Arts and Entertainment

A window on the real world with Danny and his diamond geezers

Harriet Walker: Christmas is as close to crawling back into the womb as we’re likely to get

I love Christmas but don’t worry, I’m not going to proselytise about it. I won’t pretend it’s any more than an excuse for gluttony and for corporations to sell people tat they don’t need. I go into the festive period with my eyes open, thanks very much, and I’m more fascinated than I am fanatical. But I do love it.

Grace Dent on TV: Lucan, ITV

Another great Lucan mystery: how could ITV make this story so boring?

Album of the week: Nick Lowe, 'Quality Street' (Proper)

Warmth and wit light up this festive box of delights 

New Year's resolutions: the best apps to help you keep your promises in 2014

Every year, millions of Britons resolve to be better people and pledge various New Year’s resolutions - to be healthier or friendlier; to s spend time with family, for example -  but invariably we end up falling back into old habits the moment we go back to work.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: The last PMQs before Christmas. Thank goodness it comes round only once a year

Ah, the last Prime Minister’s Questions of the year. MPs always find it impossible not to overdo the festive references, as though they had just been given uniquely privileged inside information that Christmas was only a week away. There is the frankly obsequious kind, such as Therese Coffey’s: “Thank you for calling me, Mr Speaker, and a merry Christmas to you and your family. The people of Suffolk have enjoyed a cracker of a Christmas present with the excellent news on the A14 [not becoming a toll road]...” Then there is the beseeching, as in her fellow Tory Stewart Jackson’s: “Will the Prime Minister give an early Christmas present to Peterborough people by giving his personal support to our bid for a university technical college.”

Ed Miliband has argued that the package could not go ahead during the biggest cost of living crisis for a generation

PMQs: Miliband gives tour-de-force demonstration of how not to do it

A growing economy is bad news for Ed's 'cost of living crisis'

Kirstie Allsopp in 'Kirstie’s Crafty Christmas'

What to watch tonight: TV choices, 16 December

TV reviewer Gerald Gilbert rounds up the best of the box tonight

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.

Asda vows to bring back Black Friday after 'phenomenal' response

Despite Asda’s Black Friday sales being marred by violence, the supermarket giant has said the US tradition of heavy discounting on the first Friday after Thanksgiving is set to stay in the UK.

Christmas dinner on a budget: treat yourself to a festive feast for £2.73

We all know Christmas is a time to celebrate and share with family and friends. But if can do it on the cheap, quite frankly, that's even better.

The Rover's returned to Corrie's new location in Salford

Touring Coronation Street's new Salford set: The devil's in the details

The Rovers Return has gained an extra window, Four Your Fries Only has won a four star hygiene rating and Nick's Bistro has little to offer vegetarians

People prepare Thanksgiving meals for those in need at the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center in Washington as America prepares to celebrate Thanksgiving in its rare overlap with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, prompting the center to dub it 'Thanksgivukkah'

Thanksgivukkah! Thanksgiving overlaps with Hanukkah as US marks day with travel, parades, shopping and ceremonies

Millions of Americans will gather on Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving - stuffing turkeys for feasts, braving high winds along parade routes and planning for the holiday shopping madness as soon as the pumpkin pies have been gobbled up.

Christmas cheer? Simon Amstell

The week in comedy: 'Tis the season to buy jolly DVDs

It was Super Monday this week – the comedy industry's equivalent to Super Thursday, when publishers flood the bookshops with celebrity memoirs and other sure-sellers for the festive market. So on Monday DVDs by Miranda Hart, Reginald D Hunter, Micky Flanagan, Jack Dee, Eddie Izzard, Jimmy Carr, Bill Bailey, Seann Walsh, Keith Lemon and others hit the shelves.

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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us