Voices

Judging by the national mood, I would urge David Cameron to go to the polls now; the mood is good out there

Paul Giamatti as Harold Levinson and Poppy Drayton as Madeline in Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey Christmas Special TV Review: Christmas at Downton was a bit of a post-turkey snooze

There was a time when the Downton Abbey Christmas special might involve a lady revealing she was up the duff by the chauffeur, or a much-loved character croaking it in a car accident. This year, it was as if, chastened by reactions to their rape storyline, the writers were determined to include nothing even mildly dramatic. If you were looking for a good time to fit in that post-turkey snooze, 8.30pm till 10.30pm was your window.

Photography book review: Pierdom, By Simon Roberts (with an introduction by Francis Hodgson)

Simon Roberts has travelled the coastline of Britain to create a comprehensive and fascinating photographic record of the country’s remaining pleasure piers.

Raging fire devastates New Jersey boardwalk already hit by Superstorm Sandy

New Jersey resort towns were still in the process of rebuilding after Sandy hit a year previously

Costa Brava murder: British man arrested in Spain on suspicion of killing his father

A British man has been arrested on suspicion of killing his father at a Spanish camping site, police said.

About a boy: Liam James with Anna Sophia Robb in ‘The Way, Way Back’

Film review: The Way, Way Back (12A)

Last of the summer whine

End of the piers? Seaside structures plagued by high costs and neglect

Seaside piers across Britain are under threat from rising maintenance costs and rocketing insurance bills, according to new research.

Feet up: Taking the air on a Brighton pier in 1937

Radio review: 4 Extra At The Seaside - Pack my banjo, mother, we’re off to the beach

When working-class Londoners boarded the coach to begin their summer holiday they would have a whip-round, and as they pulled away they would throw coins through the windows to the poorer kids left behind.

Margate is one of Britain’s most deprived seaside towns

Deprived seaside towns to get funding boost

Ailing seaside towns are to receive almost £30m to boost growth, the Treasury has announced today, following statistics showing they suffer from above-average levels of deprivation.

'Abandoned to poverty': Skegness named most deprived seaside town

The birthplace of Butlins, which once attracted Britons from around the country to enjoy its “bracing” weather, is now the most deprived seaside resort in the country. Skegness has topped a list of the nation’s most impoverished coastal towns, in a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Mathew Baynton

My Edinburgh: Mathew Baynton - Why the Fringe is a good place to wear a gimp mask

Yesterday, in Edinburgh, I was walking alongside a lady wearing high heels and a gimp mask. Her, not me. No-one walking past batted an eyelid. She had no flyers in her hand or any evidence of being in a show. I think she’d worked out that Edinburgh in August is a great place to be if you want to dress up oddly and not get funny looks.

The Saturday Quiz answers

1. Simon and Garfunkel's The Concert in Central Park

The report, entitled Turning the Tide, called for action to revive the fortunes of seaside towns like Blackpool in Lancashire

'Dumping grounds for the poor': High levels of unemployment, drug addiction and teenage pregnancy leave British seaside towns locked in culture of 'poverty attracting poverty'

Britain now spends almost £2 billion-a-year on welfare payments in once-thriving seaside towns

Great escape: A crash course in summer holidays

School summer holidays are in full swing - but the Great British exodus to the sun is a relatively new invention

Where to go after a September city break in Rome – seaside or countryside?

Q. We are hoping to go to Rome in September for a long weekend. How easy would it be to extend the stay with a few days by the beach or in the countryside afterwards, to combine some culture with recharging the batteries? Claire Allard, Southampton

Eight injured as two trains crash into each other in Norwich

Greater Anglia service travelling at "low speed" hit an East Midlands train parked in station

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Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty