Arts and Entertainment Shock treatment: Billy Brown, Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott in ‘Hostages’

Just as well that this pilot episode got stuck straight into the action

Finally, some TV dramas that know when to end it

Something unusual happened on American television last week: a drama finished its first season with all the loose ends tied up. There were no cliffhangers. No teasing hints at stories to come. The show in question was Hostages, which started on Channel 4 last night, and it is adding to the stirrings of a television revolution.

Between The Sheets: What’s really going on in the world of books

Just to make you feel old, 2014 is the 25th anniversary of Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury’s classic children’s book, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt. “Swishy Swashy! Squelch Squelch! Hooo wooo!” and all the rest. The book has sold more than 8 million copies in 18 languages, but initially Rosen didn’t think that it would work: “The story seems to have originally been a folk song,” he says. “David Lloyd at Walker Books saw me perform it and asked me to write it down. So I added to the story and, 18 months later, I was stunned to see the beautiful pictures that Helen had created – the family adventure is from Helen’s imagination and I enjoy and admire the book almost as an outsider – but back then I couldn’t quite figure out how it would work as a book!” To celebrate, Walker will publish an anniversary edition in January and an interactive sound book in the summer, and in February the Royal Festival Hall in London will host a “promenade performance”, where children will be invited to dress up and take home a pair of bear ears. Oxenbury recalls illustrating the book: “Michael and I never met until after the book was finished, but what was wonderful about it was there was nothing described in a way that restricted me. I modelled the children and the dog on my own. The bear’s posture I modelled on a friend who had depression, with his dropped shoulders – I felt the bear was probably lonely and wanted company rather than eat the children!” So now we know. We’re not scared!

Julianne Moore stars in The English Teacher

The English Teacher: Julianne Moore is a quirky woman forced out of a straight-laced life

The Craig Zisk-directed movie is informed by his strong female TV characters Nurse Jackie, Weeds and The Big C

DVD & Blu-ray review: Mental (15)

PJ Hogan DVD/Blu-ray (115mins)

Cracking up: P J Hogan’s new comedy provides a fresh take on family life

IoS film review 2: Mental
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

The hitchhiker's guide to staying sane and celebrating dysfunction

Movie review: Mental, starring Toni Collette, Liev Schreiber

PJ Hogan, 15, 116mins

ScreenTalk

Our contact at The Hollywood Reporter gives us the insider gossip from Tinseltown

Fright Night (15)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Toni Collette, David Tennant

Embers: An Evening with Tunng and Friends, HMV Forum, London

East London collective Tunng were founded by Sam Genders and Mike Lindsay in 2003. Their winsome combining of folk melodies and harmonies with glitchy electronics soon won them fans, as well as the tag of "folktronica" (though don't let that put you off). After a few albums and growing success, however, Genders stepped aside, leaving female vocalist Becky Jacobs to step into the spotlight alongside Lindsay on their excellent new album ...And Then We Saw Land. Tonight's performance comes with support from their also rather talented "friends" – Hannah Peel, Gable and Sam Amidon – but Genders also makes a few guest appearances onstage. It's a fluid, familial set-up that lends a warm, inclusive atmosphere to the gig.

Rich Fulcher: An Evening with Eleanor the Tour Whore, Udderbelly's Pasture, Bristo Square, Edinburgh

At the end of Rich Fulcher's flawed show some members of the audience give him a standing ovation. They're probably the same people that started a Mexican wave before it even began. Such slavish behaviour is typical of fans of The Mighty Boosh, in which Fulcher famously stars.

NBC's pitch-perfect Community rarely falters

Sometimes it's hard to work out why television programme chiefs buy in certain foreign shows and completely overlook others. For example, why did E4 buy the dull One Tree Hill, but not the savvy Veronica Mars? Why has no one picked up the charming Bored to Death or the clever Party Down? Why was there no interest in United States of Tara, despite a script by Juno's Diablo Cody and the presence of Toni Collette in the lead role?

Nevin's Notes (07/05/10)

An alternative take on the election

Evening Session to return... on 6 Music

The show that chronicled the birth of Britpop is back – for one night only

Free Independent Drama: As We Forgive Them

As President Obama marks his first year in office, The Independent is giving you an exclusive opportunity to download an award-winning new drama about a subject that cuts to the very heart of American politics.

Ian Craig: Lobby journalist for the 'Liverpool Echo' and 'Manchester Evening News' for more than two decades

The sudden death of Ian Craig, who was a stalwart of the Westminster press lobby for more than 25 years, has generated a stream of tributes unusual both in their number and in their warmth.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album