Jay the lesbian gannet made our Christmas much less tense than normal. The home-made Baileys flowed.
Is there a darker Christmas lyric than Band Aid’s “Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you”?
Estonia’s Swedes survived revolution, invasion and exile. Their struggles tell the story of 20th-century Europe.
All was harmony, until Jon mentioned the legend of how people in the audience in 1896 had ducked when the train suddenly appeared on-screen.
The death of Rik Mayall in June 2014 quite rightly made the front page of every newspaper. There is no one better than the BBC to make a warm and loving tribute to a comedy hero.
Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.
The child of a grey coal town in Calvinist Scotland, I was hungry for imagery, wild about colour and, even though I accepted that I would never live there, desperate for proof of some other world.
From without in the chilly night, the Hovel – which is a maisonette above a shop – looked cosy; I could see lamplight and books ranged on shelves.
David Marquand on why Edmund Burke still strikes political sparks.
Far from being a benighted practice from popular fiction – the sort of thing that you might find in an H Rider Haggard novel – it turns out that beheadings went hand in hand with western empires.
This is “my story and the story of Liberty”, Chakrabarti writes, but she offers no more than the odd glimpse into her life.
Stuart Maconie wades through books by monsters of rock Carlos Santana, Neil Young, Joe Perry and Billy Idol.
Both books are based on the premise that if the general public knew more about finance and economics things might be better.
A novel about those writers who attract fans so ardent that the work is never enough.
Did Bourdin really cause a 20-year-old model to pass out when he covered her entire body with glue and pearls?
A former youth offender-turned-writer reflects on the prison books ban.
These are not politicians, or powerful corporations meddling with our data, they are Hollywood executives bickering like anyone else. The free speech argument just doesn’t add up.
The final five candidates are interviewed by people even more obnoxious than they are.
The first two parts of Peter Jackson’s super-sized Hobbit trilogy held their own, but the director squanders all his best assets in this sorry mess of a final installment.
Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.
“Nobody buys short stories anyway,” says a character, Richard, in the prologue to Kirsty Gunn’s new collection, Infidelities. “No one thinks there’s enough going on.” The challenge from writer to reader is stark; watch out, there will be plenty going on here.
The central tenet of Hard Times is that the economic slump of 2008 and its aftermath have augmented the schisms already present in two rich, but profoundly unequal societies: the UK and the US.
The task Azar Nafisi sets herself here, to build an argument for fiction in western culture, is one that has driven her personal and professional life.
The protagonists of Rose Tremain’s fifth collection of short stories – her first since 2005’s The Darkness of Wallis Simpson – are all operating under some form of constraint: social, sexual, emotional, pressingly immediate or far distant, unrelentingly real or garlanded with imaginative flourishes.
Richard II’s meeting with the rebels is one of the most astonishing moments in English history, as a 14-year-old boy rides out to meet thousands of his armed and angry people.
The life of a forgotten First World War character.
The work of a great artist often appears so fluent, so graceful, that we assume it must have come easily – but nothing in art is worth much if it is not hard won.
In the spirit of festive generosity I would like to offer a helping hand when it comes to surviving the onslaught of hot plonk. Here, food, as in so many situations, is your friend.
The candidates shovel saffron into some trifle.
On screen and off, Hollywood is terrible at giving opportunities to anyone who isn’t white, and one of the US’s biggest stars is calling them out on it.