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.
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Shoppers at Selfridges department store in central London
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Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
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Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
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Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
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Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
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Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
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Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
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i100(More than you think)
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game