Arts and Entertainment That's one hell of a lot of lycra: The 12 celebrities are in Austria training for new reality TV show, The Jump

Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards will teach the celebrities to conquer the ski jump

Swimming: Carlin impresses by shading Olympians over 200m and 400m

Jaz Carlin toppled Olympic and world medallist Jo Jackson for the second consecutive race when she won the 200 metres freestyle at the British Gas Great Britain v Germany meet in Swansea yesterday, which ended with a 207-109 victory for the hosts.

Simon Calder: A post-modern pentathlon to the future

The man who pays his way

Adlington vows to recapture Beijing form after disappointing year

Britain's double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington says she is determined to raise her game in 2010 after a slump in form following her Beijing triumphs.

Swimming: Europe sunk but Brits are left buoyant

US turn Duel into one-sided affair but home team on track to make a splash at Olympics

Phelps in the shade as US bags five world records

It was a duel, but only one side had a pistol. America took a commanding, almost embarrassing, lead last night over Europe's E-Stars in the first "Duel in the Pool" to be staged in Britain.

Inside Lines: Will Brown do the bidding and make it Sir Becks?

It may be a wild rumour but, if not, you read it here first. While England are doing their 2018 bidding in South Africa there is intriguing speculation buzzing around sport's political circles that the show-stealing David Beckham is to be given a knighthood in the New Year's Honours.

Swimming: Man against gold-medal machine

In the last <i>Independent</i> Christmas auction, one reader won the chance to race Olympic heroine Rebecca Adlington. Can you guess who won? Richard Rae reports

Beckham's asthma gives inspiration

Fellow sufferers provided with hope by former England captain's successful career

Will the real Michael McIntyre please stand up?

From out of nowhere, he became Britain's biggest comedy star. But who is Michael McIntyre? And what exactly does he want?

Letters: Immigration and asylum

A land of hope for those fleeing persecution

Q. When is a joke not a joke? A. When it's offence

The nation's stand-ups can barely open their mouths these days without causing outrage. So have they gone too far &ndash; or has Britain lost its sense of humour, asks Ian Burrell

Terence Blacker: The heroic career of an unserious man

Someone surely should commission a biopic based on the bizarre life of Gyles Brandreth, that Zelig in the world of contemporary celebrity. For more than 50 years, Brandreth has played the fool in one way or another, modifying and varying his act and career as the culture around him changed.

Rebecca Adlington slams BBC over Frankie Boyle rebuke

Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington's agent said the BBC did not take tough enough action against a comedian who joked on TV about her appearance.

Outside Edge (25/10/09)

So Aussie Jessica Watson, 16, begins her attempt to break British 17-year-old Mike Perham's record as the youngest person to sail around the world solo. Well beat this, Sheila. Sail Chapman may have nothing to do with sailing but he has become the youngest to climb all 214 of "Wainwright's peaks" in the Lake District – aged five years and 22 days. He began at the age of two, and his brothers Eire, eight, and Evan, six, had achieved the feat a fortnight before. Sail appropriately finished on Sale Fell, his father David saying: "It's a joke really, it's only a grassy little hill." Surely a case of "competitive dad". Brother Coel, two, has just started his own attempt too. These lads are peaking far too early.

Frankie Boyle: Fierce, fearless... and (expletive deleted) funny

The foul-mouthed Glaswegian comedian is in trouble with the BBC over his joke about the swimmer Rebecca Adlington. Does he care? Andrew Johnson meets Frankie Boyle
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
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
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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
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
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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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Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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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
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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'