News Needham: she went on to fight charges for home helps, and day-centre closures

Ivy Needham was in her late sixties and coming to terms with the loss of both her sight and hearing when she was thrust into the forefront of the campaign to get back the pension funds stolen by Robert Maxwell from his staff and from pensioners who had worked for his companies.

Flashback to last May: Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead after the fatal house fire in Derby

Derby house fire trial: Extraordinary account of drug use and swinging emerges as Mick Philpott gives evidence

A father accused of starting the fire in which his six children died said he had sex and smoked cannabis to blot out the horror of the blaze.

Wogan addresses BBC's Savile crisis on 'Children in Need' as appeal beats 2011 total

The BBC's Children in Need appeal raised more than £26 million during this year's live television show, beating the 2011 total.

Stars queue up for festive Strictly Come Dancing

The boss of BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing says stars are desperate to appear in the Christmas special after seeing the success of the latest series.

New Culture Secretary Maria Miller faces wrath of Conservative right flank with resounding endorsement of gay marriage agenda

The new Culture Secretary today risked incurring the wrath of the Conservative Party’s right flank with a resounding endorsement of the Government’s gay marriage agenda.

Why are they trending? #cpc12, Venezuela, #Quote

What's trending and why? 8 October 2012

David Cameron listens to a speech by William Hague on the first day of the Conservative party conference

Welcome to the Nasty Party conference

David Cameron's efforts to improve his party's image undermined by tonight's meeting of 900 Tory activists opposed to same-sex union

David Hockney, also in the news for his recent elevation to the Order of Merit, had criticised his fellow artist Damien Hirst's use of hired help as 'a little insulting to craftsmen'

DJ Taylor: All woes lead to the hapless Mr Lansley

Whether on binge drinking or cosmetic surgery, the Conservative instinct not to interfere is becoming difficult to defend

Love lost: Hall says that leaving Clarkson was the biggest mistake of her life

Alex Hall: 'Only Jeremy Clarkson and I know the truth. Now we can both put our side across'

Recently freed from an injunction imposed by her ex-husband Jeremy Clarkson, she wants to make known how her name has been blackened. Matthew Bell meets Alex Hall.

Sexy, druggy Tory story upsets 'old school'

Andrew Davies's TV adaptation of Booker Prize-winning novel about the Thatcher years ruffles feathers

Ann Coulter: The blonde assassin

Does Ann Coulter really believe the outrageous things she says? To the pin-up pundit of the American right, liberals are fascists - and all terrorists are Muslims. Sholto Byrnes runs for cover

Ann Widdecombe: Michael must open his eyes and listen

The Inside View

Anyone fancy a go at running the Tory party?

Like a guerrilla feud, it could go on for decades, so that barely anyone can remember how it started
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Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
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Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
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Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré deliver an anti-fracking letter to No 10 last week
voicesThe great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick