News David Cameron and Al Murray are ‘distant cousins’ family records show

The pair are related, equally randomly, through 19th century Vanity Fair writer William Thackeray

A. A. Gill sticks the knife into Michelin

A.A. Gill is so often found gratuitously insulting sucessful women, that you'd be forgiven for thinking this was his primary profession.

Usual Suspects star Byrne to star in Quirke thrillers

Gabriel Byrne is set to star in a series of crime thrillers based on novels by Booker Prize winner John Banville.

Kim Kardashian is unlikely to be embraced by the world of high fashion

Fashion: Can Kim Kardashian's klothing konvince?

"Does Kim Kardashian belong on the cover of a fashion magazine?" asks this week's New York magazine, next to a close-up of the perennially pouting reality-television star.

Robert Pattinson appearing on The Daily Show with John Stewart on Monday

Relationships: How to do the post-breakup interview

Robert Pattinson's appearance on The Daily Show on Monday was the Twilight actor's first interview since his very public split with Kristen Stewart. Host Jon Stewart's half-attempts to draw sound bites out of him involved pulling out a couple of tubs of ice cream and trying to engage in a "girly chat". As Pattinson gamefully deflected the questions, he said that he wished he had hired a publicist to tell him how to handle the situation.

Gore Vidal: 'A keeper of the national conscience'

Gore Vidal, a larger-than-life literary institution who was always willing to speak up and hold his government accountable, has died aged 86, writes Rupert Cornwell

Aaron Sorkin 'sacks The Newsroom writers' apart from ex-girlfriend

Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO series The Newsroom has received mixed reviews since it appeared on television screens last month. The Independent’ TV critic Grace Dent noted its “base-notes of ordure” and declared it “not heinously bad [but] simply not amazing”.

NatWest mess shows cuts can cost dear

An operation suddenly trying to do the same thing with fewer hands is going to come unstuck somewhere.

'Sonogram art' - photoshopping the scan over the stomach of the mother and uploading it to facebook - is apparently the next best thing for soon-to-be parents

Trending: Now being shared, the insta-sonogram

Photography

Jill Abramson at a New York Times 'Page 1' editorial meeting

The Times of her life: Jill Abramson on power, pop culture and puppies

Abramson, the first female editor of The New York Times, has already made history.

Guilty verdict in heiress case

A gas fitter has been convicted of the manslaughter of Zoe Anderson, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Bath following the installation of a boiler.

Kim Kardashian is guilty of the vocal fry

Pronunciation: Make a speech purist cry – try vocal fry

Will you be frying tonight? Britney, Kim Kardashian and her coven and K$sha (her keyboard clumsiness, not mine) will be. I'm not talking about the oil-based cooking technique. Instead, I refer to the "vocal fry", a non-fattening and newly identified way of speaking that is, apparently, big with young women in the US.

Florence Welch took the Best Solo Artist award

Florence Welch beats Adele in double NME award triumph

Adele’s run of award-winning success has finally been brought to an end after Florence + The Machine triumphed with a double win at the NME awards.

James Murdoch and his father, Rupert, in London last July

Ian Burrell: He came to clean up Wapping but leaves behind a bigger mess

When James Murdoch took charge at News International's Wapping plant in 2007 he was just 34 and determined to preside over a modern media organisation and a clean one. He drove an environmentally friendly Toyota Prius, which he parked prominently at the front of the main offices. He introduced hanging plants, banned the use of hand towels and ordered wall posters that urged staff to save energy and help NI become a carbon-neutral company.

New Zealand's penguin power

A giant penguin more than 4ft (1.2m) tall roamed New Zealand about 27 million years ago, according to paleontologists who have reconstructed it from fossil remains.

Sony's Vita console sales hit 1.2 million

Sony's latest handheld games console, the PlayStation Vita, has sold 1.2 million units worldwide.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
News
i100
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies looks set to be a dramatic conclusion to Peter Jackson's trilogy
film
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?