Arts and Entertainment

Old luvvies act with gay abandon  in a classic festive sitcom

Dom Joly: And on the third day, I told some more white lies

"Dad, what has the Easter Bunny got to do with Jesus?" It was one of those tricky questions that your kids ask, the answer to which depends on your mood.

Film to be made using long-lost Welles tapes

Legendary director's final recordings will form narration for Christmas movie

Dom Joly: Polite Canadians tip Balding over edge

Weird World of Sport: I like Clare a lot but she has this habit of saying something mean right out of the blue

Brian Paddick: A bad day for race relations in the police

I first met Ali Dizaei in 1999 during three days of tests and interviews to get on a course that would be our ticket to the highest ranks in the police service. Even then his reputation preceded him. As the outspoken head of the Black Police Association he had been justifiably critical of the police service's, at times, half-hearted attempts to tackle racism within its ranks and institutions.

My Secret Life: Jonathan Pryce, actor, 62

My parents were ... hard to sum up really. They were both shopkeepers from the time they married. Before that, my father was a coal-miner; my mother rescued him from the mines.

Hit & Run: Antarctic undies

It's a winter's morning on a blustery station platform. A line of inappropriately attired, angry people produce storm clouds of breath. Red ears, a loss of feeling in the fingers and chapped lips can do that to a commuter. Then someone saunters past. They're wearing a combination of super-light, wind-proof and water-resistant technology stuffed with down feathers. The warmth hugging their body is matched only by the heat generated by their self-satisfied cheeks.

My Week: Mrs Santa Claus

It's the busiest week of the year in the Claus household, and as the sled is brought out of the garage, tensions are running high

Santa who held up a bank to pay the elves (and other festive tales for our times)

Bad Santa

In Nashville, Tennessee, Bad Santa has struck, holding up a bank at gunpoint. Dressed seasonally in bright red with white gloves, white beard, red and white hat and dark sunglasses, he pulled a gun and threatened the bank staff that if they put dye bombs on the cash, to make it traceable, he would return and kill them.

How the Nazis stole Christmas

Jesus was a Jew and Christianity was an oriental religion, so Hitler's followers reinvented Yuletide as a pagan festival – and cast the Führer as the Messiah. Tony Paterson reflects on a dark footnote of history

Chris Huhne: Britain must stop locking up innocent children

Britain's long tradition of providing sanctuary to the world's persecuted stretches back hundreds of years to the Huguenots and beyond, but the Government's existing system of asylum risks undermining what has always been one of the hallmarks of a civilised society. It is one thing to stamp out abuse among asylum-seekers, but quite another to devise a system that combines staggering bureaucratic incompetence with institutionalised cruelty, for every year we are locking up hundreds and probably thousands of children, who have committed no crime, in prison-like conditions.

Album: Bob Dylan, Christmas in the Heart (Columbia)

Dreaded before release and derided after, Dylan's 34th studio album is arguably his strangest. Not just because it exists but because of the way he's done it.

E Jane Dickson: You don't need to teach kids about advertising

Teach a child to count and he’ll soon get the hang of commercial constraints

Santa Claus 'buried in Ireland'

The saint who the legend of Santa Claus is based on is believed to be buried in Kilkenny, according to local historians.

Album: Julian Koster, The Singing Saw at Christmastime (Merge)

If there's a danger of the Pet Shop Boys' glass-half-empty attitude putting a bit of a damper on the kids' Christmas spirits, then this could completely creep them out.

Album: Various Artists, In the Christmas Groove (Strut)

Not even James Brown could convincingly make Christmas funky, so it's no surprise to find that most of the tracks on this rare-groove funk compilation lack the requisite sparkle.

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