A voice like a lump of coal caught in a cellar door - but that didn't hold Paul O'Grady back and he's the top pick of this year's celeb memoirs

Paul O’Grady’s the top pick of this year’s celebrity memoirs

Although today Paul O'Grady is best known for his programmes about poorly pooches, at one time, attired in leopard-skin as Lily Savage, 'The Deadly White Flower of the Wirral', he was a drag act to rival Barry Humphries's Dame Edna. O'Grady learned his craft with the Carlton Players in Birkenhead and as a member of the Everyman Youth Theatre in Liverpool.

Snail santa to the rescue! Penguins, swans and a superhero slug star in the best children's Christmas books

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There's an infectious joy about Hendra's eccentric creations (Barry The Fish With Fingers; Doug The Bug That Went Boing!), and this second outing for Norman the Slug will sparkle on a chilly day.

Howzat! Bowl over the sports fan in your life with these book recommendations  

Alex Ferguson with Michael Moritz

A lifetime of experience has been distilled into a fascinating and compulsively readable manual on leadership and the quest for success, in life as well as in sport.

The last day in the life of a rather flatulent Fuhrer: Top picks of books about war

Andrew Roberts

Nearly 100 years on, the Somme's ability to shock and horrify remains undimmed. Roberts's vividly written, crisply authoritative account of the first day of the battle is full of details that stick.

Cook up some comfort and joy: A serving of this year's culinary triumphs

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 24/11/2015 - Programme Name: Simply Nigella: Christmas Special - TX: 14/12/2015 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Nigella Lawson - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jay Brooks

'With this book...I had to cook myself strong,' Nigella writes in the introduction. The suggestion is that her kitchen became a sanctuary during a painfully public few years.

Fall in love this Christmas with a good book: Something for everyone - our critics select the year's best novels

Daily Mail book critics select the year’s best novels

Some of the Mail's critics reveal their top picks of this year's books, including The Whites by Richard Price, as Harry Brandt, called 'the crime novel of the year' by Stephen King and a rollicking romp of a read replete with glitz, glamour, private jets and hot sex The Santangelos by the late Jackie Collins.

Adolf Hitler: His own part in his downfall. How Hitler's tactical naval blunder in the Baltic sea sealed his fate

MEDIA Pathe Hitler...A handout still showing Adolf Hitler. A still from one of the many Nazi Propaganda films sent to Pathe in the 30's but never actually edited into the newsreel. Thousands of hours of history and nostalgia will be freely available from today, Tuesday 19  November 2002, with the launch of Pathe's famous cinema newsreels online. The material can be accessed at www.britishpathe.com See PA Story MEDIA Pathe. Mandatory Credit to Britsh Pathe PLC...A...GERMANY

The English general could not contain his exasperation. Edward Spears was in Paris for crisis talks as Hitler's armies poured across the border in the spring of 1940.

Why you can't snap spaghetti in two and how dead rats have more vitamin C than oranges: Ridiculous facts you never knew

Spaghetti hoops, £15.50, store.alessi.com.

I feel as though I have been waiting for this book for a long time. Benedict le Vay is a trivia hound with an incredibly sensitive nose for the ridiculous fact. He collects a profusion of unrelated nuggets.

Curl up with the Queen Mum's favourite valet: This season's top royal books

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William Tallon was a working-class lad who forged an extraordinary career in royal service. Over more than five decades, 'Backstairs Billy' as he was known, became much more than a servant.

Who'd sleep with a giant centipede? Bel Mooney gives her recommendations for books about nature

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Bel Mooney gives her recommendations for books to give as gifts concerning nature, including A Wild Life by Martin Hughes-Games and The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy.

Let your plants do the talking: Garden guides for the green-fingered 

Carol Klein pushing wheelbarrow full of pots of tulips ready to place in the garden. Tulipa 'Purissima'

After 35 years as a professional gardener, Carol Klein (right) has concluded that the secret to successful growing is to listen to your plants. She suggests considering your garden a natural habitat.

How the tango saved George Melly's widow: Diana turned to dancing to face dementia, heartbreak and the death of her daughter

When Diana Melly's son died of a heroin overdose, aged just 24, she got so drunk on the day of his funeral that she forgot to view his body. She had a nervous breakdown and spent time in a clinic.

What's the best book you read in 2015? Mail stars launch our stocking-filler choices 

Daily Mail columnists pick their best books of 2015

Some of the Mail favourite writers reveal what books they've loved this year, just in time for you to buy them as Christmas gifts. From the classics to the well-loved secrets, they've got it all.

'Women are like wine when you're thirsty': Lusty Orson Welles had three wives (but ditched the Italian fiancee who hit him over the head with a doorstop!)

Simon Callow has spent the past 25 years reliving the life of Orson Welles, his idol and inspiration. It has been a full-time occupation: this is his third substantial volume recording it.

Passionate inner life of a spinster longing for love: An intimate diary reveals a life

Taken from A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of
Jean Lucey Pratt
Published by Canongate
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One Saturday in November 1943, a single woman in her early 30s sat down behind the blackout screens of her little cottage near Slough and took stock of her situation.

PICTURE THIS: Lois Greenfield: Moving Still


For more than 40 years, Greenfield has produced quite breath-taking photographs of dancers in mid-flight.

P-P-Pick up a picture book: A coffee table book is the perfect present. We find the best

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Marcus Berkmann finds the best coffee table books whether you're interested in wildlife, fashion or silent film. They make perfect, versatile presents whatever your age.

PICTURE THIS: Holding On by Iain Scott

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Iain Scott

Despite 50 years of tireless conservation efforts, tigers - and many more magnificent creatures - are still endangered. Photographer Scott looks at what has gone wrong.

PICTURE THIS: Snow Stopped Play by Graham Coster

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In cricket, white is associated with the colour of the clothing worn, rather than that of the pitch. But in this charming little book aimed at cricket nuts, the author takes us on a wintry tour of grounds.

Brave boys the fat man branded liars: How Cyril Smith's victims were ignored when they tried to expose the abuse they suffered at his hands

Brave boys the fat man branded liars: How Cyril Smith's victims were ignored when they

All this week, Labour MP Simon Danczuk is laying bare how the Establishment, the Liberal Party, the police and even MI5 covered up the industrial-scale child abuse of 29-stone Rochdale MP Cyril Smith. Today, how his victims were ignored and betrayed when they tried to expose their suffering.

The truth about life in an open prison, by VICKY PRYCE - and why the women in our softest jails really suffer

Different life: Vicky Pryce is seen chatting with inmates and a prison officer at East Sutton Park Prison, which she describes at a 'real joy' after serving four days at Holloway

In the finale of her unique inside story, Vicky Pryce, the wife of disgraced ex-minister Chris Huhne, describes life at open prison East Sutton Park.

His little face still looked so beautiful: In Mary Berry's own moving words, the story of the child she lost so young

Mary Berry - photoshoot for one of her first cookery book with helpers Annabel and William.

In the second extract from her autobiography, published exclusively in the Mail today, Mary Berry describes the sudden death of the son she doted on, pictured left.

Eric Morecambe's son reveals the obsessive dark side of the 'Bring Me Sunshine' boys

Eric and Ernie were together virtually all day every day because of work; so when they became successful, they had an unspoken agreement that they wouldn't socialise with one another

In his compelling new biography, Gary Morecambe talks about his father's relationship with Ernie Wise and how he continued to make them laugh even up until the end.

'Useless Darling was just in it for himself' : Damian McBride reveals how 'poor Alistair' played the media martyr amid economic crisis


In an extract from his explosive memoirs, Power Trip, Damian McBride reveals how the former Chancellor survived by the skin of his teeth after credit crunch bungle.