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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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015