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David Cameron and William Hague got into similar trouble, but for exactly opposite reasons. If the Foreign Secretary had said “stupid person” or (admittedly a bit of a mouthful for an impromptu sedentary aside) “stupid Honourable Member”, he’d be home free. As the lip reading consensus was that he muttered “stupid woman” while Cameron was answering, or more accurately not answering, a hostile question from Labour’s Cathy Jamieson, he quickly became Twitter villain of the day.

TV review: Phil Spector, Sky Atlantic

David Mamet has always been a writer who prides himself on narrative craftsmanship. He builds a drama like a carpenter builds a chair, conscious of where the stresses are going to fall and looking for the best way to carry them. He's not above following a traditional blueprint either, which is why quite a lot of his dramas and screenplays have an old-fashioned sturdiness about them, the sense of a folk pattern adapted and personalised.

Boldy James returns with a hooky new sound

The Playlist: Kanye West / Hunx and his Punx / Washed Out

The songs that are hot on our playlist this week

Vincent van Gogh letter expected to fetch $300,000 at auction

Rare letters written by Vincent van Gogh, John Lennon and other iconic figures are being offered at an upcoming auction of more than 300 historical documents in New York City.

The Noisettes, Hyde Park, London

“Go baby, go baby go, don’t upset the rhythm though,” screeches Shingai Shoniwa above the roars of the crowd cheering on Ben Ainslie’s gold in the sailing and a sublime Andy Murray backhand in the tennis.

Fantasy Band: Jeremy Warmsley, Summer Camp

'Billie Holiday has the softest, roundest tone in the world'
The trial of OJ Simpson was shown in the UK

Ian Burrell: Court coverage was a world apart from fireworks of OJ Simpson trial

It was hardly the OJ Simpson trial. Considering this nation has become known as the CCTV capital of the world, there has been a reluctance to allow television cameras to record the dramas of other areas of British life.

The Vow (12A)

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum

Song Intros: It's the start of something amazing

What's the best way to begin a pop song? Guitar? Drums? Wind? Donald MacInnes chooses 12 of the best intros in pop history

Watched by millions, the final act of a courtroom tragedy

Televising the trial of a young mother accused of child murder threatens to tip the scales of justice. Guy Adams reports

Portray Spector as the monster he is, victim's family tells Mamet

David Mamet, the "anti-liberal" US playwright who this week accused the British literary establishment of entrenched anti-Semitism, has become embroiled in a fresh row over his controversial new film about the jailed music producer Phil Spector.

John Walker: Singer with the Walker Brothers, whose fame briefly rivalled the Beatles’

In 1964 three unrelated Americans, Scott Engel, John Maus and Gary Leeds became the Walker Brothers, and once settled in London had No 1 hits with "Make It Easy On Yourself" and "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore". Their slow, cavernous, heavily orchestrated recordings were highly distinctive and Scott and John's voices merged together well. In 1965-66, Walkermania was not far behind Beatlemania.

Rocking and rolling in the aisle

With the royal nuptials fast approaching, Gillian Orr picks a dozen classic wedding songs – but will they make next Friday's playlist?

Gladys Horton: Singer with the Marvelettes, who had Motown's first No 1 with 'Please Mr Postman'

Gladys Horton was the lead singer with the Marvelettes, who topped the American charts with "Please Mr Postman" in December 1961. It was a key record for boosting morale during the Vietnam War. Although not a British hit, the record has become so familiar that it has obscured much of their later, equally fine work.

In The Red: Will my first party at this pad also be my last?

Last week I mentioned my Christmas party. This, I should say, is most uncharacteristic – both mentioning it and throwing it. Mentioning it, because there's always a risk that no one will arrive, rendering it a hopeless flop. If that happens, I'll be forced to lie here in these very pages in order not to appear a total social disaster to you. Throwing it because, well, partly for the same reasons. But also because parties take time. Time, money, and energy – three things that I don't possess in abundance.

Elton John / Leon Russell, The Union (Mercury)

Singing from the same hymn sheet: Sir Elt and Brother Leon's Gospel glory
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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