Student

If you have to sit them, you may as well try and pass them too...

Projectile dwarf case thrown out

Bosses take lessons in comedy

THE ART of stand-up comedy is the new weapon in the battle for corporate success. Jongleurs, the comedy club chain, is to offer lessons to executives who think that a sense of humour might give them a competitive edge.

The Knack: HOW TO JUDGE A BOOK

BY NATASHA WALTER, 1999 BOOKER PRIZE JUDGE

Burger revamp

PLANET HOLLYWOOD, the hamburger chain whose investors include film stars Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, is filing for bankruptcy protection in the US as it plans a $30m (pounds 18m) rescue package to revamp the company. Planet Hollywood's founder and chief executive Robert Earl plus major investors Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, of Saudi Arabia, and Singaporean property magnate Ong Beng Seng will contribute to the rescue. In return they will receive a 70 per cent stake in the reorganised company. The group ran into financial problems after expanding too quickly in 1996 and 1997.

Film Studies: Once a movie-maker, always a money-grubber

The greatest failing in how we think about the movies has always been in under-estimating the money. Not just the amounts, but the gravitational pull of the dollar, and the way it alters even a great artist's sense of himself and reality - and the balance between the two. It is hard to make a good movie; but it is harder still to get oneself in a position of being able to try. That is because, to most of the important collaborators on a project, they are making a product, with merchandising spin-off. And it is likely to cost $50m. But there's a jewel of comfort in that absurdity: you are getting $2m. So keep a straight face.

Obituary: Sylvia Sidney

WITH HER wide, soulful eyes, high cheekbones and tremulous lips, Sylvia Sidney was an ideal heroine for the Depression, during which she was frequently a working-class girl stoically dealing with deprivation or a wayward sweetheart. Her intense portrayals of innocence and vulnerability in such films as An American Tragedy, Street Scene and Dead End invited enormous sympathy, and, though she occasionally tried to break the mould, the public came to associate her with moist-eyed suffering.

`Godfather' of literature dies

MARIO PUZO, the writer whose Mafia-theme gifts to American literature and to Hollywood included The Godfather, died of heart failure at his home in Long Island, New York, last night. His latest book, Omerta - Sicilian for code of silence - is due to be published next year. He was 78.

Obituary: Edward Dmytryk

Dmytryk's finest film was Farewell, My Lovely - some consider Dick Powell's interpretation of Philip Marlowe to be the screen's definitive portrayal

Obituary: DeForest Kelley

THE WRY mouth, blue shirt and catchphrase "He's dead, Jim" made the American actor DeForest Kelley famous worldwide as Leonard "Bones" McCoy, the spaceship's doctor in the cult television series Star Trek. The humane medical officer offered slight comic relief to the cold logic of pointy-eared Vulcan Mr Spock as the crew of the USS Enterprise aimed "to boldly go where no man has gone before".

Books: Losing sight of a man who knew best

Hitchcock's Secret Notebooks by Dan Auiler Bloomsbury pounds 20

Film: White men can't joke

...or at least that's what a black pressure group said about Coonskin. The cartoon's director begs to differ.
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
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Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
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peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
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Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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