Sport

Roy Hodgson is confident that the midfielder Zoltan Gera will become West Brom's third new signing of the summer – and the manager is also stepping up his search for a goalkeeper.

Travolta 'fought to bring his boy back'

John Travolta said yesterday that he and his wife, Kelly Preston, were heartbroken at the loss of their chronically ill son, who collapsed and died while on holiday in the Bahamas.

Lee hails 'terrific' Gerrard as Torres returns in style

Preston North End 0 Liverpool 2

Benitez sends troubled captain into the fray

Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, has reaffirmed his "trust" in captain Steven Gerrard and insists he never had any doubts about playing his key midfielder in tomorrow's FA Cup third-round tie at Preston.

Last-gasp Parkin gives McLeish blues

Preston North End 1 Birmingham City 0

We're freezing at night, say prisoners

Inmates in Victorian jail 'treated worse than dogs'

British travellers abandon their short breaks, but hang on to annual holiday

People are ditching city breaks but are setting aside cash for next year's annual holiday, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey has shown.

Why The Jacksons went househunting in Devon

Earlier this year, the Jacksons decided to move... to Devon. It made for some surreal encounters – and one unmissable documentary. Meg Carter reports

The drive of our lives: 50 Years of Britain's motorways

They promised to speed us towards a modern age and rev up the post-war economy. So what happened? Fifty years after Britain's first motorways opened, Simon Usborne finds out how much we owe to our superhighways – and why the wheels had to come off

Ehiogu rolls back the years to pip persistent Preston

Sheffield United 1 Preston North End 0

Paperbacks: The Wild Trees, by Richard Preston

This book is a strange combination of the utterly absorbing and the almost unreadable. Preston thrillingly conveys his passion for the world's tallest trees.

Confidential files discovered in bin

Confidential police information about undercover officers and key witnesses in a massive drugs operation was found dumped in a bin.

Nigel Preston: Innovative fashion designer whose King's Road shop Maxfield Parrish grew into an international business

Jean Cocteau's maxim, that style is a simple way of saying complex things, sums up the effortless grace of Nigel Preston's skilful, subtle clothes design, most particularly in sheepskin, suede and leather, that inspired the fashion world for 30 years from the mid-Seventies. He was famous for his experimentation with decorative, painterly techniques, for his exotic colouring on leather, for his exquisite ornamentation and his patient eye for detail – his biannual collection was eagerly anticipated. Where Preston led, Hermès and Gucci followed. That he was not a household name says more about the vagaries and hype of the fashion industry than it does about his creative talents. The most unvain of men, he was a natural innovator.

Sir Dennis Weatherstone: Son of a London Transport clerk who became one of the greatest bankers of the late 20th century

Dennis Weatherstone was one of the greatest bankers of the last quarter of the 20th century. Little known to the public, rarely interviewed, he was very much a bankers' banker, deeply respected within the profession. Personally he was the very opposite of a major executive, described as "dapper, precise, soft-spoken. . . unfailingly polite, he moved like a cat. . . he was a man no one disliked". But, as anyone who came into contact with him knew, he "had a steely mind, especially in matters of risk".

Paperbacks: The Mesmerist, by Barbara Ewing

Mesmerism was all the rage in 19th-century London, and in her fourth novel Barbara Ewing imagines life for a female practitioner in this very male world.

Paperback: A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time, by Diana & Michael Preston

Although billed as a history of the Taj Mahal, the Prestons' richly patterned chintz of a book also delivers a romantic account of the Mughal empire as a whole. It treats the moment in the 1630s when the grief-stricken Shah Jahan built the marble tomb of his beloved wife, Mumtaz, as a pivot for the story of their love, their dynasty, and its spectacular rise and fall. Edward Lear thought it "simply silly" to describe the Taj, this "wonderfully lovely place". The Prestons – though sometimes prone to lush hyperbole – succeed far better than most.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'