i Father Christmas, annual giftgiver

Not a regular in the public eye this one.

English National Ballet dancers perform The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker, English National Ballet, London Coliseum, London

English National Ballet’s Nutcracker is a muted production lifted by sparkling dancing. From stars Vadim Muntagirov and Daria Klimentová through to the corps of Snowflakes, the company dance with warmth and festive spirit.

Bourne again: Mari Kamata as Ardor the Fairy of Passion in Sleeping Beauty

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, Sadler’s Wells, London

Matthew Bourne’s latest production starts with Tchaikovsky, turns left at Dracula and ends up somewhere around Tim Burton Gothic. It’s a tussle between Bourne’s gifts as a producer and his material’s attempts to fight back.

Maxim Vengerov, LSO, Ticciati, Barbican

After a long absence following an injury plus psychological burn-out, Maxim Vengerov has spent this year making his come-back: he’s given scores of concerts abroad, but his re-entry into the London scene has been very carefully managed.

Daniil Trifonov, Queen Elizabeth Hall

It’s usually taken as axiomatic that while pianists reach their technical peak at twenty, they need much longer to hone their artistry, and one of the merits of the Southbank’s current International Piano Series is that it’s allowing us to test this view against reality.

Kenneth MacMillan's influence is all around this season

Kenneth MacMillan: Still the Royal Ballet's prince of the pas de deux

Kenneth MacMillan's influence is all around this season

One to Watch: Yonah Acosta, Ballet dancer, 23

"It’s about finding your own identity.” It can’t be easy living in the shadow of his famous uncle, Carlos, who helped get him into the Cuban National Ballet School, aged 10, and with whom he shares a striking resemblance.

Core values: apple pressing at Sharpham Estate

Countyfile: Devon - In the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, go west

Celebrate the season today at the 30th Autumn Festival and Apple Pressing event, which takes place at the Sharpham Estate (01803 732542; sharphamtrust.org; free) between 11am and 4pm. The 18th-century Palladian villa overlooking the River Dart at Ashprington provides a fine setting for this celebration of the apple harvest. But, thanks to the poor weather, the organisers need a little help this year, so take your own windfalls for turning into juice to help boost the estate's slim pickings. There'll also be an Apple Olympics and live music.

Tatyana, Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh

Brazilian choreographer Deborah Colker is known for her work with huge and perilous sets.

August 9, 2012: Charlotte Dujardin celebrates winning gold in as individual freestyle champion

Dujardin in her pomp as she rides to second gold

Gold medallists can come from all sorts of backgrounds, but rarely has there been as unlikely a winner as Charlotte Dujardin, who became Britain's first individual dressage Olympic champion amid joyous scenes at Greenwich Park yesterday.

The Queen of Spades, Grange Park, Hampshire
Così fan tutte, Holland Park, London

This impressive staging of Tchaikovsky's opera manages to be both playful, and deadly serious

Album: Vilde Frang, Nielsen, Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos (EMI Classics)

Following her previous CD of concertos by Sibelius and Prokofiev, Frang again pairs Nordic and Russian composers on this latest release, with contrasting results.

Observations One To Watch: Dawid Trzensimiech, Dancer, 24

What happens when your star storms off ?

The King of the South in Benjamin Britten and Kenneth
MacMillan's 'The Prince of the Pagodas'

The Prince of the Pagodas, Royal Opera House, London

A Gormenghast world that toppled two creative giants

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch - Viktor, Sadler’s Wells, London

Viktor starts with a woman stepping forward to face the audience. She seems to have no arms: they’re tucked away inside her red dress, its short sleeves gaping. The missing limbs are unnerving, but not as unnerving as her bright smile.

Winging it: a performance of Matthew Bourne's version of 'Swan Lake'

Swan Lake: A leap into the future

Matthew Bourne's renowned reinterpretation of Swan Lake is now showing as a 3D film. This is how the project took flight

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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there