Theatre Under Their Hats Northcott Theatre, Exeter

Flanders and Swann brought sophistication to the comic song. They didn't have the irony of Coward, although they could pack a punch, as in "Twenty Tons of TNT". Under Their Hats draws output not only from their two-man shows, but from material they wrote for intimate revues of the Fifties, for Moira Lister and Max Adrian and the Scottish bass Ian Wallace.

The artist, his mistress, her lover

Augustus John's romantic life has long been the subject of speculation. But one mystery that has never been solved is the identity of his rival in love, the shadowy Leonard B. Michael Holroyd sifts the evidence

Tourists become pawns in Belgium's separatist war

Industrial decay is no match for Flemish splendours, reports Sarah Helm in Brussels

War memories widen Belgium's communal rift


Letter: The debt we owe Tyndale

MAY I add a correction or two to those already made (Letters, 28 January) to the article about the Tyndale version of the Bible.

Shot at dawn, but her war goes on

Irma Laplasse was executed for betraying Belgian resistance fighters to the Nazis to save her own son. Today her case is reopened - and so are many old wounds. Sarah Helm reports

MUSIC: It ain't over till the fat man's hanky song

THE bottom-line demand of Turandot is for two acts of romantic, oriental schmaltz to keep the audience happy until "Nessun Dorma" - but Christopher Alden's production for English National Opera offers nothing of the sort. Set starkly against lurid, neon-lit designs and corrugated surfaces (with the whole of Act 1 contained by a wall of mug-shots of the princely victims looking like a rent boys' gazetteer), the tone is rigorously anti-romantic; and it culminates in a final scene where Turandot and Calaf not only fail to kiss but end up on different sides of the stage, ignoring each other. It's as though Alden refuses to accept the possibility of love between these characters; as though the riddles, challenges and conquests are nothing more than a self-proving game of Russian roulette where the most you can expect is survival. In short, this is no Turandot for traditionalists - or for football fans in innocent pursuit of what the fat man's hanky song is all about.

Anderlecht win Belgian title fight

In a desperately close finish to the Belgian championship, Anderlecht emerged from a three-way race on the final day of the season to claim the title ahead of Standard Liege and Club Bruges.

Walloon woes spawn politics of hatred


Holy fool who creates an unholy mess

Classical Music

Verheyen leaves it late to breach Blues' defences

FOOTBALL: Chelsea suffer first defeat of European campaign in Belgium

Chelsea seek good conduct

Chelsea yesterday insisted that their fans will "restore some English pride" at next week's European Cup-Winners' Cup quarter-final first leg against Club Bruges in Belgium. The match - an 18,000 sell-out - is the first overseas excursion by English supporters since last week's events in Dublin.

Stay intact with devolution

Local power has made some countries more affluent, writes Leonard Doyle

Departures: Bruges antiques

The 11th Bruges Antiques Fair begins next weekend, and visitors to the Belgian city can qualify for half-price air travel. If you book a two-night package, price pounds 86, you are entitled to a 50 per cent cut in economy or business-class fares on Sabena to Brussels.

THEATRE / The first casualty of war: Paul Taylor reviews The Big Picnic in Glasgow

Bill Bryden's The Big Picnic is a moving experience in more ways than one. A technically audacious First World War spectacular, it's performed in the vast abandoned engine shed of the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Govan, Glasgow. Here, in the apposite atmosphere of a bleak industrial machine, the audience literally follows the young Pals Brigade of Govan volunteers to Flanders and through the inhumanities of trench warfare to their massacre in 1917. You go on the journey either as a promenader or as a sedentary passenger on the mobile seating that slides back and forth down the 250ft nave of scaffolding within which the designer, William Dudley, has recreated the muddy, smoky wasteland of the Front.
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

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Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

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Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

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Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

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Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

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