The English National Opera's staging of The Barber of Seville calls for 28 wigs

English National Opera's beards smell 'like wet dog'

Take hair from the belly of a yak, wrap it in tissue, wind it around wooden dowelling, secure it with cotton and string, and boil for two to three hours. Before you reach for Heston's cookbook, this is not the latest culinary fad but English National Opera's recipe for curling facial hair. "It smells like wet dog," says Vanessa Davis, wigs and make-up supervisor at ENO."Whenever we do it, everyone complains."

Poll: Did Julie Burchill go too far in her ‘transphobic’ defence of Suzanne Moore?

It all began with a Suzanne Moore piece in the New Statesman last week called 'Seeing Red: the power of female anger'. In the piece, Moore describes the unobtainable female body idea as "that of a Brazilian transexual", a comment which provoked the ire of a group of Twitter users that Burchill refers to as "the very vociferous transsexual lobby".

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The 10 Best Christmas crackers

Make sure your crackers don’t put a dampener on your festive feast by picking up one of these sparkling sets

God bless this royal foetus! As Kate Middleton announces she is pregnant, here's why we should all love the glorious House of Windsor

We shall line the streets for the happy couple - and a good thing too!

Matt Butler: Bring out the parachutes, there's a bloke in an orange wig lost in the fog

View From The Sofa: Great Birmingham Run, Channel 5

It's a cut above most other exhibitions in Paris

You might be having a bad hair day but you wouldn't give your hair much more thought than this. Yet hair is rich in cultural connotations.

Diller: ‘My whole idea is to cheer people up’

Phyllis Diller: Raucous comic famous for her withering one-liners

"When I went on, the room went quiet. I knew I had this magnetic thing you have to be born with."

Sean Bean on his latest role as a transvestite: 'I got pretty good at walking in high heels'

Sean Bean steps out in drag

TV star Sean Bean has told how he ventured out in drag to prepare for his new role as a transvestite.

Yvonne Howard and Peter Coleman-Wright in Caligula

Caligula, Coliseum, London
King Priam, Dome, Brighton
The Beethoven Encounter, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

English National Opera does a good hatchet job on an updated bully, but it is the bliss of new generation music-making that resonates

Master and God, By Lindsey Davis

For the background to this novel, Lindsey Davis picks up on Suetonius's biography of the Roman emperor Domitian, as well as more recent histories. Suetonius's dramatic account of Domitian is perhaps now unfashionable, but his spindly-legged madman stabbing flies with a pen is far more fun than the rather swotty legislator of modern scholarship.

Shock tactics aren’t required and Robert Jay doesn’t use them

James Cusick: Britain's most televised barrister dons the disguise of Captain Slow

His disguise works best when the person on the receiving end gets too comfortable

According to a new BBC4 documentary, 'Lights! Camera! Action! Tales of Television Centre' – some Play School presenters even went in front of the camera after smoking

Sex in dressing rooms and Play School presenters 'stoned out of their minds' - inside BBC Television Centre

Play School presenters went in front of the camera after smoking 'the biggest joint you've ever seen'

Robber who dressed as Elvis is jailed for life

A serial armed robber who dressed up as Elvis Presley and wore other bizarre disguises when he targeted betting shops was jailed yesterday.

'Elvis' armed robber jailed for life

A serial armed robber who dressed up as Elvis Presley and sported other bizarre disguises when he targeted betting shops across Britain was today jailed for life.

Pop goes the fashion editor

Who said fashion icons must cultivate a bone-chilling froideur? Not the French.

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Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

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Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
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Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

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A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
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My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
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Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
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New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
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Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
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Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world