Arts and Entertainment

Stand up if you're in a mid-life crisis

Pixie Lott has landed her first television acting role in Inspector George Gently alongside Martin Shaw.

Pixie Lott to join cast of BBC1 drama Inspector George Gently

Chart-topping star Pixie Lott is joining the cast of BBC1 drama Inspector George Gently.

Tuscan sun: the terrace at the Castello di Casole

Room service: Castello di Casole, Tuscany, Italy

Country life goes lux in Tuscany

If the dress fits: On Oscar night, 1955, Grace Kelly set the standard for red-carpet style

On Oscar night, 1955, one actress set the standard for red-carpet style, argues Susannah Frankel

Blessed (right) says: 'We both feel the greatest danger in life is not to take on adventures'

How We Met: Matt Dickinson & Brian Blessed

Matt Dickinson, 46

El Palace's sumptuous public rooms have been opulently revamped as part of the hotel's £27m refurbishment

Stay The Night: Hotel El Palace, Barcelona

A facelift that took two years and cost millions has put this luxury landmark back on the map, says Simone Kane

Barcelona: Cram in the sights, then hit the beach

City Slicker: Catalonia's capital is always changing. But its cool factor is ever present. Simone Kane offers tips for new and returning visitors

Charlie Chaplins hit London en masse

A troupe of Charlie Chaplins took to London streets to shoot a short film to launch Virgin Media Shorts 2011, the UK’s biggest short film competition and the only one which champions undiscovered UK film talent across four screens - at cinemas, on TV, on mobile and online.

The Hedonist: London

What to see and where to be seen

Why are Asian women aspiring to Western ideals of beauty?

Asian and African women are aspiring to Western ideals of physical perfection – and the results are far from pretty

The good prince guide

Now William Windsor is spoken for, which other royal boys might a girl set her sights on? Alice-Azania Jarvis surveys the field

Diary: A pair of Blow-Up models

Last week David Gandy D&G's favourite budgie-smuggler, kept us guessing as to the details of his first acting role, in a film he's shot with fellow model Helena Christensen. Cornered at the Triumph Inspiration Awards, Christensen, was more forthcoming than her co-star. Turns out the short is a tribute to Antonioni's 1966 classic, Blow-Up. Its director is Edoardo Ponti, son of Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti, who produced the original movie about a fashion photographer embroiled in a murder. Gender roles reversed, the tribute features Christensen (herself a snapper) as the photographer, with Gandy in the blessedly unchallenging role of one of her models. "I have huge admiration for actors; it is one of the strangest places you can go with yourself," said Christensen airily. "I wanted to push myself into a situation where I'm pulled out of a comfort zone and put in a very challenging place... It was an amazing experience." Essex-born Gandy's description was somewhat earthier: "I haven't had a single acting class," he told me, "[so] I was really bricking it."

Magnum photographer's UK exhibition

Works by Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt have gone on show in the UK at the Magnum Print Room in London.

Observations: A Visual History of Cookery is a feast for the eyes

Many of us buy cookery books not for the recipes, but for the mouthwatering imagery that accompanies them. How many copies of Jamie, Nigel and Nigella's numerous tomes rest not on the shelf next to the cooker, dog-eared and spotted with grease, but immaculately preserved on the coffee table? Why cook a recipe when you can salivate over the photograph instead? A Visual History of Cookery takes this thinking to its logical conclusion in a beautiful new book that is a feast for the eyes.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
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Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory