Diary

Disturbing developments at Yorkshire Television, one of the bastions of high-quality investigative documentaries, and now merged with Tyne Tees. The recently appointed group managing director is Bruce Gyngell. Remember him? He was the pink-shirted boss of TV-am who, when it lost its breakfast-time franchise, received a handwritten note from Mrs Thatcher saying: "This was not supposed to happen." Now, Yorkshire's director of programmes, Grant McKee, has resigned, telling staff of "honest differences" between him and Bruce. Indeed. McKee, who is the chief reason that the Guildford Four are free today, has been at Yorkshire for 16 years and was the guardian of the internationalist vision that has won the station a garland of awards, including two from Amnesty. Gyngell, by contrast, represents out-and-out entertainment.

The final straw for McKee came, apparently, when he returned from holiday to find that, in his absence, Gyngell had sacked the station's most celebrated producer/director, Peter Kosminsky, responsible for some of the station's most lauded documentaries and docu-dramas, including Shoot to Kill, The Falklands War: the untold story, the first interviews with Soviet veterans in Afghanistan and so on. So keen was Gyngell to get rid of the man that he told Kosminsky to clear his desk immediately and take a pounds 900,000 commission for a docu-drama on child prostitution with him.

The whole affair will be the talk of the Edinburgh Television Festival next week, when, doubtless, some will be asking whether the ITC shouldn't take a hard look at YTT. Meanwhile, Gyngell is taking on an awful lot of extra roles. He was even seen recently leafing through a copy of the actors' audition book Spotlight, looking for a suitable face to front one of his new improved documentaries. Trouble is, I'm not sure that Roland Rat is in it.

In common with so many other NHS bureaucrats, managers of the Kent Ambulance NHS Trust are planning to make it a disciplinary offence for staff to pass information, not just to the media, but even to their MP. The age of the whistle-blower is clearly not entirely past, for the internal memo outlining the scheme was leaked to the local paper Kent Today. Outrage all round? Not from the local scion of parliamentary democracy. The Tory MP Jacques Arnold told the paper he did not think the guidelines were unreasonable. Heavens - if you can't complain about a public service to your MP, who can you complain to?

At the HQ of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, I have been trying out their CD-rom version of the 44 million words of entries which, complete with 3,000 illustrations, goes on sale this week (pounds 755, inc VAT). A revelation. I looked up "terrorism AND (hostages OR kidnap)" and came up with nothing about Kashmir but found some interesting stuff about Caligula, the Spanish Inquisition and the Ku Klux Klan. "Hottest AND summer AND UK" delivered some splendidly tangential thoughts about the effect of the weather on English art and literature. A stunning product.

Then I tried "Japan AND apolog". First it revealed that in their long history the Japanese have gone in for apologetics often, but apology rarely. But then the computer packed up. Perhaps the idea of Japanese apologies was more than it could cope with. But I suspect their machine was too slow. As I have a far better one at home I have offered to road- test the CD more fully there, with the aim of filling my articles henceforth with delectably oblique snippets of scholarship. Watch this space.

Up on the moors for the Inglorious Twelfth. Not an anti-shooting quip that, merely a reflection of the paucity of targets, had there been any guns around. I saw only one, decidedly scrawny, red grouse limping along the roadside on Black Hambleton on the North Yorkshire Moors. A plague of ticks has put paid to many of its fellows.

Still, it was a fine day, with the sky a chalky blue and the vast stretches of heather just tinged with purple. It was good to get so close to large numbers of young pheasants - as yet short-tailed but in vivid virgin plumage - still tame from their recent release from the rearing pens. They sauntered cockily by the roadside verges and about the moorland paths as if they knew it will be some months yet before the guns bear down on them.

No sauntering, however, by the dreaded mountain-bikers, who have begun to infest the hilltops with their thundering broad wheels and gaudy Lycra vests. Out walking, we were stopped by a survey team from the National Park to quiz us about our views on this pestilence. Unfortunately, they picked on my aunt - a doughty 78-year-old who can outwalk us all - who replied with the moderation of her years. Had they asked me, they would have carried off suggestions about genetically restructuring the grouse- tick to attack Lycra wearers. Or that the swooping bikers provided a fairer target for gun-toting toffs than do the lumbering grouse.

Signal failure: The Docklands Light Railway, on which we hacks scuttle into Canary Wharf, got stuck, yet again, in the sweltering heat the other day. The conductor apologised, explaining that the problem was "frozen points". Surely he meant the "wrong kind of sunshine".

The 150th anniversary of Britain's first municipal graveyard may have escaped your notice. There were black horses with black plumes to mark the occasion last weekend at Beckett Street Cemetery, opposite Jimmy's hospital in Leeds. Guides were on hand to reveal that the 8ft wall was erected, by order of the Bishop of Ripon, to deter body-snatchers, and to reveal that its first chaplain was the teetotal dissenter and founder of the Band of Hope, the Rev Jabez Tunnicliffe.

But the real delight was to discover how grieving relatives secured revenge in the old days: viz the tombstone of Fred, aged 12, who was "killed instantly by an airliner owned by Sir Richard Cobham and piloted by Flt Lt Johnson". A bottle of Bollinger for the reader who comes up with the most droll 1995 inscription for tombstone revenge.

Last week's bottle was won by Ms Paddy Kitchen of Barnwell, who suggested that the pounds 10m that has been given to my National Lottery Equilibrium Fund should be distributed equally between the 350 inhabitants of her village (pounds 28,570 each), to relieve Ron and Pat, who run the sub-post office, of the need to taint their till with ticket money.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone