Gatwick and Stansted

Backlog of flights could see more airport chaos

Airports must deal with remaining passengers hit by twelve-hour technical glitch

A memorial at King’s Cross, London, to cyclist Deep Lee, 24

Improve local cycling and we'll vote for you, activists tell council candidates

Cycling activists are planning a major political campaign at next year's local council elections to sway results in favour of bike-friendly candidates.

Danny Care scored the third of Harlequins’ four tries

Newcastle 9 Harlequins 35: Well beaten but no bad blood for Dean Richards

There was no dream return for Dean Richards against his former club Harlequins. In fact, it turned out to be a real nightmare as Quins claimed a four-try bonus point victory, with two of them coming from wing Sam Smith and one from Danny Care.

Wonderful Charm (left) wins the Berkshire Novices' Chase from Up To Something at Newbury

Merry King set to bring Hennessy Gold Cup cheer

A roll call of the early winners of the Hennessy Gold Cup reads like a Who’s Who of steeplechasing legends: Mandarin, Taxidermist, Stalbridge Colonist, Mill House and, of course, Arkle, who twice made light of 12st 7lb in the mid-Sixties.

Voices
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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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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Independent Travel
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
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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'