Arts and Entertainment

Old luvvies act with gay abandon  in a classic festive sitcom

Pandora: Life Swap: Dorries does a Portillo

When Michael Portillo swapped the "reasonably rich" life of a former cabinet minister for the hard graft of a single mum as part of a BBC TV documentary, he won over viewers with a hitherto-unseen sensitive side.

Pandora: Balls and Bercow ready for a festive party piece

Rudolph, fetch those reins! Someone is striving to be a very good little boy this Christmas.

Tackles take their toll on Johnson's toilers

Could England beat New Zealand at Twickenham yesterday? It depended on whether you were a lifelong believer in Father Christmas. Throughout the first half, and in fact until the 57th minute, the dream survived. Alas, a simple twist of the screw in the final quarter took New Zealand comfortably clear and brought England back to reality.

Happy holidays – without Santa Claus or pumpkins

The Grinch stole Christmas back in the days of innocence, but today climate change and sexual alarmism are doing just as good a job as Dr Seuss's mean critter.

Business Diary: DCI Hunt's collar felt over 'sexist' M&S ads

It seems the humour police are hot on the trail of M&S and DCI Gene Hunt (aka Philip Glenister, of Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars fame). The Advertising Standards Authority is looking into eight complaints about the chain's ad "Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without..." ads in which Glenister says "That girl prancing about in her underwear". Cut to French underwear model Noemie Lenoir who (of course) says "Moi?". Will Glenister get his collar felt for being demeaning to women? Will he and the M&S marketing team get "banged up" over Christmas for this horrendous blag? The ASA will reveal all next week.

Katy Holland: A painful Christmas experience

Are we there yet? Lapland is a tourist trap worth avoiding, but if you insist...

Tis the season for Christmas markets

These festive gatherings offer something to suit all tastes, says Simone Kane. And you can enjoy them at home or abroad

Carola Long: Halloween – the festival of our times

It's now a typically modern, pick-and mix, do-it-yourself sort of celebration

China's wholesale market: Christmas starts here...

Yiwu boasts the world's biggest market with 62,000 stalls, sprawled across 4 million square metres, selling 320,000 products to 200 countries. Clifford Coonan is spoilt for choice

Head to Finnish Lapland, the home of Santa Claus, the Sami people and...Lordi

In the depths of winter, daylight on or above the Arctic Circle is a precious commodity to be savoured in all its muted glory. The sky lightens for a few hours in the middle of the day, acquiring a silvery tinge before dwindling to gunmetal grey and finally surrendering to the greedy polar night. In Finnish Lapland, as the frozen sky melts into the horizon, you realise this is part of the appeal of midwinter at 66 degrees north.

Bob Dylan to release Christmas album for charity

Bob Dylan is releasing a Christmas album, and in the spirit of the holiday season, the legendary performer is donating his royalties to charity.

Town gets into the Christmas spirit - in August

Town hall bosses were accused of going Christmas crackers today after putting up festive lights - four months early.

Girls 13 Boys 0: Testing reveals gender gap in basic skills

Tests carried out on children before they start school at five show girls are still streets ahead of boys, writes Richard Garner

'I need something different – maybe another band,' says Noel Gallagher

Songwriter reveals he wouldn't mind moonlighting with someone other than Oasis
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
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Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits