News

Passing sentences … what’s the worst kind of book thief?

A 13th-century inscription in an early copy of Bede’s commentary on the Gospel of Saint Luke (originally from Reading Abbey and now in the British Library) reads “ Quem qui celaverit vel fraudem de eo fecerit anathema sit”, translated as “Anyone who conceals or does damage to it, may he be cursed”. Such curses in manuscripts aimed at those who might dare to steal them from medieval monastic libraries were not uncommon, but the custodians of the...


Why do artists like the Pogues and Frank Capra have a special Christmas pedestal?

It’s the most tedious tiiiime … of the year. It is, of course, the week when the Pogues’ alternative carol, Fairytale of New York, returns to the airwaves, only to be immediately drowned out by the stupidest discourse on earth. The sound of rightwing bores insisting that Shane MacGowan’s seasonal anthem should be played unedited on the BBC seems to be getting earlier each year. Fairytale of New York is one of the great Christmas records. But,...


Gospel choir celebrate everyday heroes in a gritty nativity remake

When a London gospel choir decided to make a film about an alternative nativity, they had modest ambitions to share it via YouTube and festivals. That was last summer, when no one knew what 2020 had in store. But by the time it was finished, the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir’s film The Night Watchmen’s Nativity turned out to have remarkable prescience in its themes, as well as being – in a year with scant TV offerings because of the pandemic – a...


Classical highlights for the week ahead: 27 November - 4 December

Australian Chamber Orchestra The Barbican continues its association with Richard Tognetti and his outstanding band with a three-day digital residency. It’s streaming three of the ACO’s recent projects – there’s a programme mixing works by Bryce Dessner, Sufjan Stevens and Jonny Greenwood with Szymanowski, Lutosławski and Penderecki, and one featuring the didgeridoo player William Barton, as well as a screening from 2017 of the film Mountain,...


Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts Are So In Love While Celebrating First Thanksgiving as a Married Couple

The couple is definitely still in the honeymoon phase.


Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev Plan to Go to Couples Therapy to 'Be Amazing Parents'

The 'Total Bellas' star reveals she and her fiancé want to be the best parents to son Matteo.


The children scarred by Damilola Taylor's killing: 'It felt like our pain wasn't valid'

Twenty years have passed since 10-year-old Damilola Taylor was stabbed as he was walking home from the library after school. For his childhood friend and neighbour Yinka Bokinni, who had not been able to bring herself to speak about his death, it was this grim anniversary that drove her to finally break her silence and to return to the place she once called home. For much of the country, all that was known about Damilola, who was attacked with a...


Gwyneth Paltrow paid tribute to her late father with a rare photo of children Apple and Moses

Bruce Paltrow died in 2002 after complications with pneumonia and throat cancer, and Gwyneth visited his resting place with kids Apple and Moses.


'Saved by the Bell' producers apologise to Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez has received an apology from the producers of 'Saved by the Bell' after the show featured a joke about her kidney transplant.


Selena Gomez Fans Upset Over 'Saved By the Bell' Reboot Joking About Her Kidney Transplant

'Respect Selena Gomez' started trending on Twitter on Saturday, after a scene from the reboot went viral.


Selena Gomez fans are calling out the 'Saved by the Bell' reboot for appearing to mention the star's kidney transplant

On Saturday, "Saved by the Bell" representatives apologized and said the show's team will donate to The Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research at USC.


TV tonight: Michael McIntyre spins the wheel in a new gameshow

Michael McIntyre’s the Wheel 8.30pm, BBC One Another Saturday night means another celebrity game show. For this latest feelgood family outing, ever-popular comic Michael McIntyre brings his brand of effusive enthusiasm to a new, motion sickness-inducing take on the Wheel of Fortune. Celebrity guests such as presenters Alison Hammond, Stacey Dooley and Gok Wan take their seats on an enormous spinning wheel, aiming to help members of the public...


The Harlem teens who started a musical storm – podcasts of the week

Picks of the week Jacked: Rise of the New Jack Sound “You couldn’t help but shake your booty to it!” So says Taraji P Henson, star of Empire and Hidden Figures, and a fan of the R&B, pop, funk and hip-hop melange that made up the new jack sound in the late 80s and early 90s, as pioneered by the likes of Tony! Toni! Toné! In this very listenable – if perhaps over slick – new series from pod powerhouse Wondery and Universal Music Group, she tells...


Sneziey Msomi Releases Her Debut Album


Nick Kroll Marries Pregnant Girlfriend Lily Kwong

Check out the stunning pic.


The photo is the clue: Arthur Conan Doyle’s love for his Lost World hero

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger, the fictional scientist and explorer who discovers a forgotten land of dinosaurs, went on to inspire a string of adventure films, including Jurassic Park. He was a headstrong and irascible antihero, but there is now proof he also served as his creator’s literary alter ego. The evidence of handwritten notes and amendments, laid out this week with the first publication of the full manuscript of Conan...


Friends, family bid farewell to Mshoza at funeral service

Mshoza's childhood friend and actress Khanyi Mbau described her death as a huge loss to the industry and the nation.


The Fall of a Sparrow by Ann Pasternak Slater review – TS Eliot's troubled first wife

Vivien Haigh-Wood married TS Eliot in 1915, and right from the start, things were difficult: if not a disaster precisely, then one well in the making. In the London flat they shared part-time with its owner, Bertrand Russell, the poet slept not in the couple’s bedroom, but in a deckchair in the hall. His new wife, who liked dancing and would quite soon go to bed with their landlord, was already showing signs of the mental illness that would ruin...


Josh O’Connor: ‘I had to advocate for Prince Charles on set. He’s always told: shut up’

When we meet at 4.15pm on a Saturday in late October, Josh O’Connor is in the middle of one of those hot streaks that British actors occasionally enjoy when everything comes good at once.


Kate Middleton Jokes About the Struggles of Managing 'Toddler Tantrums'

The Duchess of Cambridge knows it's hard to raise three children.


Mariah Carey dropped a festive trailer for her Christmas special starring Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, and more

Mariah Carey's Apple TV+ Christmas special, which will air on December 4, is set to be chock full of fellow celebrities and festive music.


Best science books of 2020

In one of many unexpected outcomes of 2020, “the science” has become big news. Politicians are claiming it, protesters are disputing it, and all of a sudden everyone is an expert on superspreader events, RNA vaccines and what happens at the bottom of an Excel spreadsheet. It’s hard to know who to trust, and it’s more important than ever that the public has a basic understanding of what “science” says, so we are less likely to be deceived....


'Edward Scissorhands' screenwriter said she cried when she realized the movie's importance to people with disabilities

Caroline Thompson spoke at the Reel Abilities Film Festival and told Insider that it's a "beautiful feeling" to have contributed Edward's story.


An Event, Perhaps by Peter Salmon review – a timely biography of Jacques Derrida

Jacques Derrida was born in Algiers in 1930 to a Jewish family of Spanish extraction. His parents named him after Jackie Coogan, the child star of Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid – a sign of the family’s sliding sense of origin and thoughts of life elsewhere. They aspired to the status of colonial French bourgeoisie, but were treated as Arab Jews, and were stripped of French citizenship during the second world war. As Peter Salmon tells us in his slim...


'Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special' Gets Star-Studded First Trailer

'Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special' debuts Dec. 4 on Apple TV+.


Indigenous Influencers and Creators You Should Follow Right Now

Native American Heritage Month is a fitting time to discover these stars, who are sharing their culture through social media.


Chrissy Teigen Reflects on 'Brutal' 2 Months After Pregnancy Loss

Chrissy Teigen is starting to heal after the devastating loss of her son, Jack.


From Nurse Ratched to Joker: 10 of the best movie villains

The Sheriff of Nottingham Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves ( 1991 ) For pure thespy, campy naughtiness, Alan Rickman excelled himself as the heartless Sheriff of Nottingham, livid at the altruistic thievery of Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood. He rages: “Robin Hood steals money from my pocket, forcing me to hurt the public, and they love him for it? That’s it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call...


Drake and Son Adonis Snuggle Up In Sweet New Photo Together

The rapper spent his post-Thanksgiving with his little man.


David Prowse obituary

Cinema audiences were introduced to the terrifying Darth Vader when he appeared through the smoky residue of a laser battle at the beginning of Star Wars (1977). First came the silhouette of his swishing cape and flared helmet, then in closeup the chilling details of his mask – the blank, fly-like eyes, the grille redolent of a mouth with gritted teeth. Ralph McQuarrie drew the original sketches of the character and the costume designer John...


Bill Bailey: Comic, musician … and now Strictly dance master

Bill Bailey has been focusing on Blondie. Specifically on the band’s 1978 hit One Way or Another. It is a slightly menacing track, covered more recently, it is true, by One Direction, in a way that took it closer to irritant than menace. The question was, could its pulsing, insistent rhythm take Bailey a two-step closer to the top slot in Strictly Come Dancing? This far into the show’s 18th series, the 55-year-old British comedian and dance...


Russian Roulette: The Life and Times of Graham Greene review – addicted to danger

When Gabriel García Márquez, in the presence of Fidel Castro, asked Graham Greene if it was true that he’d played Russian roulette with a loaded revolver, Greene assured him he had, several times. Castro, one of several world leaders with whom Greene had audiences over the years (Gorbachev, Ho Chi Minh and Pope Paul VI were others), calculated the odds and said he shouldn’t be alive. Greene thought the same. He’d expected to die young (“I’d...


Bad Bunny on How His 'Dark' New Album Helped His Mental Health During Quarantine (Exclusive)

'El Último Tour del Mundo' is out now!


Streaming: in praise of new documentary platform True Story

Even with a larger captive home audience in times of coronavirus, launching a new independent streaming service is a challenge these days. With the best of artistic intentions, trying to get a suitably large subscriber base to support your niche programming amid the spangly distractions of Netflix and the like isn’t easy. Still, I recently encountered one that merits a second glance: True Story, a new-on-the-scene, UK-based global streaming...


Dior sticks by Johnny Depp in defiance of 'wife beater' ruling

Evidence suggests defiant Johnny Depp fans have been buying Dior’s Sauvage fragrance in support of the actor, who continues to be the face of the cologne, despite a high court judge finding he had violently abused his ex-wife during their relationship. Depp has been the face of the aftershave since it launched in 2015 with an advertising campaign that was criticised for its racist portrayal of Native Americans. 


Alex Trebek pre-recorded a heartfelt Thanksgiving Day message for fans where he asked them to 'keep the faith'

Thursday's pre-recording Thanksgiving Day episode of 'Jeopardy!' featured the late host delivering a touching message to fans.


Happiest Season review – queer festive cheer with Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis

This romcom delivers festive cheer with its premise alone: Kristen Stewart is brought home for the holidays to meet her girlfriend’s shrill, overbearing family. But Harper (Mackenzie Davis) is not out, and so Abby (Stewart) is amusingly deemed her “orphan friend” and shoved, quite literally, back into the closet. 


Black Beauty review – gender-swapped classic makes Beauty a 'mare

The children’s classic Black Beauty gets another screen adaptation, this time from Disney: a modern-ish take in which the young human heroine is seen writing stuff in her school exercise book about climate change and horses are shown as therapy for disabled young people. But it’s a sonorously well-meaning film that bathes everything in the bland, buttery sunlight that Disney always produces and in which the human performances are as opaque as...


Chrissy Teigen is beginning to heal after her 'brutal' few months

Chrissy Teigen believes she is beginning to heal emotionally after a ’brutal and exhausting’ two months.


On my radar: Ralph Steadman's cultural highlights

Artist Ralph Steadman’s work became synonymous with 70s counterculture due to his long association with the gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson. His distinctive political and satirical drawings have appeared in the New York Times, Punch and Rolling Stone. Steadman has created album artwork for the Who and Frank Zappa, designed an award-winning set of British stamps and illustrated special editions of Alice in Wonderland, Animal Farm and...


Escobar man’s ‘Narcos’-styled life: How a Cuban drug lord ran a global cartel from the safe haven of South Africa

Nelson Pablo Yester-Garrido’s life of crime and his astonishing luck in evading capture.


Lashana Lynch called out 'ridiculous' critics who aren't ready to see her as the first Black female 007

Lashana Lynch told British GQ she wasn't surprised at the criticism she faced for her role as the new 007, but "the magnitude of it was ridiculous."


Jub Jub pays a moving tribute to his ‘paps’ Benjamin Dube

Jub Jub recently expressed his gratitude to legendary gospel singer Pastor Benjamin Dube for his love and support during his time in prison.


Kurt Russell came up with Goldie Hawn's best line in 'Christmas Chronicles 2'

Kurt Russell was so hands-on in the creation of the Netflix sequel that he came up with a perfect line for Goldie Hawn, says its director.


This weekend we’re watching: irreverent reflections on the nature of hate

‘Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm’ will make you grin and gasp almost as much as its predecessor did, but the implications of its jokes are darker and more damning of the conservative American public.


Bontle Modiselle Sexy Video Gets A Hilarious Take


The petition to remove Amber Heard from Aquaman 2 now has over 1.5 million signatures

The Change.org petition comes after Johnny Depp was removed from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise.


‘You need to look outside your own window’: the winner of our graphic short story prize 2020

In Similar to But Not, the winner of this year’s Observer/Jonathan Cape graphic short story prize, a prematurely aged teenager visits his local pub hoping to spend his paper round money on an illicit pint, only to find a certain famous pop star sitting at the bar. As if this isn’t eye-popping enough (our hero lives in mild-mannered Bucks, not ritzy Belgravia), the singer in question is happy to talk and even, perhaps, to flirt with him a little...


Remembering Chadwick Boseman's Inspiring Life and Legacy on What Would've Been His 44th Birthday

Nov. 29 marks what would have been the 'Black Panther' star's 44th birthday.


'Selena: The Series' Boss on Movie Comparisons and Trying to Capture The Icon's 'Spark' (Exclusive)

Zamora addresses the differences between the show and the 1997 movie, Jennifer Lopez and Christian Serratos and more.