FILM: THE TOP 60 CHRISTMAS FILMS

Critical Guide

Sixties icon puts her past on sale

The short, flower-encrusted wedding dress worn by Britt Ekland for her 1964 wedding to comic Peter Sellers was put up for sale by the Swedish actress last night as part of a bid to "simplify her life". Acclaimed as one of the world's most beautiful women, she also sold photographs documenting her work as a model, marriage to Sellers and motherhood.

Peter York on ads No 155 Tilda: Currying favour with Madhur Jaffrey

In a time not so long gone by you hardly saw a brown face in a TV ad. Black, yes - meaning sports stars, pop stars and Lenny Henry - but there wasn't much call for brown. That's changing now, for two reasons. One is the repertoire of brown British suburban jokes from The Buddha of Suburbia, the other is the growing market for ethnic-style convenience foods, particularly cook-in sauces.

THE EYE WIDE ANGLE

John Travolta is to play Bill Clinton in the forthcoming Primary Colors, a screen adaptation of the White House satirical novel which should perhaps have been dubbed Waiting to Inhale. If the movie goes ahead, Travolta will be the latest in a long line of acting presidents who range from the classic all-American hero to low-down dirty scoundrels.

`The holder of this card is schooled to the highest level in the use of sarcasm, badinage and ironic exaggeration'

Everybody remembers the teacher at school who loved practical jokes, the big man (it was always a man) who thought it was really hilarious to send the thickest kid in the class to the shops for a tin of elbow grease. Nobody remembers them with affection - the one from my primary school swam unbidden into my memory when I was reading recently about a famous film star and noticed that he was described - as if this were a good thing - as "a great practical joker".

To be a blithering idiot today is not a burden ... on the contrary, it's a fashion statement

W hat is the Nineties Zeitgeist? Stupid is the Nineties Zeitgeist. It is, it is. You're just too - huh huh huh - cretinous to notice. Take Jim Carrey (please). He's the man and mood of the moment, a walking, talking, living caricature (see Ace Ventura, Pet Detective and The Mask), and he's all idiot, no savant. Carrey's lips move when other people are reading, he's what happens when cousins marry, and his latest movie - it's a hit - squeaks volumes about a culture going to pap: Dumb and Dumber is what it's called. A self-fulfilling prophecy.

Bomb base

As part of a new Channel 4 documentary series, film-maker Leslie Whitehead found out how the citizens of Los Alamos, birthplace of the nuclear age, learned to stop worrying and love the bomb. Jim White reports

Music Phil Johnson 20TH-CENTURY SAXOPHONES / SHEPPARD & HARLE The Barbican, London

When a doom-laden, neo-medievalist piece about the burdens of sin called Terror and Magnificence suddenly slips into the sand-between- the-toes shuffle of a samba for its penultimate movement, it's certain that something is breaking down, though whether it's musical barriers or simple good sense taking a tumble isn't immediately clear.

Croissants and decaff with reptile man; CANNES FESTIVAL

'I'm handsome, good-looking and I wanna career, I wanna haircut, I wanna go to Palm Springs. I want ejaculations just like anyone else.' Sheila Johnston takes breakfast with Tony Curtis before battling her way to the next round of screenings

`I'm hearing Norbert'

A dubious Dominic Cavendish joins the Doris Collins fan club

Milligan's mind

centrepiece

There's no news like old news

Today we tackle the question: where do old news stories go when they die? Or, to put it another way, why was everyone talking about female clergy one day as if nothing else in the world mattered, and the next they were forgotten? We have invited along the Fleet Street memory man, John Seedy-Rom, "the man in the Apple Mac", to answer your queries.

Hard labour at the chalkface

Television

Alas, poor Peter, lost and Goon

The jury's out on Peter Sellers. Was he a genius, or a genius who took a wrong turn? Kevin Jackson previews tonight's Arena profile and weighs up the evidence

THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER

A call came through from California and his butler brought out the telephone to the garden and plugged it in the wall outside; I'd never seen an outside plug. And he picked up the phone and he'd go into the most beautiful Californian accent - we were all falling about laughing. And when he put the phone down he said, "What's up with you lot?" And we'd say, "You were talking pure American." He didn't know.
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried