Arts and Entertainment Ellie Goulding has refused to sing at the Sochi Winter Olympics due to Russia's anti-gay laws

The singer turned down a request to sing at the Sochi opening ceremony

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Actor Hugh Laurie as Dr Gregory House. At its peak, he was watched by 81.8 million people in 66 countries.

House finally hangs up his stethoscope

After eight years, Hugh Laurie calls time on the most popular television doctor in the world.

Little wonder left its author lost for words

A witty tome on etymology has surprised just about everyone to become a bestseller, says Nick Duerden

The Etymologicon: The little wonder that left its author lost for words

A witty tome on etymology has become a surprise bestseller
Undershaw, the former home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has crumbled

Sherlock Holmes and the curious case of the author's ruined mansion

Campaigners fighting to save Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's crumbling former home have been boosted by a High Court decision to allow a judicial review of a case that might have tested the wit of the author's most famous creation.

Stephen Fry and Victoria Wood star as 'human beans', while Robert Sheehan, Sharon Horgan, Christopher Eccleston, and Aisling Loftus are The Borrowers

Heads Up: The Borrowers

Something borrowed, something new...

The Blagger's Guide To...The Pen Quiz

London's literati gear up for the ultimate test

DVD: Animal Kingdom (18)

Smurf, Jacki Weaver's sly, unhinged Melbourne mobster, suggests that her son, Andrew "Pope" Cody (Ben Mendelsohn), should start taking his pills again. I should say so.

'Dam Busters' dog renamed

The mascot of RAF 617 Squadron, a dog owned by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, is to have its name changed in a remake of the 1955 film The Dam Busters.

Letters: The Care System

Parents seen as a problem

Celebrities give voice to benches

A series of "talking benches" voiced by such celebrities as Miranda Hart and Stephen Fry are being set up at eight beauty spots.

Radio 1 DJ Kissy Sell Out: 'Classical music is irrelevant to today's youth'

As he prepares to take part in a Cambridge Union debate with Stephen Fry, Radio 1 DJ Kissy Sell Out explains why classical music has had its day

Animal Kingdom (15)

The Independent review: Where the really wild things are

Cooper Brown: Sexism

I'm under "investigation" for sexism and have had an online fight with Stephen Fry. If whichever bunch of ladyboys decide that I have been sexist then I will be fined and this diary censured. Well bring it on, that's what I say!

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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
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas