Arts and Entertainment The National Portrait Gallery has commissioned a portrait of Tony Blair by Alastair Adams

A painting of the former PM for the National Portrait Gallery tells us much about him

Regent Street snowflake Christmas lights, 1955

In pictures: Christmas in London through the ages

We take a look at the remarkable set of black and white photographs showing how London celebrated Christmas during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. They come from the Museum of London’s unique photography collection, which provides a glimpse into all aspects of London life during the second half of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Maybe it worked? 'Cops off campus' demo passes off peacefully

Barely a police officer in sight as 2,000 student protesters take to London's streets

The News Matrix: Monday 9 December 2013

Protesters topple Lenin statue in Kiev

Nelson Mandela was courageous to fight against oppression in apartheid South Africa and should not have been labelled 'a terrorist', the Archbishop of Canterbury said

Nelson Mandela was no terrorist, says Justin Welby

Nelson Mandela was courageous to fight against oppression in apartheid South Africa and should not have been labelled “a terrorist”, the Archbishop of Canterbury said at a service of thanksgiving for his life on Sunday.

People gather to look at flowers and tributes left at the statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square, London

Nelson Mandela’s complex bond with Britain

The South African President’s visit to Brixton in 1996 epitomised a mixed relationship with his nation's former colonial ruler

Rant and everyone soon tends to ignore you (a 1936 orator seeking a crowd at Speaker's Corner in London's Hyde Park)

Why have I started lecturing people in the streets? Maybe because I consider it a form of public service

Favoured topics are matters of practical morality, dress sense, litter – that sort of thing

One day ‘coming out’ won't be a thing - and the reaction to Tom Daley's announcement shows we're getting there

It's news because millennia of bigotry cannot simply be eradicated in a few decades

Brokers and underwriters line the balconies and escalators of the Lloyd's of London building in central London

Armistice Day 2013: Britons at home and abroad pay tribute

Estimated 4,000 people were in Trafalgar Square to observe the silence

Protesters demonstrate as part of the Bonfire of Austerity protest outside the Houses of Parliament

Scuffles near Buckingham Palace as protesters join Million Mask March

Event mirrored by similar gatherings in more than 400 cities worldwide including Dublin, Washington and Melbourne

Portrait Artist of the Year, Sky Arts 1

TV Review: Portrait Artist of the Year, Sky Arts 1

Sky Arts' random-presenter-generating machine has thrown up an interesting pairing to front their new television competition show. Portrait Artist of the Year will be presented by veteran broadcaster Joan Bakewell and that er... renowned expert in fine art Frank Skinner. It's Bake-Off, but with painting, because apparently there is no hobby or artistic pursuit that won't do as the basis for a TV talent competition. Whatever next? A show about competitive stamp collecting presented by Kerry Katona and Alan Yentob? A taxidermy tournament with Mary Beard and Peter Andre? Let's hope so, because on the evidence of last night's episode these marriages of high and low culture can be surprisingly successful.

Liliane Lijn with her proposed design for the Fourth Plinth

Battle of Trafalgar: Contemporary artists submit proposals for Fourth Plinth

Gyrating cones and horse skeleton among shortlisted works

Ledley King

Harry Redknapp attempted to lure Ledley King out of retirement to play for QPR reveals former Tottenham defender

King retired from professional football last summer after a long battle with a knee injury

I'll be back: The Exterminators (aka The Daleks) make a return for the BBC's 50th anniversary Doctor Who special

Exterminate! The Daleks to return for Doctor Who 50th anniversary special

Hide behind your sofas: the Daleks are among the Time Lord's fearsome foes set to make a return for the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who.

Food for thought: a Pakistani Muslim distributes food for Iftar, which breaks the fast at sunset

Ramadan 2013: Fasting for the body, food for the soul - and how Muslim life in Britain has changed

Non-Muslims used to regard Ramadan with suspicion. As she begins the annual ritual, Arifa Akbar explains how its lessons in empathy and abstinence can benefit us all

The Hay Wain by Constable has been attacked by a protester at the National Gallery

Man held after Constable's The Hay Wain attacked by protester in the National Gallery

Constable's masterpiece The Hay Wain has been attacked by a protester in the National Gallery.

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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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