Christmas market season proves it really is a marshmallow world in the winter

Planet Business: David Cameron’s return, the saga of Coyote vs Acme and a brief history of The Body Shop

Image of the week: Christmas carousel

The big news this week is that it is time for a hot chocolate, with optional marshmallows. Christmas market season has shimmered back on to the calendar, with illuminations being switched on all over Europe – and unlike last year, when fears of a winter energy crunch were rife, there seems to be much fewer suggestions this time around that organisers will save energy by limiting their hours of operation or dimming the general glow.

The Christmas market tourism scene is as crowded as a pop-up ice rink in December, though all the lists usually agree that Vienna is among the heaviest-hitters, with Rathausplatz, the square in front of its town hall, attracting more than three million visitors every year to its Christkindlmarkt.

It is fair to say that Frankfurt in Germany also makes something of an effort, as does the French city of Strasbourg, which boasts the oldest Christmas market in Europe – it dates from 1570 – and helps itself to the title “capital of Christmas”.

Edinburgh’s market, situated in Princes Street Gardens, creates an impressive valley of Christmas when viewed from its old town, while Vienna has an Austrian rival in the form of Salzburg, the home of Silent Night. Then there’s Copenhagen, Budapest, Cologne, Bruges, Gothenburg, Prague ...


In numbers: Comeback Cameron


Years since former UK prime minister David Cameron whistled his way out of 10 Downing Street – or, technically speaking, into it, treating himself to a little tune after giving his post-Brexit referendum resignation speech.


Years since The Sun’s former political editor Tom Newton Dunn, now a TalkTV presenter, reported that Cameron was “bored shitless” and fancied being foreign secretary.


Years since a former UK prime minister, Alec Douglas Home, last returned to a cabinet job. In that case, just as Cameron did this week, he returned as foreign secretary.

Getting to know: Dave Green

Dave Green is the director of Coyote vs Acme, a live-action/animation hybrid film recently axed by its studio, Warner Bros Discovery. As with the two titles Warner Bros Discovery nixed last year – Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt – Coyote vs Acme had the distinction of being already shot and essentially finished, with the studio’s decision to bury it taken for tax write-off reasons.

When this news broke, not only was Green “beyond devastated”, but other filmmakers started to feel like they didn’t quite trust Warner Bros Discovery, cancelling the meetings they had with the studio. Why waste their time pouring their hearts into a project when some accountants could well come along after the fact and disappear years of their work?

The end result is that Green and the makers of Coyote vs Acme have now been told he can sell the Looney Tunes-inspired film to another distributor. Someone please make it a hit.

The list: The Body Shop

A generation of Irish women weaned themselves on White Musk, Dewberry and – if you were feeling properly adventurous – Ananya, all fragrance ranges sold by The Body Shop. With the cosmetics chain changing hands again this week, here’s a potted history.

1. Brighton origins: The late Anita Roddick, who was also an environmental campaigner, founded The Body Shop as one small outlet in Brighton in 1976 with a £4,000 bank loan.

2. 1980s growth spurt: As part of an international expansion that took its footprint to more than 3,000 outlets, The Body Shop opened its first Irish shop in Dublin in 1981, doing considerable work here to popularise the concept of teenage lip balm.

3. Sale to L’Oréal: Roddick sold the company to the French giant in 2006 in a deal that was criticised at the time as a betrayal of its ethical values.

4. Natura deal: A year after Roddick’s death, Brazilian beauty giant Natura paid an even higher price tag than L’Oréal to acquire the company, but it failed to bring the brand back into fashion.

5. New chapter: Six years and one pandemic later, private equity group Aurelius has now acquired The Body Shop for just a quarter of the price Natura paid, in a move described by the chain’s chief executive Ian Bickley as the start of “a new chapter”. Anyone for some tea tree oil?