Tom Hodgkinson: I'm dreaming of a medieval Christmas

The medieval culture as a whole was less work-oriented, and the whole point of Christmas was to follow the injunction in Ecclesiastes to "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die", and work was cancelled for a full 12 days or more, from 25 December until Plough Monday, which next year falls on 12 January.

Conan Doyle, By Andrew Lycett

Son of a talented, though alcoholic, artist and nephew to Richard Doyle, the great Punch cartoonist, Conan Doyle hid his considerable literary energy behind the bluff exterior of a medical man.

MGMT, The Forum, London

Of all the Brooklyn exports to the British music scene, MGMT span the most musical generations with their blend of Sixties synth-fuelled psychedelia, Bowie influences and rock. That tickets for tonight sold out in June and touts are selling them for £100 outside is testimony to their meteoric rise.

'His readers loved him, and they needed to tell him that'

For the late, great Alan Coren, laughter was the key to moving his audience, say his children Victoria and Giles

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Recessionary forces are bringing the oil price back to reality, despite China

Punch axes the dividend to conserve cash; Scandal of Britain's energy crisis

Punch scraps its dividend but claims fall in sales is slowing

Punch Taverns scrapped its final dividend yesterday "to conserve cash" in the face of ongoing economic uncertainty, putting stocks across the sector on the skids.

Why Jaime Winstone's latest movie will upset parents everywhere

It may not please the parents but it's reality for her generation, she tells James Mottram

Pinot Peach Smash

Serves 10-12

Margaret Thatcher &ndash; The Long Walk to Finchley, BBC 4<br />The Making of the Iron Lady, BBC 4<br />The Victorian Sex Explorer, Channel 4<br />Imagine, BBC 2

It took an iron will to become a female parliamentary candidate in the 1950s, and a masterful biopic to make viewers urge her on

Boxing: Hatton rumbles on but is fat lady warming up?

Ricky Hatton won every round on Saturday night, 55,000 people traipsed out of this stadium smiling and a glorious fight in New York is planned for October.

Miles Kington: The last tapes

Just before he died earlier this year, The Independent&rsquo;s beloved humorist granted an extraordinary interview to his friend Tony Staveacre

M&amp;B considers Punch deal

Embattled pubs group Mitchells & Butlers today confirmed talks to buy the managed pub business from its rival and former takeover suitor Punch Taverns.

A Prayer for my daughter, Young Vic, London

Thin blue lines in a dated drama

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Olivant throws in the towel on the Rock

Ryanair's O'Leary warns on profits; Punch tilts at Mitchells & Butlers; China's velvet-glove approach to Rio

Michael Bywater remembers Miles Kington

Humorous columnist, broadcaster and the inventor of Franglais
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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