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.

Chile's World Cup qualifier with Lionel Messi's Argentina sparked the row

The best player in the world? Lionel Messi isn't even the best sportsman in Argentina

Boxer and taekwondo fighter beat Messi to Argentina's sportman of the year award

Lionel Messi

It's official: Lionel Messi DOESN'T hold the goal scoring record

Fifa refuse to ratify Lionel Messi's goalscoring record amid challenges from Brazil and Zambia

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi takes goal tally to 88 with Barcelona brace - and has a new record in sight

Following Zambia's claims over the goals in a year record, apparently Brazil legend Zico scored 89 in 1979

English National Ballet dancers perform The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker, English National Ballet, London Coliseum, London

English National Ballet’s Nutcracker is a muted production lifted by sparkling dancing. From stars Vadim Muntagirov and Daria Klimentová through to the corps of Snowflakes, the company dance with warmth and festive spirit.

The Nutcracker, Royal Opera House, London

The Royal Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker has a richly traditional air. Snow lies thick on the steeply-pitched roofs of a German town. Christmas tree fairies gleam with gilding, while the tree itself soars upwards, growing magically to Tchaikovsky’s irresistible score.

Chelsea's new manager Rafael Benitez was defiant that he could win the supporters over

I can win over Chelsea fans, says defiant Rafael Benitez following boos

'How many people do you need to write a banner? Just one. Then two holding it,' says Chelsea's new manager

Stone Roses guitarist John Squire's artwork destroyed after studio burns down

The artist's studio in Macclesfield is just yards from his home

As Hurricane Sandy approached, I flew into New York. And I wondered: was this all my fault?

Our columnist reflects on his consistently bad luck with natural disasters. Aren't we all occasionally just a whisker from a major historical event?

Spurs owner tightens his grip on DCD Media with shake-up

The billionaire tycoon and Tottenham Hotspur owner Joe Lewis yesterday expanded his reach into TV and film production as he shook up the board of DCD Media.

The Phantom Army of Alamein, By Rick Stroud

Wartime smoke and mirrors

David Blaine's new electricity stunt

Blaine's back with a new stunt: he will risk being zapped with 1m volts for three days.

Team GB's Rhythmic Gymnastics group perform with five balls

Rhythmic Gymnastics: It's a whole different ball game

Rhythmic gymnastics may seem a glitter-clad oddity but Chris McGrath can only admire the mildly superhuman capabilities of these young girls at Wembley Arena

Bulllet Catch, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Here comes actor and, for the occasion, raconteur Rob Drummond to tell us a story.

Paloma Faith, Somerset House, London

"For all the people with wobbly bits, bingo wings, jelly, beer bellies, flab, and even liposuction where the fat deposits itself in weird places...we shake 'em together tonight." With that strange, joyful announcement, Paloma Faith turns her back to the crowd and hoists up her demure, ankle-length ball gown until it falls just underneath her bum and wiggles her alabaster legs, sending ripples across her pert behind.

Callum McClure, 14, from Guildford, Surrey,
first became interested in illusions when
he was eight and a magician came to his
school. He is planning on graduating to the Magic Circle and travelling to Las Vegas and Hollywood

Hey, presto! Record numbers of children signing up to Young Magicians Club

Children see magic because they look for it, it's said, but more and more of them are determined to practise it as well. Once the preserve of men in tuxedos pulling rabbits from top hats, TV magic is nurturing a new generation who want to get down with the kids.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all