Arts and Entertainment

Josie Long is an award-winning comedian and writer. She will perform with Robin Ince in Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre (10-22 Dec) and also on tour in Robin and Josie’s Shambles.

Artist's impression of the £100 million Southbank Centre revamp

£100 million revamp of Southbank Centre hailed as 'biggest step forward since the ‘60s'

London’s Southbank Centre is to bring its Festival Wing out of the 1960s and into the 21st century with a £100m overhaul that marks the “final piece in the jigsaw” in the transformation of the cultural venue.

Perfect pace: Esa-Pekka Salonen in rehearsal for Woven Words, which marks the centenary of Witold Lutoslawski
Aimee Mann at the Royal Festival Hall

Aimee Mann, Royal Festival Hall, London

Aimee Mann may have risen to prominence thanks to her music’s key role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1999 masterpiece Magnolia, but the darkness of some of that film perhaps added an extra layer of melancholy to the work of an artist whose catalogue is usually a few shades lighter. 

Sir David Attenborough on TV Bafta shortlist

Sir David Attenborough is to take on Keith Lemon and Sherlock for a TV Bafta.

Nicholas Dwyer and Christina Gill in <i>Carmen</i>

Carmen, King's Head, Islington, London
Peter and the Wolf, Royal Festival Hall, London

OperaUpClose veer towards greatest-hits territory while a lupine concert holds toddlers transfixed

Ernest Race's Antelope bench, 1951

Preview: British Design 1948-2012

Has the V&A built a shrine to the great objects of British design, or curated a glorified jumble sale? Stephen Bayley wonders what to make of its new show

London Philharmonic Orchestra / Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall, London

Bruckner’s unfinished final symphony - the 9th - poses many questions, none more perplexing than what might have been in terms of its absent finale.

Slava's Snowshow, Royal Festival Hall, London

Compared to the Gale Force 10 blizzard that is blasted into the auditorium at the end of Slava's Snowshow, the tornado at the start of The Wizard of Oz is for wimps and friends of Dorothy.

Booker T/Percy Sledge, Royal Festival Hall, London

On the various levels of the Royal Festival Hall, the Southbank's Vintage festival is in full swing – quite literally on the mezzanine dancefloor, where period-clad couples whirl to a marvellous 1940s-style dance band.

Keith Jarrett / Jack DeJohnette / Gary Peacock, Royal Festival Hall, London

Every time Keith Jarrett visits the Royal Festival Hall, something special happens.

Meltdown: Madness, Royal Festival Hall, London

When Ray Davies saunters on in a dapper silver-grey suit to welcome Madness to Meltdown, the band's fans cheer in delight. They understand The Kinks' influence on these subsequent specialists in North London working-class bittersweet vignettes. Saxophonist and non-singer Lee Thompson later jokingly checks if Davies has left the building, before a chucking-out-time pub version of "Where Have All the Good Times Gone". The real tribute comes as Madness stake their place in its tradition, with songs that are worldly-wise, sometimes weary and always for the underdog, played with rare confidence tonight.

Yo La Tengo, Royal Festival Hall, London

Playing on the third night of this year's Meltdown, curated by Ray Davies, the alternative rock trio from Hoboken, New Jersey, more than match the high standards set on the two previous evenings by cult acts The Legendary Pink Dots, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and The Fugs.

Meltdown: Ready Steady Go! Royal Festival Hall, London

Ready Steady Go! may be the most fondly remembered 1960s pop TV show. It lasted barely three years, fading out, at the end of 1966, before it could outstay its welcome – like the sharp singles it helped to promote. Ray Davies and the producer Vicki Wickham's one-night-only revival for Meltdown can't resurrect the social club the studio became for the Beatles, Stones and Kinks, or the young dancing Mods who were almost trampled by careening cameras. The minimal set – a couple of period photo-decorated signs – is a letdown. But somehow, the spirit of pop at its most warmly creative catches light again.

Staatskapelle Berlin/Barenboim/Boulez, Royal Festival Hall

Liszt and Wagner, Boulez and Barenboim – iconic names, analogous kinships.

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Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
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L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
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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'
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Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
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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
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Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
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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
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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