Life and Style

Canadian popstar beat both Beyonce and Kate Middleton to take the top spot in the UK, moving up from fifth place in 2012

Charles Nevin: Things to worry about after your rest

Start The Week: Some believe that Life is being written by an inspired but malevolent scriptwriter combining the talents of William Brown, Jonathan Swift, Lady Gaga, Stuey from Family Guy, Max Clifford and Edgar Allan Po

Leslie Nielsen: Actor best known for ‘Airplane!’ and the ‘Naked Gun’ and ‘Police Squad’ film and television series

Leslie Nielsen spent years as a journeyman actor, a reliable but bland leading man on television and in films who would be best remembered now for his role as a space-ship captain in the cult science-fiction film Forbidden Planet (1956) had he not been cast in Airplane!, the hilarious pastiche of disaster movies that revealed a delightfully droll and unexpected flair for comedy and made him a major star. The American Film Institute lists Airplane! as one of the 10 best comedies, and in its list of 100 memorable quotes, at No 79 is the exchange in which Nielsen is asked, "Surely, you can't be serious?" and replies, "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley." He said later: "I thought it was amusing, but it never occurred to me that it was going to be a trademark."

Unstoppable: Exclusive interview with Denzel Washington

Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington and Star Trek's Chris Pine team with up action maestro Tony Scott for non-stop action thriller, Unstoppable.

Anti-matter is finally trapped for an instant

It powered the warp-drive spaceships of Star Trek and was the deadly ingredient of the mega bomb in Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. Now scientists have produced and trapped antimatter for the first time.

Coronation Street, ITV1, Monday<br/>Misfits, E4, Thursday

After 31 years in 'Coronation Street', actor Bill Tarmey bids a poignant farewell to his popular character in one of those landmark soap scenes

Diary: Glammed up for drag mag

James Franco, my (and everybody else's) favourite "slash" careerist (actor/writer/student/artist/model), has been photographed in rather fetching drag by Terry Richardson for the cover of the second issue of Candy magazine, which describes itself as "the first fashion magazine ever completely dedicated to celebrating transvestism, transexuality, cross dressing, and androgyny, in all its manifestations."

Networks turn back the television clock

As 'Hawaii Five-O' returns to the TV, a slew of shows based on old hits are set to follow

David Mitchell: 'Readers enable me to continue to do what I love. Prizes won't do that for you'

David Mitchell attracts both deep popular affection and critical awe. In Edinburgh, Arifa Akbar talks to him as the Booker race looms

Actors-turned-singers: Hugh Laurie sings the blues

As Hugh Laurie prepares to record a blues album, Ben Walsh worries that it could be the latest in a long line of turgid offerings from actors-turned-singers

Corey Allen: Actor and television director who starred alongside James Dean in 'Rebel Without a Cause'

The acting career of Corey Allen was boosted by early roles such as that of the ill-fated high-school gang-leader Buzz Gunderson, who challenges the new boy Jim Stark – played by James Dean – to a "chickie run" in the 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause.

The Sketch: Conservatives are still fawning over Cameron

On the Tory back benches, one of them in throbbing purple sat next to another one in thumping orange – the colour clash was almost audible, you needed special glasses to look at them. The orange one stood up and said: "Can I praise the Prime Minister for..." Whatever she was going for got lost in the parliamentary ribaldry. The Speaker remonstrated: "It is not against the rules of the House for a backbencher to support the Government." And Cameron said, with a hint of sardonic laughter, "Yes, we remember you doing that very well, Mr Speaker."

Saul Bass-style animated credit sequences are online hit

Graphic designers have been making a viral splash online with retro minimalist redesigns of classic movie posters. Examples of their work, frequently compared to the seminal designs of Saul Bass, were recently published on this website (goo.gl/2hOv).

50 years ago, the laser beam was born...

... and we mark this scientific achievement with 50 reasons to celebrate
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there