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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Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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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
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor