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.

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Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

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The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

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What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

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Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy