Voices

Moving house really brings you up to speed with the state of customer service in modern-day Britain. For the past two weeks I have been waging an almost constant war, via Twitter, email and phone, to get companies to do the simplest things like turn up on time (or even on the right day), deliver the correct item or offer help over the phone in something resembling human. I am fortunate in that I am a very minor celebrity with a healthy amount of Twitter followers. Time and again, the moment I tweeted my grievances the managing director or head of customer care would be in touch within 15 minutes promising to solve the problem. This is brilliant for me, but it's a sad state of affairs that problems that are easily solved can only be dealt with because I once dressed as a large squirrel.

national puppetry archive

Violet Philpott: Puppeteer who brought Zippy to life in 'Rainbow'

Zippy, the yellowish-brown glove puppet who was loud and sought to be the centre of attention in Rainbow, gained a cult status that went beyond the pre-school children's programme's 25-year history.

As Robinson says 'Goodbye', our man Archie wins the last Weakest Link

Nine years on from his first appearance on The Weakest Link, The Independent's Archie Bland is celebrating after he returned to take part in the final edition of the show – and pulled off a stunning victory.

Archie is grilled by Anne Robinson on the final edition of The Weakest Link

As Robinson says 'Goodbye', our man Archie wins the last Weakest Link

Nine years on from his first appearance on The Weakest Link, The Independent's Archie Bland is celebrating after he returned to take part in the final edition of the show – and pulled off a stunning victory.

Archie is grilled by Anne Robinson on the final edition of The Weakest Link

‘You are the weakest link, goodbye!': What’s it like to face Anne Robinson on the cult quiz show?

When he was voted off the cult TV quiz show The Weakest Link nine years ago, Archie Bland thought he'd seen the last of Anne Robinson. Then he got invited back for its final broadcast...

Letter from the editor: The weakest link

BBC Parliament (504 on Sky, 81 on Freeview) is likely to garner record viewing figures at 2.30pm today when a reluctant Rupert and James Murdoch will appear before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee, to be followed at 3.30pm by their ex-CEO Rebekah Brooks.

Are Finnish schools the best in the world?

They have no uniforms, no selection, no fee-paying and no league tables. Yet Finland's education system consistently tops global rankings. Richard Garner finds out what we can learn from them

Stars in their eyes: Why is the Government allowing celebrities into the seats of power?

Mary Portas is the latest television personality to be recruited by government – but politics is too important to be treated like a reality show, argues John Walsh

Virginia Ironside: Why does it pay to be rude on television?

Now she's left The Weakest Link Anne has been extraordinarily generous to the guests she put down

Cultural Life: Boy George, singer

Music: I'm digging Laura Marling, Nocturne The Blonde, Hurts, Sister Crayon, Chairlift and, of course, the gorgeous Adele who has a touch of Dusty Springfield about her. My Spotify playlist goes from Glasvegas to Jimmy Scott, lots of David Bowie from all decades and even a dash of Julio Iglesias and Goran Bregovic! Oh, and Timi Yuro, who seems to have been forgotten but what a voice!

Matthew Bell: The <i>IoS</i> Diary (27/02/11)

Born on a red carpet

Matthew Norman: Let's hope Alan Johnson doesn't get asked about stamp duty

The mood music at which Johnners can excel is important. But you can't make music of any kind without knowing the individual notes

Age case presenter Miriam O'Reilly 'did the right thing'

Axed presenter Miriam O'Reilly today said she had done the "right thing" by "standing up" to the BBC after she won an age discrimination case against the corporation.

'I don't hate women' says top female television executive

One of the most senior female TV executives in Britain today launched an emotional rebuttal of "utterly offensive" claims that she "hates" women.

BBC One controller hated women, tribunal told

Four female presenters in their 40s and 50s were dropped from Countryfile because BBC One controller Jay Hunt "hated women", a tribunal heard today.

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
film
News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
News
people
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn