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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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there