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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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

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Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

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The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

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Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

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The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project