Arts and Entertainment Theda Bara in 1917’s silent movie ‘Cleopatra’

With more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain

Word of Mouth, Radio 4<br/>Simply Absurd, Radio 4<br/>Laurel Canyon, Radio 2

I'd love to mind-map, but it's time for my lunch al desco

Hitchcock's forgotten silent films restored

A nationwide Alfred Hitchcock retrospective featuring nine of the celebrated director's rare silent films, made at the start of his career, will be staged in 2012 in a series of public screenings.

100 years of movies: Before 'talkies'

For the first two decades, the stars of the screen were mostly seen, not heard. But they were no less dazzling for that, says Geoffrey Macnab

Talent 2010: The fashion designer, Mark Fast

Mark Fast, the 27-year-old knitwear designer, first came to the attention of the fashion insider following his degree collection shown in 2006. A graduate of Central Saint Martins – he went on to complete an MA course there, too – he is known for hand-finished, one-off pieces which cling to the body's every curve and where the intention is to create clothing that is as proudly individual as the people who choose to wear it.

Sunnyside By Glen David Gold

Charlie Chaplin returns to life in this dazzling novel

Chaplin: The Tramp's Odyssey, By Simon Louvish

"Why another book?" asks Simon Louvish, at the beginning of this dense tome. It's more than 30 years since Charles Chaplin died, there's no anniversary in the offing, and there are lots of books about him, as the bibliography at the back of this one confirms. Louvish's sources are mainly secondary and he makes no boasts about new revelations. Yet it's a mark of his rich scholarship (and the richness of his subject) that you finish this book feeling glad he wrote it, rather than wondering why he did.

Sean O'Grady: When it seems too good to be true...

How did Madoff's victims ever allow themselves to be taken in?

Observations: Puppetry out of the shadows

When most people think of old-fashioned puppets, they think of the Punch and Judy shows they used to watch at the seaside when they were little. That is unless they've seen the lovingly crafted paper characters of The Paper Cinema; a company which cleverly mixes animation, art and live music to make a surreal, nu-folk cinematic experience. A cult hit at the Edinburgh Forest Fringe last year where people queued round the block for tickets, now, creator Nic Rawling is putting on a new show as part of the East Festival, celebrating culture in east London (from 5 to 10 March).

Cirque du Soleil: Quidam, Royal Albert Hall, London

It might now be a global brand, but Cirque's current offering is as surreally inventive as ever

Sunset Boulevard, Comedy Theatre, London

Loyally, perhaps too loyally, based on Billy Wilder's great movie, Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1993 Sunset Boulevard, with outstanding book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, was the last of the 20th-century musical blockbusters. Despite great performances by Patti LuPone, Glenn Close and Elaine Paige as Norma Desmond, and a lush, baroque design of a Hollywood palazzo by John Napier for Trevor Nunn's production, the bubble burst over the big global franchise phenomenon.

Bob Anderson: Child actor in 'It's a Wonderful Life'

The child actor Bob Anderson has a place in silver-screen history for one performance, that of the young George Bailey in Frank Capra's classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946). Playing the character who, after he grows up, is portrayed by James Stewart, Anderson featured memorably in the scene in which a drunken chemist inadvertently makes up a prescription including poison, but is saved by George, who is rewarded by being boxed around the ears.

Il Trovatore, Opera Holland Park, London<br/>La Fanciulla del West, Grange Park Opera, Hampshire

An armoury of visual aids and one invisible lady: This year's open-air opera season kicks off with an all-Italian fixture, and an easy win for Puccini

The Night of the Hunter

Directed by Charles Laughton

Funny girls: Heroines of slapstick

All the biggest stars of silent film were men, but their leading ladies could throw a custard pie with the best of them. Geoffrey Macnab salutes the unsung heroines of pre-war slapstick
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

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Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment