Arts and Entertainment What a racket: Conor Woodman in 'Scam City'

It's not just that the National Geographic documentary series Scam City is a pointless programme, it's that it's also a uniquely irritating one. Whereas most consumer watchdogs investigate scams at the instigation of aggrieved parties, in Scam City presenter Conor Woodman, travels the world looking for trouble and – what's more pitiful – often fails to find it.

Simon Slater as Derek in Bloodshot

Bloodshot and Tell Me On A Sunday, theatre reviews

St James Theatre, London

Credo: ‘Shawshank Redemption’ director Frank Darabont on potboilers, the immigrant experience and why he yearns for the ocean

I’ve always tried to pursue the things I’m most passionate about You have to follow your heart. That’s why I’ve written and directed [new TV show] Mob City [based on John Buntin’s book LA Noir: The Struggle For the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City]. I’ve always loved film noir, the potboiler aspect, the fact that everyone has an angle, a secret, and that the heat is always being turned up under the kettle.

Former Scotland manager Craig Brown offers his opinion on Manchester United 'target' Ryan Gauld

In conjunction with BT Sport's Life's A Pitch, we put questions from readers of The Independent to the former Scotland manager

Martin Freeman as John Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock series 3: Nearly 10m tune in to watch series three opening episode

The first episode of series three generated more than 300,000 posts on Twitter

What a card: David Blaine (right) entertains Will Smith and family in ‘Real or Magic?’

David Blaine: Real or Magic?: TV review - Blaine gets up to his old tricks and shows the stars he hasn't lost his magic touch

Last night, David Blaine – a man with so much warmth of personality that he turned citizens of one of the most sophisticated cities on the planet into turd-flinging zoo bonobos simply by sitting in a glass box – posited an interesting question. If all of the United Kingdom is watching Sherlock on the other side, then does anyone care what Blaino is up to?

Benedict Cumberbatch in the new season opener

Sherlock 'The Empty Hearse' review: So, how did the great detective fake his own death?

A thoroughly satisfying season opener

Invisible Ink: No 204 - Ghost writers

Remember the odd history of Virginia Andrews? Her Flowers In The Attic novels began appearing in 1979 and became surprise best-sellers. They were airless, claustrophobic works about four siblings locked in an attic in order to gain an inheritance. The incestuous melodramas appealed to teenaged girls, so when Andrews died in 1986 she was replaced by a ghost writer called Andrew Neiderman, who penned more than 40 further volumes in her name. They did so well that her estate kept her alive and earning, the Inland Revenue Service cannily arguing that her name was still a taxable asset.

Fiddler crabs: During mating displays, the males stand beside other males who have smaller claws to make their own claws look bigger

Just like that! Meet Mother Nature's magicians

Animal illusionists trick predators, win mates, even disappear – and there are more of them than we thought, says new research

A mad scramble by bargain hunters in one of the capital’s biggest

Online shopping ‘comes of age’ in time for Boxing Day as millions make most of the sales

Up to 118 million visits to UK retail websites estimated to have been made on each of Christmas Day and Boxing Day

A bin of corks used as evidence in the trial of wine dealer Rudy Kurniawan

US wine dealer who made $1.3m by selling ‘vintage’ stock made in kitchen facing up to 40 years in prison

Renowned seller made fortune from bogus bottles sold to rich American collectors

Steve McClaren’s failure convinced the FA that radical change was needed
Actor Patrick Robinson and his dance partner Anya Garnis have left the competition

Strictly Come Dancing 2013 semi-final: Patrick Robinson loses to Natalie Gumede

The Casualty actor and his dance partner Anya Garnis have left the competition

Thieves burgle home of Archbishop Desmond Tutu while he attends Nelson Mandela memorial service

It is the second time Archbishop Tutu’s home has been raided in less than four months

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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
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In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
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World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

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Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

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New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
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Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice