Issue 1214

18 Dec 2017
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About this issue: Overview

Seasonal work at this time of year can mean eight-hour days plucking turkeys, shipping your Christmas market over from Germany to stand in rainy Manchester for a few weeks, keeping lonely people company on the phone, or creating an elaborate backstory for a role as Santa’s elf. Gary Ryan meets an eclectic bunch with one thing in common – they’ll all be working this Christmas.

They’ll be celebrating Xmas with a turkey – or a vegan option – and there’ll be crackers and party games. But the anti-fracking protesters of North Yorkshire are aiming for a much less traditional Xmas present, reports Roger Ratcliffe.

Miranda Richardson shunned Hollywood in favour of roles offering a more realistic representation of women. On the set of a new show about the importance of female friendships in middle age the actor tells Francine White it’s as real as it gets.

Much more than a florist, Sara Headley will this year again be putting on a Christmas dinner for the homeless and those in need at her café. But as Jayne Dowle finds, it’s just one of the activities she runs all year round that have made her a community champion in Barnsley.

The Lancashire women who left their homes and made munitions for the Second World War in terrible conditions had to be ingenious if they were going to get themselves a Christmas. With mock goose, stout and a Bakelite radio, they made the most of every moment, says Daisy Styles.

Plus, Big Issue North vendors’ messages of seasonal goodwill to their customers, a round-up of the best Xmas TV, reviews of the best Xmas albums, columnist Roger Ratcliffe’s itinerary for a Trump presidential visit – and much more.