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Mikhail Baryshnikov: ‘People applauded. The ham in me woke up’

4 hours ago

The dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov on his past in Riga and Russia, Sex and the City and a new exhibition of his photography

“I was at a gas station in the Dominican Republic and this couple got out the car and started dancing,” Mikhail Baryshnikov, 66, says. “I was lucky they didn’t pay attention to me. People said: ‘Oh you manipulated the shot,’ but I swear to God, I didn’t.”

One of the greatest classical ballet dancers of our time is telling me about his new calling – photography. This month a show of his digital prints opens in London, featuring every type of dance from Brazilian hip-hop and Hawaiian hula to dancers with the Merce Cunningham company.

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- Liz Hoggard

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The world loves our creatives, so let’s back them in Britain | John Kampfner

10 hours ago

Leaders in all fields of the arts are launching a fightback to boost a success story that is made in Britain

When David Cameron visited China a year ago, he went on to the micro-blogging site Sina Weibo for a “chat”. Amid questions about politics and diplomacy, he was asked: “Please urge Sherlock crew to be quick! They have had us waiting for two years for every season!” Wherever he goes, the prime minister hears praise for Britain’s film and television, fashion industry, architects and designers and our extraordinary visual arts.

The figures speak for themselves. The creative industries grew almost 10% in 2012 (according to the last comparative figures published in January 2014), outperforming all other sectors of UK industry. Employment in the sector increased by 8.6% between 2011 and 2012, a much higher rate than for the economy as a whole (0.7%).

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- John Kampfner

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I don’t want to lecture you… but do tune in to Reith | Stephanie Merritt

12 hours ago

In the age of soundbites and tweets, the BBC’s Reith lectures are the last bastion of our nation’s unifying broadcasting ethos

Broadcasting, said Sir John Reith, first BBC director general, should be a public service that enriches the intellectual and cultural life of the nation. One can only speculate as to whether he imagined the likes of Dog Borstal or People Like Us when he articulated this mission, but his aim of uniting and educating Britain through shared ideas remains an integral – though not always immediately obvious – principle of the BBC’s charter.

The last bastion of this unapologetic commitment to the exploration of complex and challenging ideas is, of course, Radio 4, and nowhere more obviously so than in the annual series of lectures founded in 1948 to commemorate Reith’s vision. The public lecture has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, with organisations such as Ted and Intelligence Squared connecting academics, »

- Stephanie Merritt

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Stewart Lee: you ask the questions

12 hours ago

As the comedian and occasional Observer columnist Stewart Lee prepares to tour his show A Room With a Stew, here’s your chance to ask him anything you like

According to new time-wasting device YouGov Profiler, which uses data to guess the demographics of different groups of people, fans of Stewart Lee and the Observer are virtually indistinguishable. If you’re reading this, the website suggests that you’re likely to be leftwing, in your mid-to-late 20s or 30s, work in education or the media, enjoy politics, culture and cricket, and own a cat. Although Observer readers are keener on vegetable samosas than halloumi-loving Stewart Lee fans, there is definite crossover.

Which is fortunate, because we are putting together a “You ask the questions”-style interview with Stewart Lee to mark his 2015 nationwide tour A Room with a Stew and Comedy Vehicle series three DVD launch. Now is your chance »

- Kathryn Bromwich

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The X Factor 2014: week seven live blog – as it happened

15 hours ago

The end is almost in sight, with a double elimination this weekend to hasten the day. Stuart Heritage sat through all of Saturday night’s show.

9.37pm GMT

Well, that’s it. The worst X Factor theme night since the very dawn of the universe itself has reached its horrible conclusion. Thanks for coming with me. I couldn’t have possibly done it alone.

Now, let’s all come back here tomorrow night at 8pm for the X Factor results show. I heard that Take That are performing. I hope they do The Flood! I’m on Twitter at @StuHeritage and, since I’m almost completely certain that nobody at The Guardian actually reads this, I’m going to try and get away with linking to my new podcast series as well. Hope I don’t get sacked! Bye!

9.36pm GMT

I’m genuinely quite sad about this. Tonight’s been a bloody rollercoaster, »

- Stuart Heritage

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Strictly Come Dancing week nine – open thread

18 hours ago

Heidi Stephens is at the show so there’s no liveblog until Sunday’s results show – but leave your usual wit and wisdom about the competition here

Evening all – there’s no Strictly liveblog tonight as I’m at the show! But we’d still love you to add your usual wit and wisdom on all things Strictly in the comments below. I’ll be back tomorrow for the results show, when I’ll do a quick rundown of all the dancing action from tonight and then we’ll crack on as usual. Then it’s back to business as usual until the final on 20 December.

Have a great evening, I’ll see you tomorrow – and it’s over to you …

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- Heidi Stephens

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I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!; Babylon; Confessions of a Copper – TV review

18 hours ago

From choppers to coppers, it’s been a frantic week for Ant, Dec and the ubiquitous James Nesbitt

I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! (ITV) | ITV Player

Babylon (C4) | 4oD

Confessions of a Copper (C4) | 4oD

“People are going to see the real, stripped-back real me,” announced Gemma Collins at the opening of this year’s I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! A noble sentiment, perhaps, but also a problematic statement. At least for me. For not only did I not know who the real Gemma Collins was, I was also completely unaware of the fake one.

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- Andrew Anthony

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Anjelica Huston: ‘I wanted a perfect romance and a lovely husband’

22 November 2014 1:30 AM, PST

The affairs and the scandals of a life among Hollywood royalty – and where Renée Zellweger and Jennifer Lawrence get it wrong

Anjelica Huston arrives at the Carlyle hotel in Manhattan after lunching with Sofia Coppola. It’s the first time she has seen her old friend in over 15 years, and the reunion has put her in a nostalgic mood. Huston and Coppola have a lot in common, not all of it good. “In both cases our fathers were larger than life and gregarious,” Huston says, “and they didn’t understand certain things about how a female emerges from her chrysalis.” It took the 63-year-old a long time to complete the transition from gawky daughter of the legendary director John Huston to Oscar-winner in her own right. “You do feel like you wished you’d had a bigger voice at the time.”

Huston has more than made up for those years of meekness, »

- Emma Brockes

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Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild TV review

21 November 2014 11:02 PM, PST

Fogle takes the sheep by the scrotum for a queasy hour in Namibia

There is a young, male sheep in Namibia – and in Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild (Channel 5) – who I feel very sorry for. For starters, he’s being castrated, and that’s a sad thing for any young male. And the reason he’s being castrated isn’t great: it’s to make him taste nicer. So he’s also got being slaughtered and eaten to look forward to.

Back to his castration, though, and the manner in which this is carried out, and the person who does it. (Can you guess who it is yet?) I’ve been on a sheep farm where they castrate sheep just by popping a little elastic band over their sheepy balls, which drop off in time. The animals feel nothing, don’t notice their emasculation and never wonder why they don’t become rams. »

- Sam Wollaston

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Psychobitches: back on the couch

21 November 2014 10:00 PM, PST

Andrew Collins: Queen Elizabeth I as a cockney punk and the Mitford sisters as close-harmony singers – it must be Sky comedy Psychobitches

This is what a feminist TV show looks like. I think. A voluptuous blonde Playboy playmate in a nurse’s hat crawls seductively on all fours towards the lap of a hot and bothered female therapist. The playmate is Anna Nicole Smith, played with immersive gusto by Morgana Robinson; the buttoned-up therapist is the estimable Rebecca Front. Both are standout performances from a veritable land army of top contemporary female talent. Robinson’s portrayal of Anna Nicole Smith involves her whole body: she slumps so far down into the psychiatrist’s chair that she is basically sitting on her upper back, ensuring in the process that, rather than sad and deluded, we see Smith as misunderstood and lustful for life.

This is series two of the oestrogen-fuelled sketch show Psychobitches (Tue, »

- Andrew Collins

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Catch-up TV guide: from The Strain to Homeland

21 November 2014 10:00 PM, PST

The Strain | Scrotal Recall | Globe Player | Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Podcast | Homeland

Initially dismissed by some as a “title first, show second” gimmick, Scrotal Recall succeeded by turning its high-concept premise into a platform for narrative trickery. The flashbacks detailing the sexual conquests of chlamydia sufferer Dylan (Johnny Flynn) slowly formed a jigsaw puzzle resembling, ever so slightly, the out-of-order fourth season of Arrested Development. Of course, for those just wanting to watch a warm-spirited comedy, Scrotal Recall managed that well too, proving more likable than its laddish premise suggested.

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- Gwilym Mumford

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The new Barclays LifeSkills advert

21 November 2014 10:00 PM, PST

‘Just think how different the world would be if Barclays had shown a little hesitation itself’

Imagine the last person in the world you would turn to for guidance. Now imagine they’ve been hit by a bus and can only communicate by blasting mucus out of their nose. If you had to choose between that and a bank for advice about life, which would you opt for? Nose blaster every time, right? It seems, however, that Barclays is under the impression that you might consider turning to it for guidance. The bank’s new advert – which sadly is only one of many in its LifeSkills series – concerns how to speak in an interview. “My name used to start with an erm. Erm-Michael,” begins an earnest-looking chap who appears to have fashioned an old dishcloth of Timmy Mallet’s into a shirt.

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- Edward Tew

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Q&A: Anne Reid

21 November 2014 10:00 PM, PST

The worst thing anyone has said to me? ‘You’re amazing, for your age’

Born in Newcastle, Reid, 79, played Ken Barlow’s wife in Coronation Street in the 1960s. In 2003 she was Daniel Craig’s lover in Hanif Kureishi’s film The Mother. Her TV work includes Last Tango In Halifax and Our Zoo (DVD and book out now). She was widowed in 1981, and lives in London.

When were you happiest?

The day I first held my baby son.

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- Rosanna Greenstreet

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Kevin Bridges: ‘I prefer real to surreal’

21 November 2014 10:00 PM, PST

He found TV fame young and, at 28, has already put his vices behind him. Now the comic has austerity Britain in his sights

Kevin Bridges: you can’t be complacent in comedy

“I was watching stuff on Dmt.” Kevin Bridges is explaining what he was up to last night. It should be stressed that he was not actually under the influence of the ridiculously powerful hallucinogenic, rather learning about it on YouTube, but anyway: “I was just watching some people experiment with it. Apparently the human body produces Dmt; when you die and when you’re born as well. It’s that light at the end of the tunnel thing. All mammals produce it, it says you can extract it from cows. And that’s life as a comedian.”

As Bridges offers up this cocktail of facts, I’m not sure whether he means that life as a comedian »

- Paul MacInnes

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British film’s debt to David Rose | @guardianletters

21 November 2014 9:59 PM, PST

David Rose, to whom the strength and vibrancy of British film owes a large part of its success, today celebrates his 90th birthday.

Happy birthday, David! We write to put on public record our gratitude for the creative vision, fine judgement and deft support he always brought to his work. At Pebble Mill for the BBC, and then as Channel 4’s commissioning editor for fiction from 1981 to 1990, he got good films made, providing opportunities for established film-makers and committing himself unflinchingly to new, young, diverse talent.

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- Guardian Staff

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Cosby's lawyers strong-armed tabloid into ditching story on rape claims

21 November 2014 1:20 PM, PST

A damning 2005 article about two of his accusers was scrapped for a softer interview with the comedian after his lawyers threatened to sue the publication

Bill Cosby and the women claiming a history of sexual assaultsHow Bill Cosby’s image shielded him from claims of rape – Hadley FreemanRoxane Gay: stop looking away and start believing the women

Lawyers acting for Bill Cosby cajoled the tabloid magazine the National Enquirer into ditching a groundbreaking investigation it had conducted into his alleged sexual misconduct and replacing it with a celebrity interview in which the comic dismissed the claims as money-motivated “misinterpretations”, the Guardian has learned.

The National Enquirer’s investigation was carried out in 2005, just weeks after it first emerged that Cosby had been accused of drugging and molesting a female friend, Andrea Constand. The tabloid magazine dispatched its senior reporter Robin Mizrahi to look into the story.

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- Ed Pilkington in New York

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Indian bureaucracy dashes Kim Kardashian’s hopes of joining Bigg Boss

21 November 2014 9:18 AM, PST

Us celebrity forced to abandon planned cameo appearance on Indian version of Big Brother reality show after visa is delayed

• Meet the SlumGods of Mumbai – watch the video trailer

• Follow Guardian Cities’ live week in Mumbai at theguardian.com/cities

There was only ever going to be one winner in a clash between the Indian bureaucracy and a global media celebrity such as Kim Kardashian.

The 34-year-old American was supposed to join a popular reality-tv show in the emerging economic powerhouse on Saturday but has failed to obtain a visa in time.

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- Jason Burke in Mumbai

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What Serial and How to Get Away With Murder have in common

21 November 2014 8:40 AM, PST

One’s camp and soapy, the other’s highbrow and sober. But in both crime dramas, the more facts that are revealed, the murkier things get

For some reason, either due to their subject matter or because they both release new episodes on Thursdays, I’ve been equating How to Get Away with Murder, ABC’s newest show from executive producer Shonda Rhimes, with Serial, the NPR-affiliated podcast that has taken the world by storm.

The two shows couldn’t be more different. How to Get Away with Murder follows Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), a brilliant but tortured defense attorney and a group of her students, as they exonerate killers week after week while trying to dodge conviction for a crime of their own. Serial is a podcast about a brilliant but not really tortured journalist who is re-investigating the 1999 murder of a high school student in Baltimore and the »

- Brian Moylan

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Claudia Winkleman to return to Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday

21 November 2014 7:26 AM, PST

Presenter had been absent from BBC’s hit show to be with her daughter, who was in hospital after suffering burns on Halloween

The Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman is to return to the hit ballroom show this weekend.

The star has been absent in recent weeks to be with her eight-year-old daughter, Matilda, who was in hospital after her Halloween costume caught fire while she was out trick-or-treating.

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- Press Association

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Why major Us TV networks didn't show Obama's immigration address

21 November 2014 6:06 AM, PST

CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox stick with hit primetime showsSpanish-language channel Univision did carry the addressObama to unveil immigration plan that could shield millionsLive blog: Republicans hint at reprisals over immigration

On Thursday evening, President Obama took to the airwaves to present his plan for immigration reform to the American people. Unfortunately, many of the American people were not able to find him.

At 8pm, instead of seeing the president outlining his long-awaited overhaul of one of the country’s most hotly debated issues, ABC viewers were treated to an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Those tuning in to CBS were presented with an episode of The Big Bang Theory; Fox network viewers saw Bones; and viewers tuning to NBC were be able to enjoy The Biggest Loser: Glory Days.

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- Nicky Woolf in New York

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