Arts and Entertainment

“The running total is 171.1 miles, not quite halfway,” groans Mason after the District Line, though this reader had the thought that no one forced him to do an overground trek of the Underground.

St Luke Passion, Cathedral, Canterbury

Half a century ago, Krzysztof Penderecki saw his St Luke Passion travel the world as an instant sensation. It was that rare phenomenon, an avant-garde work on a grand scale that surpassed its difficulties of performance and moved large audiences. Then, it mysteriously disappeared. Saturday's revival by the Sounds New festival was the first in Britain for nearly 30 years. Bringing in a ready-prepared performance by top Polish musicians with the composer conducting, it was the culmination of this year's Polish Connections theme and, with the cathedral nave packed out, destined to put a previously local festival on the national map. But would it, on a musical level, make lightning strike again?

The Ten Best Classic British Games

We run down the games which have made British games development some of the best in the world.

Franklyn (15)

Franklyn is a triumph of ambition over ability. The debut film from writer-director Gerald McMorrow, it's a genre-hopping British mystery which has four strands, three of them set in London, the fourth set in a Gilliamesque parallel universe where religion is a legal requirement. These dizzyingly designed fantasy sequences feature Ryan Phillippe as a masked private eye who prowls a murky metropolis called Meanwhile City, where every building is a cathedral. Back in reality, Eva Green is a brattish student who keeps attempting suicide as part of a video project; Sam Riley is a recently jilted artist who spots his childhood sweetheart in the street; and Bernard Hill is a church caretaker who is searching for his missing son.

Album: Titi Robin, Kali Sultana – L'ombre du Ghazal, (Naive Records)

You'll need to forgive the fact that this dextrous French string strummer (guitar, oud, bouzouq) is a bit of a meanderer, because the finest moments of this double album are hauntingly engaging.

John Lichfield: My daughters' Oscars surely await

Paris Notebook

OAP guilty of sex act in cathedral toilet

An 85-year-old pensioner who regularly followed young boys into the toilets at St Paul's Cathedral was told by a judge today he could remain free provided he did not spend too long in public lavatories.

Andreas Whittam Smith: We must keep the links between Church and State

‘Establishment’ helps explain high attendances on Christmas Day.

In God we trust: pews fill up as the economy slows down

Clerics believe the credit crunch is responsible for a steady rise in congregations

Man shot by police was 'manic depressive'

A man shot dead by police on the steps of a cathedral suffered from 'manic depression', his family said.

Police shoot man dead in Guildford

The police shooting of a man outside a cathedral was being investigated today.

Britten War Requiem, Royal Albert Hall, London

Every performance of Britten's War Requiem is an occasion - such is the indelible power of a genuine masterpiece.

My Week: Joanna Lumley, actress and campaigner

A triumphant end to her long battle to allow Gurkhas to settle in Britain

Once Upon A Hill, by Glenn Patterson

Echoes of a love across Ireland's frontiers

24-Hour Room Service: Cathedral Quarter Hotel, Derby

Ashort walk from the cathedral tower, Derby's first boutique hotel opened four months ago. It captures the spirit of the city's ambitious reconstruction programme, which is carefully preserving the old, while altering the skyline with some striking new architecture.

You write the reviews: The Prophecy, Chester Cathedral, Chester

The Chester Mystery Plays, a cycle based on biblical texts, date from the 14th century and are performed every five years in the shadow of Chester Cathedral. It's a complex and overwhelming enterprise by anyone's standards, but my apprehension at the thought of such a project being held in the open air of the famously fickle British summer, with a non-professional cast of more than 300 local people, quickly turned to admiration for their hard work and success.


Arts and Entertainment
JJ Abrams' seventh Star Wars, The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of Episode VII has gone online after weeks of anticipation
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

The Black Friday Vines that will destroy your faith in humanity

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
Robbie Rogers: US former Leeds United footballer, 25, announced he was gay in February 2013, shortly after he left Elland Road. Rogers 'retired' after writing on his blog: 'I'm a soccer player, I'm Christian, and I'm gay.' Has since signed with Los Angeles Galaxy.
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Lake Garda
Lake Como
Prices correct as of 28 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
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

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
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?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game