First Night: Waiting for Godot, Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London

Banter, bitching and brilliance

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (12A)

From the word "Origins," you might assume this is a Star Wars-style episode about how the X-Men characters evolved into super-heroes.

JJ Abrams: Trek star

He was the creative genius behind 'Lost' – and now he has breathed new life into what had become a creaking sci-fi franchise

The Couch Surfer: 'Any tour of post-war pop culture takes in the basics of Star Trek mythology'

The trailer begins with a motorbike speeding across a deserted plain at dusk. The young man riding it rolls moodily to a halt. You can tell he's moody because he has a beat-up leather jacket and a bloody nose. And because he's riding a motorbike. Cut: to a bar fight. BANG! Biff! Pow! Cut: now the moody young man with the bloody nose is being given a stern, post-brawl talking-to by some old dude, and the stirring score is starting up.

Patrick Stewart completes Olivier award hat-trick

Patrick Stewart scooped his third Olivier award yesterday for his role as the scheming Claudius in Hamlet.

Coming Soon: Spring fever hits Chichester

Spring heralds the start of the Chichester Festival, unusually early this year. Let's hope this coincides with theatre-lovers shaking off their wintry hacking coughs, even if sore throats and sneezes ought to continue on stage with Hay Fever (pictured, 01243 781 312, 9 Apr to 2 May) and The Last Cigarette (11 Mar to 11 Apr).

Culture: I'd do anything to be crunched like this

Now that Britain is officially in recession, will people start spending less money on culture? The conventional wisdom is that the arts don't suffer during times of economic hardship because the need for escapism is greater than ever – and this is borne out by the latest statistics.

Why I Love: To boldly go

Anne Diamond, TV presenter

Majel Roddenberry: The ultimate Trekkie

Actress, voiceover, producer – Majel Roddenberry has been on board the Starship Enterprise since it took off and married its creator along the way. Andy McSmith reports on her death

One Click Wonder: Star Trek

Pointy ears at the ready! After a long hiatus from the silver screen, Star Trek is back in the New Year, with ‘Lost’ creator J J Adams at the helm of a prequel about the young James Kirk and Spock. Here we celebrate all things Trekkie.

It's Star Trek – but not as we know it

<i>Lost</i> creator's film version of cult sci-fi series features punch-ups, stripping &ndash; and Captain Kirk in a sex scene

Alexander Courage: Composer of the 'Star Trek' theme

Alexander Courage worked in film and television through five decades, but his best-known work was the theme tune to Star Trek. The astonishingly protean orchestrator could equally be said to be the distinctive "voice" of MGM musicals, as well as of composers as various as John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith.

Theatre: A Life in the Theatre Apollo Theatre London ooo99

BEING A "senior" actor is a doubled-edged sword. On the one hand, there's no shortage of parts - from the Everest peak of King Lear downwards. On the other, however, the younger generation of actors is forever knocking at the door, demanding to be noticed.
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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