Thomas Sutcliffe

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The Critical Condition: How to make a better viewer

In the second part of our week-long series on the culture of criticism, we consider what it means to be a television critic. What is the TV critic's role? What is his relationship with his subject? And what, ultimately, is his objective? By Thomas Sutcliffe

The Queen's Speech: The Sketch - Chocolate box occasion pleases the soft centre

`The peasants might have been wearing their Sunday best but they had come armed with legislative pitch-forks and were looking for blue blood'

The Sketch: Lords game of ping-pong sets the moths a-flutter

RARELY DOES the House of Lords quicken the pulse, but in the narrow passageway that leads into the press gallery, in which journalists wait while prayers are conducted, there was a moth's flutter of excitable cliches yesterday. "Scorched earth," whispered one voice; "Uncharted waters" hissed another. I wondered for a moment whether this was my first encounter with rumour buzzing through the corridors of power, but the pinched aperture in question hardly qualifies for such a grand description and the most powerful person present was probably the clerk. Still, the bathos of the shortfall could be taken as appropriate because this whisper of anticipation had been provoked by the prospect of yet another debate on the European Parliamentary Elections Bill, a confrontation which is either Democracy's siege of the Alamo or the last silly indulgence of an indefensible anachronism, depending on your point of view.

Sexy: Labour's new buzzword

IT IS one of the oldest tricks in the editor's book: spice up a dull cover line with the word "sex".

The Sketch: An awful lot of beef over pork barrels, Bills and bananas

A FEW DAYS ago, the House of Commons was assured that the armed forces were doing their bit to chew Britain out of the beef crisis. At barracks throughout the land, members were told, British beef was on the menu and steady progress was being made ethnically to cleanse the outsourcing of pork products.
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Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little