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

This week's Critics' Choice

On the agenda: Afghanistan; The Cardboard Book Project; John Alfredo Harris; London Fashion Week; Malaysia Night in London's Trafalgar Square; Party for Pakistan

The real Afghanistan, furniture in Savile Row, plus Facejacker on the charidee trail

<i>IoS</i> investigation: Our patronising approach to 10 million disabled Britons

Most of us say we believe in equality, but how we act suggests differently

Fourth Plinth, St Martin-in-the-Fields, London

Times have changed and there are no kings or generals among the six contenders for Trafalgar Square's empty corner &ndash; but there is a giant rooster, a musical ATM, and England's royal past rendered as a cake

Turkmenistan dictator's golden statue is toppled

A prominent golden statue of Turkmenistan's former dictator has been taken down, further eroding the personality cult around the late leader.

Leading article: Sweet sculpture

Contemporary art is often characterised as intensely international. So it is perhaps remarkable how many of the proposals for a work of art to grace the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square seem to have made reference to the British national spirit.

Cockerels, cashpoints and cake next for fourth plinth

Ever since Mark Wallinger's sculpture of Jesus Christ clad in a loincloth and crown of thorns was installed on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth, its revolving gallery of artworks has roused passions and stirred debate.

Six sculptures in running for Trafalgar Square

A giant Battenberg cake made of bricks and an outsize blue cockerel were revealed today to be among the works battling to take their place in Trafalgar Square.

Fair Trade, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

Three years ago an art installation in Trafalgar Square charted the journey of a sex-trafficked girl from Eastern Europe to a Western brothel. A powerful clarion call, it inspired Lucy Kirkwood's hit It Felt Empty When the Heart Went at First But It Is Alright Now. It also, it turns out, inspired Fair Trade, which arrives at the Fringe with Emma Thompson's endorsement as executive producer.

Love from London: A City of Stars

A new photography exhibition captures stars from the golden age of cinema as they enjoy stepping out in London. From Elizabeth Taylor fending off pigeons in Trafalgar Square to Audrey Hepburn taking her dog for a run in Richmond Park.



The pigeons have gone, but visitors are flocking to Trafalgar Square

Art venue. Film set. And now maze. Andy McSmith on the rebirth of a London landmark

Location location location: UK's top cinematic spots

Britain is blessed with a variety of landscapes that can change, sometimes dramatically, within short distances. Close enough to the studios of Pinewood and Shepperton, Egypt has been filmed on the sand of Frensham Large Pond whilst across the water Russia has been shot amongst the pine trees and silver birches of Frensham Little Pond.

The battle of Trafalgar Square: six artists vie for fourth plinth spot

Nelson still has another 18 months to treasure looking down at the bottled replica of his flagship HMS Victory from atop his column. But already the battle has begun among the next armada of contenders vying to catch the admiral's eye.

EasyJet founder wins Ryanair libel payout

EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou accepted undisclosed libel damages today over Ryanair advertisements which accused him of lying.

Slow Dancing, Trafalgar Square, London

Some steps in the right direction
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape