Arts and Entertainment

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, London

Last Night's TV: The Genius of Charles Darwin, Channel 4<br/>First Cut: Being Maxine Carr, More4 <br/>The Hairy Bakers, BBC2

Never mind the Olympic Games, The Genius of Charles Darwin last night offered a display of mental and verbal gymnastics the equal of anything seen on the pommel horses and asymmetric bars of Beijing, culminating in a head to head between the vast intellect of Professor Richard Dawkins and the similarly impressive mind of Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was absorbing stuff, perhaps more evocative of the judo than the gymnastics, with Dawkins assuming a position of absolute certitude about evolutionary theory, and the Archbish unable to floor him even with some ingenious manoeuvring on the Virgin Birth.

Jason Byrne, Fringe Festival, Edinburgh<br/>Tim Minchin, Fringe Festival, Edinburgh

Hurrah for that scathing, embittered edge

Paperbacks: Black Mass, by John Gray

Bracing in its iconoclasm, John Gray's cyclical view of world history fuels a bleak but plausible polemic. He believes that the replacement of millenarianism by

The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, ed. Richard Dawkins

A fine workout for agile minds

Is anybody up there?, By Paul Arnott

The only subject of this amiable but pointless work is the author himself

Evolutionists at war over altruism's origins

An intellectual war of words has broken out between two of the world's leading evolutionists. Oxford University's Richard Dawkins and Harvard's Edward Wilson have gone head to head over the evolution of altruism in the animal kingdom, and whether it can have come about as a result of something called group selection.

Review: Parky's predictability can be relaxing but what the Dickens have they done to young Twist?

Parkinson: the Final Conversation, ITV1; Oliver Twist, BBC1; Liverpool Nativity, BBC3; Make Me a Muslim, Channel 4

Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: A grave situation

Dear Virginia, my father has only weeks to live. The problem is, he wants to take over the funeral. He has already lined up someone to give a talk and wants to vet it. All the hymns are chosen, he's even designed the headstone. My sister and I want to make some contribution, but he won't hear of it. She says once he's dead we can do what we like, but I feel uneasy. He's always been a control freak. What should we do? Yours sincerely, Helen

Aviation chief attacks oil firms over $3bn losses

The head of the world's aviation industry launched a savage attack on oil companies yesterday, blaming them for the fact that global airline losses this year are set to reach $3bn (£1.6bn).

Is 'Gerin oil' the root of all evil?

A professor blames this drug for history's major atrocities... clever readers will spot the anagram

Matthew Norman's Media Diary

How to keep everybody happy

The story of an accidental bike star

Dealing with fatal accidents hasn't deflected one paramedic from his ambition, says Tim Luckhurst
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
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Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Travel
Streets ahead: Venice
travelWhat's trending on your wishlist?
News
The will of Helen Beatrix Heelis, better known as Beatrix Potter, was among those to be archived
people
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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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect