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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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam