Property

The former footballer and Spice Girl are expected to invest £5m on doing the house up to their own specifications

Blood Brothers, Phoenix Theatre, London

It can be a dangerous game parachuting a pop star into a much-loved musical – even when that musical is one of the West End's hardiest perennials and the popstar is Mel C, better known as Sporty Spice, or the Spice Girl who could sing. Willy Russell's Blood Brothers has been bringing audiences tearfully to their feet for 21 years in London and last night was no exception. Quite right, too. Melanie C (as she calls herself in the programme) is brilliant as Mrs Johnstone, the beating heart of the drama and a luminous stage presence even as her character grows ever more careworn and downtrodden.

EMI Records: a history in music

They dominated the British music industry for half a decade, but how did EMI Records get there? And what factors contributed to their extraordinary decline?

Mel B joins ITV's Loose Women

Mel B is transforming herself from a Spice Girl into a Loose Woman.

Mel B auctions memorabilia for charity

Former Spice Girl Mel B is to auction the contents of her home, including treasured outfits and items from the girl-band era, after her move to the United States.

Victoria Beckham: An apology

In-depth inquiry reveals pop genius and international style icon is beyond reproach...

Kill Your Friends, by John Niven

Most accounts of the late-1990s music scene (John Harris's The Last Party, Emma Forrest's Namedropper) have concentrated on the success, the familiar tale of how Blur and Oasis moved from the NME to News at Ten. But Kill Your Friends, John Niven's hysterical debut novel about a year in the life of A&R man Steven Stelfox, gets much comic mileage out of the false predictions, failed hypes and firework careers of the bands that don't make it to household name status. Each chapter begins with a music industry misstep (Alan McGee boasting that by the second or third album, 3 Colours Red will be selling five million), and throughout the book he has Stelfox out of step with public and critical taste (he's convinced, for example, that "Paranoid Android" will end Radiohead's career and that Be Here Now is Oasis's masterpiece.)

5 Become 1! Not sporty. Just very scary

The sound system was terrible and the singing slapdash, but did 16,000 fans at the Spice Girls' reunion concert care? Not at all. They were revelling in hearing their favourite numbers again, while their heroines were making a mint. Cole Moreton reports from the O2

Catherine Townsend: Sleeping around

"Cut it," I laughed, sinking down into my trendy East London hairdresser's chair. "But nothing too drastic - if I end up with a mullet, I'll really be depressed." Since my break-up with Richard, I've spent a lot of time either wallowing in my tracksuit bottoms or out at tequila bars with my girlfriends.

My Mentor: Bridgid Nzekwu on Peter Barron

'He was ready to advise, and to criticise without undermining my confidence'

The Best Of: Naples

Deborah Orr: Privates on parade

THESE DAYS, all sensible public figures want to keep their private lives private. But the royals are compelled to make a far more generous dispensation. Royal births, deaths and marriages are our business as well as theirs. It is by these crude mechanisms that our heads of state are selected. But how vulgarly in step with only the crassest aspects of the modern sensibility such metaphorical display of the bloodied sheets really is.

Zap Mama: The second coming of Zap Mama

After a four-year absence, Zap Mama are back with a new album. Phil Meadley asks Marie Daulne, their Belgian founder and leader, what took her so long

Let's kill Top of the Pops

The BBC has relaunched its flagship music programme - again. What a waste of time, says the former TotP chief Trevor Dann

Flintoff saddled with mission improbable

Fourth Test: Need is for young all-rounder to be brilliant and consistent
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
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Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick