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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General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions