Who is the baddest Batman villain of them all?

Ka-pow! Batman is smashing Hollywood box-office records this weekend with his new film, 'The Dark Knight'. But the real star is the psychotic Joker, played by Heath Ledger in his last role before his death from a drugs overdose. The baddies often outclass the Bat, says Cole Moreton. But is this nasty Joker the best villain of the lot?

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (18)

From the moment the opening credits start literally oozing on to our screens with gruesome effect, we know that we're in for a typically macabre cinematic experience from the director Tim Burton.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 18

Despite the copious blood and guts, Tim Burton's musical is a strangely moral tale

Johnny Depp: His performance in Sweeney Todd has been acclaimed as 'stunning in every dimension'

"Idiot," Johnny Depp likes to joke, is the German translation of his surname. The universally swooned-over film actor, who this week picked up his first Golden Globe for his all-singing portrayal of Sweeney Todd, has, over a 24-year career, gained a reputation for playing the outsiders, rejects and oddballs – the idiots. Big-bucks, twinkly-eyed romantic leads – for which his unimprovable looks might seem to make him an obvious contender – have never held any allure.

Helena Boham Carter: After 30 years of waiting, the actress is finally playing the role of her dreams

The Sweeney Todd star talks to Nicola Christie

Johnny Depp proves a cut aboven at premiere of 'Sweeney Todd'

Hollywood's most rock 'n' roll movie star, Johnny Depp, flew into London to wow the crowds at last night's premiere of Tim Burton's latest Gothic creation, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

The wisdom of King Giorgio

She's the bright young star breaking all the rules. He's the grand master whose influence on the way we dress is felt around the world. In a rare interview, STELLA McCARTNEY asks Giorgio Armani about fur, fashion and film - and why RED is his new favourite colour

Arts: Spooks do furnish a room

All Tim Burton's films reveal his deep fascination with classic screen horror. So why has Sleepy Hollow, his first straight chiller, taken so long? He spoke to Vicki Reed in New York

Film: `I sometimes feel headless myself'

In `Sleepy Hollow', Tim Burton casts Christina Ricci completely against type. The director and his star explain why to David Eimer

London makes a pitch for US movies

THEY CAME to conquer Hollywood, not in an official limousine but in a slick sports vehicle. Their briefcases did not contain piles of Whitehall stationery, just a stack of interactive digital video discs and players. There were a few suits around, but the emphasis was definitely Paul Smith, not Savile Row.

It Was 10 Years Ago Today

In the summer of 1989 no bus shelter was safe from black- and- yellow batwings. It was what the distributors of Batman: The Movie called "absolutely the biggest poster campaign in history". As Nigel Andrews commented in the Financial Times: "Only someone who has destroyed his TV, shot his newsagent and retired to a cave in the Mendips could have avoided hearing about the film." And with the hype came the inevitable disappointment.

Win the The Planet of the Apes Video collection

WIN THE PLANET OF THE APES VIDEO COLLECTION

Accidental Heroes of the 20th Century: 9: Batman, Cartoon Hero

GERMANY LOOKED to Hitler, Italy to Mussolini and America to Superman. All three Ubermenschen were conceived in the Great Depression, although DC Comics undoubtedly produced the least lethal saviours from the prevailing chaos and disorder.
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
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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