Arts and Entertainment

"Bo Burnham: What", Pleasance Grand, Edinburgh Fringe, August

TV drama: Britain's got talent

British audiences have long been in thrall to US drama series. But the BFI's celebration of home-grown television shows that we too have been enjoying a golden age, argues Gerard Gilbert

The Taste of Sorrow, By Jude Morgan Headline

Jude Morgan specialises in writing novels about real-life historical literary figures, and while she lacks the postmodern play of a writer such as, say, Emma Tennant, she is nevertheless a truly appealing re-creator of fascinating times and individuals – in this case, the Brontë sisters.

Popcorn, By Garry Mulholland

It doesn't take a great leap of imagination to see why film directors find rock bands so compelling. Their stories invariably take in the crucial components of drama – rebellion, egotism, money, sex, drugs and, in the more extreme cases, death. And they have never been so popular. Recently we have seen Anton Corbijn's Control, about Joy Division's Ian Curtis, Sam Taylor-Wood's Nowhere Boy, about a youthful John Lennon, and Mat Whitecross's paean to Ian Dury, Sex & Drugs & Rock'n' Roll, as well as a deluge of rock-docs on the likes of Dr Feelgood, Joe Strummer and Anvil.

Sunshine State, By James Miller

Struggling under cover of Darkness

Amol Rajan: Justice to the victims

I got into a bit of trouble in conference this morning for making the point - not as sensitively as I should have, perhaps - that the spectacle of grieving mothers may feed the tabloid beast, but is irreconcilable with the demands of post-modern law.

Steve Connor: Gain height and you might lose weight

Science Notebook: You can get rid of pounds by simply living on a mountain for a few weeks

Simon Calder: A post-modern pentathlon to the future

The man who pays his way

Visible Invisible, Parasol Unit, London

Mind games, lies, deception – all are playfully and thoughtfully explored in this exhibition that sets off a new trend

Professor Elizabeth Fallaize: Scholar celebrated for her work on Simone de Beauvoir and for championing Women's Studies

Professor Elizabeth Fallaize, who has died aged 59, was a leading figure in French studies, an international authority on the work of Simone de Beauvoir and, at the time of her early retirement in 2008, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University of Oxford. Throughout her career she worked with great energy and effectiveness for the development of the discipline of French Studies, for the advancement of women and Women's Studies in higher education, and for the College – St John's – and University she had joined 20 years previously. She was appointed Officier dans l'ordre des palmes académiques in 2002, and promoted to Commandeur in 2009.

Meryl Streep: Golden girl

No good parts in Hollywood for older actresses? Try telling that to a star who turned 60 this year and has never been on such a roll

The Misanthrope, Comedy Theatre, London

Thea Sharrock's revival of this 1996 contemporary update by Martin Crimp of Molière's great satire against both the amoral courtly rumour-mill and courtly malpractice is an excellent, platinum-cast treat.

Book Of A Lifetime: Slaughterhouse-Five, By Kurt Vonnegut

This was the proposition discussed at a dinner I attended in Beijing: Western civilisation imploded in 1914, shattered by the First World War. We live in its ruins. The moral certainty that gave us Balzac, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Melville and Dickens was blown to pieces in the trenches. Afterwards, music, literature and painting floundered in a wasteland of cynicism, moral ambiguity, frivolity and despair. We have achieved nothing since except barren technique. Literature is now being pulled apart by post-modernism and commercialism...

First Night: The Misanthrope, Comedy Theatre, London

Knightley casts aside critics in thrilling debut

Vitamin Ph, Introduced by TJ Demos

This survey of current photographs delineates the weird state of post-modern art – wildly diverse and personal, yet often bizarrely imitative. Skipping surrogates of Nan Goldin (nudity and scars) and Martin Parr (lurid close-up of iced buns), you encounter images that live on in the mind for their chilly resonance.

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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