News

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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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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