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Early years in Liverpool gave him the perfect voice for John Lennon in the animated ‘Yellow Submarine’ film

5 days in the life of ... Alex Jennings

The RSC actor juggles the roles of Benedick, Hamlet - and Dad

Dance Theatre Reviews: Tales of love and loathing

Dance Theatre: Human Being Arts Theatre

Classical music: So, what's the story so far?

Music on Radio 3

Theatre Review: A beautifully wrapped present of laughter

That Present Laughter has no real ending and that its plot dances on the spot may be Noel Coward's demonstration of the burden of Shakespeare's song: "Present mirth hath present laughter / What's to come is still unsure". On the other hand it might be a reminder that the day cannot be seized forever, that, as the ineffably vain celebrity actor Garry Essendine (42) is beginning to see, "Youth's a stuff will not endure".

Comrades (!), some pointers to a successful career

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold

Letter: Stritch magic

Sir: In his engrossing interview with the fabulous Elaine Stritch (22 November), David Benedict states that Noel Coward wrote Sail Away for her.

Interview: By George!

Why sex, Surrealism and Bessie Smith still work for George Melly. By John Walsh

It ain't over till the fat lady signs

Dame Joan Sutherland, the Sydney-born soprano whom the Italians once called 'La Stupenda', is back in Britain, reminiscing and signing copies of her new autobiography. Nick Kimberley went along to hear her in the flesh

Karen Krizanovich column

It's Saturday. Time to think about how you would like to spend the rest of your working life. For instance, wouldn't it be nice to have a cushy job? Somebody like you should be doing something more glamorous, more fun and, needless to add, something that actually pays the kind of money you're worth. Am I right? Aren't there times when you feel you get treated like a Roman soldier? I mean, those poor guys got paid in salt. Imagine the water retention at the weekends, bingeing on your wages until your sandals didn't fit.

TO BOLDLY GO

Madeira is a potential holiday destination that is often greeted by mirth and cries of 'my granny went there'. But away from the ever expanding tourist zone is a rocky, rugged volcanic island, with a temperate climate, rare plants, a luscious interior, and a certain charm that makes you want to go back and where the fish tastes divine

THEATRE The Cherry Orchard Birmingham Rep

They're late. Returning from Paris, the family's connecting flight from Johannesburg was delayed. Both the location and the mode of transportation will come as a shock to anyone expecting another standard production of Chekhov's masterpiece, but the last thing Janet Suzman's inspired production gives you is the standard line.

Arts: An innocent abroad

The new staging of Puccini's 'Manon Lescaut' at Glyndebourne is a lucid and exuberant affair. By Edward Seckerson

Books: Heartache revisited

DON'T ASK ME WHY by Tania Kindersley, Sceptre pounds 10

Obituary: Cecil Wilson

Cecil Wilson's dramatic and film criticism reflected the man: quiet, courteous, pointed but not stinging, sane not vain, reluctant to be taken in by the latest trend from Hollywood, Sweden or France and rarely caught going out on a critical limb; but a critic to trust.

Mao and Deng are dead, long live shopping

"He who does not get rich is a dumb bear," proclaimed Deng Xiaoping. I'm thinking of having it engraved on the waving Deng watch I bought in Hong Kong recently. My watch - the little Deng smiling up at me, his clock- work arm moving up and down - is a lot more emblematic than all those wailing apparatchiks at his funeral. Sometimes I think all Communism left behind was the misery, the corruption and the kitsch - Gorby toilet paper, busts of Lenin, Che berets, Mao on watches and on walls. "He who does not get rich is a dumb bear." They should have put the slogan on a tombstone for Deng instead of crumbling him up like an old potato chip or a stale fortune cookie.
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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

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Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
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In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

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New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

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Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice