Arts & 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.

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Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

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Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

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With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal