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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links