Arts and Entertainment

Mr Memory, who was brought on Monday’s Newsnight to memorise the title sequence and couldn’t even remember that Jeremy bloke with the beard’s name. Gosh I love telly. 

Media: The Word on the Street

IT IS surprising that the BBC's star newsreaders Peter Sissons and Michael Buerk have not yet presented a news bulletin from Kosovo. Jon Snow has been there for Channel 4 News and James Naughtie delivered some memorable reports for the Radio 4 Today programme. Both Sissons and Buerk have apparently turned down the chance for the identical pragmatic reason. They were out of contract and while negotiating their new ones were not covered by Beeb insurance.

Yentob tipped to rule at BBC

NEWS AND Current Affairs executives at the BBC were voicing alarm yesterday as their old foe Alan Yentob emerged as the front-runner in the race to be director-general.

Leading article: Sadly, Mr Dyke can't be the BBC's director general

THE TASK of finding a successor to Sir John Birt as director general of the BBC is far too important to be left to the politicians. It is thus disappointing that William Hague has intervened to prevent Greg Dyke, chairman of Pearson television, from being considered for the post. Indeed it is a bit of a cheek, given the extent to which the Conservative Party politicised the appointment of members of quangos during their time in office. But the appointment of the director general is not a matter for Mr Hague. Or, at least, it is not a matter that justifies such high-profile intrusion. He could, had he chosen to do so, have made his objections quietly, through the "usual channels". Instead, Mr Hague has needlessly placed the BBC's governors - who alone have the responsibility of appointing the director general - in a very difficult position.

Open Eye: First Tuesday: Enlightenment, at the end of the tunnel

You slave away for five years, sometimes more, and eventually collect that well-earned degree. Then what do you do? According to the Chancellor, you pick yourself up, shake yourself down, and start all over again.

Profile: Alan Yentob; The insider's extrovert

In one episode of Absolutely Fabulous, Edina and Patsy went to visit an old friend living in Marrakesh. The friend, played by the late John Wells, had a Moroccan manservant. Summoning him, he bawled: "Yentob." It was a nice in-joke for the media village. The real Yentob in fact commissioned the series, one of the BBC's most successful of the last decade. But the more realistic cameo for the corporation's director of television would have been wining and dining Julia Roberts in the film Notting Hill.

BBC governors favour Dyke and Yentob `dream ticket'

THE BBC governors are seriously considering asking the Pearson boss Greg Dyke and the BBC television executive Alan Yentob to run the corporation together.

Final lap in the race for world's top public broadcasting job

THE GLOVES are off in the battle to be the next director general of the BBC. Thirteen finalists were revealed yesterday to have made it through to the shortlist.

Please sir, can I have some more?

It wasn't a nice week to be at the BBC. But Alan Yentob insists that if we love the Beeb we must pay for it

Buddy, can you spare some time?

Give time, not money. Comic Relief's founder wants us all to donate a few hours of our week to others. By Yvonne Roberts

Women in running to follow Birt at BBC

NEWS of John Birt's decision to step down from the role of director general of the BBC has this week launched the serious search for his successor.

Could it be magic?

I first meet Jerry Sadowitz at a preview of the show he is trying to persuade Channel 5 to commission, working title: Gobshite. I, like the rest of the audience, am expected to take my turn on stage and either ask Jerry a question, present him with an object of interest or tell him a joke. If he finds me to his liking he lets me stay, if he can't be bothered he presses a buzzer and I must leave the stage or incur the wrath of Jerry's bodyguard, Chris, who resembles EastEnder's Grant Mitchell.

Letter: BBC drama

Further to your article (6 February) concerning Michael Wearing and the BBC's drama serials output, may I set the record straight about the decision-making process on the Janet Neel adaptations? The decision not to proceed was entirely an editorial judgement made by the Controller of BBC1, Peter Salmon, in the context of the very strong range of drama titles on offer to him.

Nothing a spot of training couldn't cure

Resolutions The time: 8 july 1992 The place: three locations in north london

There's no smoke without ... er, that hot stuff

Oh yes. Right. Yes.

Letters

Alcohol is freely available but its harm to society in the form of alcoholism, drink-driving and violence cannot be denied. Stringent laws are required to control alcohol use. Cannabis does not do the same social and physical harm, so laws controlling its use need only be for the protection of the users themselves. Who has the right to stop another person consuming something that only has personal health risks?
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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us