Arts and Entertainment

A boy enters a palace of a hundred rooms where an assassin may lurk behind every door and shadowy figures are reflected in a Hall of Mirrors.  An astonishing treasure lies at its heart, but powerful enemies are at the gates.

Television: Funny in retrospect

Two men, one box of props and the entire history of the 20th century: the National Theatre of Brent is back

Art; PRIVATE VIEW

The Wilkie Tradition to 24 Dec Bourne Fine Art, Edinburgh

Long to reign over us, God save Tony Blair

`This is the first British government containing senior ministers who are not instinctive monarchists'

We are all too busy rewriting our histories

I HEAR there is a growing rumpus in some quarters over the remarkable film East is East, written by the actor and playwright Ayub Khan-Din. The story is set in Salford in 1971 and revolves around a working-class family that runs a small fish and chip shop. Only this family is of mixed race, with a Pakistani father, George Khan (known as "Genghis" to his children), a white wife, Ella, and seven children, who are all struggling to survive in the confusing world they live in - bell-bottoms, insistent imams and all.

Letter: Already history

ALAS, DR MORELAND (Letters, 1 August) is far too late to protest against the decision of exam boards to phase out pre-modern history. The boards are not denying any student the right to study medieval history. They are simply responding to the fact that students are not entering for these exams. Academics tend to think that, because exam boards offer syllabuses, students must therefore be studying them. This is not the case. Medieval history has already reached the point of no return, social and economic history is in decline, Tudors and Stuarts are strong only in the private sector, and even Napoleonic and 19th-century British history are under pressure as numbers drop.

Serendipity Out of one's depth

THIS afternoon, while reading Steven Pinker's How The Mind Works, I suddenly uttered a stream of expletives. After almost a decade of failure, I had at last witnessed my first Magic-Eye image.

THE AGREEABLE WORLD OF WALLACE ARNOLD: Never trust a man with a fringe, even on 'Blue Peter'

I am not a man to sadden easily. The second last time I shed a tear was when I heard that the young Mark Thatcher was lost in the desert. And the last time I cried was when I heard he'd been found. But it saddens me very deeply to read that Mr John Noakes (dread name!) has been casting aspersions on that most notable of television programmes, Blue Peter. Tears? Just a few.

France honours last of Britain's Great Warriors

THEY MIGHT be the last patrol: quite possibly the last of their generation to cross the Channel in such numbers.

Body piercing craze 'threatens children'

MINISTERS ARE being urged to introduce guidelines to prevent children having their bodies pierced without their parents' consent.

Essay: Snobs, prudes, hypocrites? Not the Victorians I know

We do our 19th-century forebears a disservice by ascribing so many ills to them.

Historical Notes: The lamentable legacy of royal parenting

"THE HOUSE of Hanover, like ducks, produces bad parents," Owen Morshead, a former Royal Librarian, once observed. How so? "They trample on their young."

The ticklish problem of a zzzzz and two noughts

Go on, I challenge you all to think of a major event which happened at the change of a century

Something to look forward to - post-millennium tedium

No batsman likes to be out in the nineties, no queen likes to be outdone by a century

Letter: The British Army camps were not genocide machines

JAN MORRIS, who has written extensively about the Empire, is wrong to describe Rudyard Kipling's "Recessional" as a response to British "hubris" about the Boer War. The poem was written in 1897, two years before the war started, to counter the complacency and triumphalism displayed on Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Though Kipling clearly saw the faults of British organisation and tactics during the Boer War, and admired and respected some Boer fighters, he was a fervent supporter of the war who thought the repressive measures against Boer civilians didn't go far enough. Anyone who thinks he was soft on this issue should read his story A Sahib's War.

At last, the truth about George

GEORGE ELIOT: THE LAST VICTORIAN BY KATHRYN HUGHES, FOURTH ESTATE, pounds 20
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on