Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


The Diary: Orange Prize; Glenn Miller; Last Of The Summer Wine; Colin Firth; English Acoustic Collective

Sex and the library

Reflecting on the emotional rollercoaster that was Daisy Goodwin's internship as chair of the Orange Prize jury, the TV producer likened it to "Sex and the City but with books instead of shoes". Despite being diametrically opposed to some on the jury at the start, she says, she felt an immense level of girlie bonding by the end of the process. "I was definitely Charlotte," she adds, although it is still a moot point which of her fellow judges – Lib-Dem peer Baroness Neuberger, novelist Michèle Roberts, journalist Miranda Sawyer or Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman – would stand in for Samantha. Daisy says: "At the start, it felt like a blind date with five other women, with whom you didn't talk about shoes but about stuff that really mattered to you. It was a weird way of getting to know people." Meanwhile, Shulman was believed to have been rooting for Attica Locke's excellent noir debut, Black Water Rising, to win the grand prize, which in the end went to fellow American Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna.

Glenn Miller mystery

A new book about the Big Band legend Glenn Miller is set to expose the so-called "truth" about his apparent death in a plane crash during the Second World War. The Glenn Miller Conspiracy, written by the late Hunton Downs, a former US Lieutenant Colonel and post-war journalist, argues that contrary to the official story that his plane crashed in the English Channel in 1944 (his body was never found), Miller was never on that plane. The conspiracy theory is the result of over 40 years of research, including studies of mostly German de-classified information. The book suggests Miller did some work in America's Psychological Warfare division (his war records have never been revealed), although President Eisenhower later denied meeting him. It asks the question: "Why was he so popular with German troops?" Hmmm, maybe because they liked his music?

Summer Wine rumours put to rest

The BBC has put paid to the unfounded rumour that the TV show The Last of the Summer Wine was axed as a result of rising insurance premiums for the cast's cavalcade of ageing actors performing their own stunts. The gentle comedy following Holmfirth's eccentric residents had been a fixture since 1973, and was famed for its outdoor scenes, such as Compo hurtling down a hill in his tin bath. A report in 2008 claimed that Frank Thornton, 87, who joined the cast in 1997, had been banned from filming outdoors for the next series. But last week, a BBC spokeswoman told me the show's end had nothing to do with stunts, injuries or rising insurance premiums: "We do not have a specific issue with insuring actors of a certain age to carry out their own stunts as insurance policies cover stunts for all. Nor do we have a bespoke insurance policy in place based on the age of an artist as each case is dealt with on an individual basis."

Firth gives refuge

Brightwide, a film website created by the actor Colin Firth, and the charity Refugee Action, launched an online film festival at the BFI Southbank in London yesterday. Brightwide, set up by Firth and his wife Livia, is hosting films which explore the refugee experience, over the next few days. These include a quirky, award-winning movie about Iran's underground rock scene, No One Knows About Persian Cats, which will be on during Refugee Week. Firth said the online festival would bring "the experience of exile to life".

Sound and pictures

Band-members from the English Acoustic Collective will "reinterpret" images from the archives of the Royal Geographical Society later this month. The musicians have been exploring the photographic archives of the Society, and their piece has been particularly inspired by images from tea and coffee plantations from across the world. Using traditional English travelling folk songs, the Collective will produce a new composition which will be performed on 20 June alongside a film of the photographs which inspired it.