David Nicholls: 'A lot of novelists improvise, and I'm quite envious of that ability'

'I'm desperate that the next book shouldn't disappoint people'

One Day author David Nicholls talks about adaptations, aging characters and having a tough act to follow

Album: Thea Gilmore / Sandy Denny, Don't Stop Singing (Mighty Village / Island)

A collaborative effort between the Oxfordshire singer-songwriter Gilmore and the hitherto-unscored lyrics of her long-dead Northamptonshire equivalent, Sandy Denny.

Album: La Venexiana, Claudio Cavina, Luzzasco Luzzaschi: Concerto Delle Dame (Glossa)

The madrigals of Luzzasco Luzzaschi are little-known, and were only saved from oblivion by the death of Alfonso, Duke Of Ferrara, who had guarded these pieces written for the three sopranos of his Concerto delle Dame.

Bella! Bella! 'Gregory's Girl' star lands deal to write crime novels

To many, he will be for ever remembered as the gawky teenager Gregory Underwood, in the 1980s coming-of-age hit Gregory's Girl.

Nick Helm: Dare to Dream, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

You don't have much choice but to get caught up in Nick Helm's mania. "You're delaying the fun!" he warns us, coercing us to punch the air for his rocky opening number. "Never stop dreaming/from the floor to the ceiling," he commands.

The Princess of Montpensier (15)

Starring: Mélanie Thierry, Lambert Wilson

Nick Helm: Keep Hold of the Gold, Soho Theatre, London

Nick Helm's brash and bullish show, which broadly depicts a clumsy, heart-on-sleeve romantic having a meltdown, was one of the finds of last year's Edinburgh festival. The antics of a man resembling Nick Frost playing a sergeant

The Whisperer, By Donato Carrisi

Literary thriller? More a grim tale from the shallow end

DVD: The Switch (12)

The Switch is yet another rom-com starring Jennifer Aniston looking for love. Aniston plays Kassie, a single girl desperate for a baby who decides to search for a sperm donor.

New Romantic pioneer Mick Karn dies

Mick Karn, former bassist with the band Japan, has died at the age of 52 from cancer.

The Brontës, By Juliet Barker

Every age has its Brontë interpreters from Mrs Gaskell and Winifred Gerin to Jane Sellars and Lucasta Miller. It was Juliet Barker's 1994 biography, however, that most dramatically reclaimed the sisters as flesh-and-blood human beings – giving wild romantic Emily, love-sick Anne, and "poor" Charlotte long needed makeovers.

Deborah Ross: 'Butcher flirting is flirting for a purpose and the purpose is marrow-bone'

If you ask me, once you get a dog, you need to start flirting with your local butcher like a mad thing, and you must do this flirting whether the butcher likes it or not. Personally, I suspect my butcher does not like it, judging by the way he tries to dart out back whenever I enter his shop, but as I will say to him when I get to know him even better: "Do you think I'll assume the shop is unmanned and just go away? Well, I won't, you big ninny. Now, stay put and flirt! Be a man!"

Album: Lost in the Trees, All Alone in an Empty House (Anti-)

They claim to bring classical music to bear on the tropes of American folk music. Hmm.

After the Dance, NT Lyttelton, London<br/>Love Story, Minerva, Chichester<br/>The Fantasticks, Duchess, London

An assured Rattigan revival proves there's dramatic life in the drawing room yet, while a musical 'Love Story' is saccharine but leaves a sour taste
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Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
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Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
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Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
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The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
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Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
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The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
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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