Rita Rudner, Leicester Square Theatre, London

On her last visit to London, 19 years ago, Rita Rudner appeared in the Royal Variety Show at the Dominion Theatre. Tonight, she played the more modest, 420-seater, Leicester Square Theatre. However, the American has not lost her lustre and in-between time has become Las Vegas's most successful comedians.

The marriage of Figaro and footie

I'm working-class, tattooed and a football fan. I also run an opera venue. So don't call me elitist, says Michael Volpe

The Business On: Stephen Billingham, chairman-elect, Punch Taverns

Can he pull a decent pint?

Tuilagi should be banned – but let the punishment stop there

In the muddy world of rugby, the centre's punch on Chris Ashton was no worse than nicking the beer kitty and shouldn't affect his England chances, argues Chris Hewett

Deborah Ross does DIY: Can the hapless homemaker become a practical woman-about-the-house?

When I am first called by this magazine and asked to attend a couple of "You Can Do It" DIY classes at B&Q I say: "No, but thanks for thinking of me. I am always thinking of you. Bye, now".

The most scandal-ridden government ever known?

The Labor government of Australia's largest and most populous state is facing an epic defeat tomorrow after 16 years in power, following a string of scandals possibly unrivalled in the Western world.

Punch to sell thousands of pubs after debts soar

Punch Taverns has unveiled a radical plan to sell off up to 2,650 pubs over the next five years and split the debt-laden group into two listed companies, one for managed and one for leased pubs.

Jon Hamm - It's all started to ad up...

After starring in one of TV's great series, Mad Men's Jon Hamm is moving his pitch to the big screen. Kaleem Aftab meets him

Matt Prior: Siddle annoyed me but I didn't challenge him to a punch-up

Ashes Insider: Losing is a hammer blow of course but we will leave the defeat in Perth

Album: Saint Etienne, A Glimpse of Stocking (Foreign Office)

Without bells on – the atheist's guide to Christmas music

The business on...Ian Dyson, Chief executive, Punch Taverns

The new head barman?

Mr Dyson is indeed new to the post, having replaced Giles Thorley, the pubs group's colourful ex-boss, only three months ago.

Pubs serve up success story on a plate

Food is one of the 'Five Fs' that pumped up the profits for a trade that many said was sunk

Dom Joly: Fit? Me? I'm like a pot-bellied pig with a punchbag

Trying to get fit is not as simple an affair as I would have thought. I've been here before, of course – keen visits to the local gym, multiple purchasing of revolting sportswear and then, three weeks in, I get bored, the visits tail off and the sportswear joins the collection abandoned in the bottom drawer.

Pub landlord reveals his literary side

Al Murray, the bar-room comic, is making a documentary about his ancestor William Makepeace Thackeray

Thea Gilmore - Motherhood and the rebirth of a songstress

One of Britain's most under-appreciated songwriters tells Chris Mugan about the unexpected theme of her new album
News
Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
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Former ‘Daily Mirror’ editor Piers Morgan
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Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
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Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
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Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
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The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
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Burgundy
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Prices correct as of 28 November 2014
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