Arts and Entertainment

Old luvvies act with gay abandon  in a classic festive sitcom

Issy, age 11

'All I want for Christmas': Letters from Santa's postbag

From requests for Lego and leg warmers to a popcorn maker and a Puffle, letters to Santa are an art form in themselves. Clare Dwyer Hogg delves into the world of children's wishlists.

Arthur Christmas (U)

Voices of: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Kevin Eldon

Analyse this: Will David Cronenberg get to heart of Sigmund Freud?

Cronenberg is the latest director to give Freud the movie treatment

Just 149 days left to go... Christmas comes early to Harrods

Wizzard once wished it could be Christmas every day. Well this year, half their dream has come true

The Blagger's Guide To...Literary Agents

Wet nurse, guide – or a fox in the henhouse?

Steve Richards: Out of the media limelight, but obsessed with headlines

In some ways the Osborne/Brown technique is highly effective, conferring on elusive public figures a gravitas that ubiquity always undermines

AC Grayling: 'Work was my way of dealing with my sister's murder'

Religious morality cuts across the grain of human nature It tends to ask us to deny things that are natural to us: restraint in sexual matters, fear of the body. In the humanist tradition, the way we think about flourishing lives has to be premised on facts about what it is to be human, rather than needing to pass some kind of purity test for an eternal afterlife. You can be a moral person by simply recognising the responsibility you owe to other people.

Lapland: the far-from-wonderful wonderland

It was supposed to be a fun-filled day out for all the family in the run-up to Christmas.

Wallander's last stand: Katy Guest's essential literary look-ahead

Henning Mankell wraps up the detective's final case, plus new work from Ali Smith, Graham Swift, Joyce Carol Oates and a host of others looks set to make this a thrilling year for readers

Christmas at airport for Europe's stranded travellers

Hundreds of travellers trapped by icy weather spent Christmas Day queuing for flights in Europe on Saturday after sleeping on camp beds overnight in Paris and Brussels airports.

Boris Johnson: 'Heathrow chaos must teach BAA serious lesson'

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said airport operator BAA had "very serious lessons" to learn from the chaos caused at Heathrow by this month's snowfall.

Business Diary: Roubini splashes out on a new pad

Doom pays. Nouriel Roubini, an economist who specialises indismal forecasts about the global financial system, isn't doing too badly himself – and the US housing downturn has done him a favour. Public records reveal he has just splurged $5.5m (£3.5m) on a penthouse in New York's East Village. It sounds like a lot of money, but the purchase price is 25 per cent lower than what Roubini would have had to pay at the peak of the market in September 2008, when the credit crisis intervened – and gave him his opportunity to shine so brightly.

Diary: Thompson extends seasonal goodwill to old pal Murdoch

At this time of year, it behoves us to forego the cynicism and embrace child-like romanticism. So hats off to Mark Thompson for lighting that path with the most touching show of faith since Clarice Starling led a census-taker into the sitting room with a cheery: "Now Hannibal, darling, you will play nice, won't you, while I pop down the offy for a nice bottle of Chianti. I've left the fava beans in the saucepan by the stove to soak."

The Timeline: Saint Nicholas

3rd century: Old Saint Nick

Album: Saint Etienne, A Glimpse of Stocking (Foreign Office)

Without bells on – the atheist's guide to Christmas music
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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor