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".

<p>1. Lakeland</p>
<p>£19.99 for one, lakeland.co.uk</p>
<p>This is vast. It has two party wigs, funny noses, teeth, moustaches, glasses, eye patches, paper hats, jokes, charade cards and balloons.</p>

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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Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
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Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
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footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
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Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes