News Hop to it: The penguin parade has been of the daily highlights at Edinburgh Zoo since the first one happened by accident in 1951

They remain one of its most popular attractions

Dunelm Mill coastal living: £19.99, dunelm-mill.com, pale blues and stained wood help to give this space a coastal feel. A Dunelm Mill Cool Lagoon cushion finishes off the scheme

Window shopping: A wave of designers are being inspired by the seaside

What do mermaids, anchors, sea horses and shells have in common? Apart from their watery heritage, they all feature large on fashion collections for spring/summer 2012.

Stormy seas batter the stricken container ship Rena which has been wedged on a reef off New Zealand’s North Island for the past three months

Oil spill disaster threatens New Zealand

New Zealand braced for a new oil spill last night after a storm broke up a cargo ship that has caused the country's worst maritime environmental disaster.

The mysterious bird deaths inspired Hichcock's film, The Birds

Mystery behind Hitchcock's Birds is solved at last

Scientists link eerie avian suicides of 1961, which inspired cinema classic, to poison in the food chain

Anna Calvi says of Wild Beasts: 'Their album Smother is great. It's full of subtleties; chords are implied rather than over-emphasised, and the drums are integral to the melodic interest of each song.'

The sounds and songs the stars fell in love with in 2011

Anna Calvi, Ghostpoet and Leslie Feist all made great albums this year. Here, they and others pick the music that rocked their year

Gripping yarn: Katherine Parkinson

'I prefer a less polite laugh'

Katherine Parkinson stars in a Dickens spoof over Christmas, then takes on Ayckbourn. Cosy comedy's not for this cerebral soul, as Alice Jones discovers

Gripping yarn: Katherine Parkinson

'I prefer a less polite laugh': Why cosy comedy's not for cerebral soul Katherine Parkinson

Parkinson stars in a Dickens spoof over Christmas, then takes on Ayckbourn.

DVD: Mr Popper's Penguins, For retail & rental (20th Century Fox)

When Jim Carrey inherits six penguins – don't ask – his children adore the flatulent little critters, so Carrey agrees to keep them, even if that means filling his swanky apartment with ice, snow and bird droppings.

DVD: Mr Popper's Penguins (PG)

Back in the mid noughties, you couldn't move for marching and dancing penguins, so there's something vaguely out-of-date about this Jim Carrey kids book adaptation.

Wild and wonderful: Scotland’s snow-capped peaks

Scotland: The perfect winter getaway

It's St Andrew's Day, a reminder that Scotland is now at its atmospheric best. Here's how to enjoy the majestic scenery – and stay warm at the same time

Football league round-up: LuaLua signs for Brighton

Kazenga LuaLua has joined Brighton on a permanent basis from Newcastle, having been on loan with the npower Championship side for the first part of the season.

E Jane Dickson: Some 'gay rights' just can't be infringed

Notebook: Who's to say Pedro and Buddy are not happy to bat for the other side?
Once more unto the beach: Massimo Vitali's 'Il Ciolo, Puglia' (2010)

Massimo Vitali: The seaside snapper who's making waves

When Silvio Berlusconi won the Italian election in 1994, Massimo Vitali packed his camera and headed to the beach. "I wanted to see who had voted for him," says the photographer. "It was such a shock for me when he won." Vitali, 67, has been working on his beach series ever since – setting up his large-format (11in by 14in) camera on clifftops or assembling 20ft-high scaffolding to shoot his "sociological" seaside panoramas.

Editor-At-Large: Seems we'll use any word today except a word of kindness

Ricky Gervais is smart – not a bully or a bigot, even though recent events might indicate otherwise. Now he's apologised for using the word "mong", let's get the affair in perspective. Sure, he was naïve, and posting oafish pictures on Twitter was dumb. They attracted a storm of protest – and Gervais was even accused of ramping up the controversy to promote his new television series. But after Nicola Clark, the mother of two teenage girls with severe autism, cried on the Jeremy Vine radio show as she described the insults she's had to deal with from the public, Ricky contacted her and they talked privately and he said sorry. He then offered her a "very public thank you" on Twitter. Unlike Frankie Boyle, with his revolting comments about Katie Price's disabled son Harvey, Ricky knows when to admit he got it wrong.

A patter of Happy Feet – and an emperor returns to the sea

He needed a little push before speeding backward down a makeshift slide.

Maggot, By Paul Muldoon

With sounds like these, who needs understanding?
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
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Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick