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.

Man in gun rampage over breakfast row

A man facing eviction over his hostile temper became enraged by how his wife cooked his eggs and killed her, his stepdaughter and three neighbours with a shotgun before shooting himself.

Pandora: Clip sent to room 101

Feeling sensitive? The BBC is – or so it seems.

How to Win an Election, BBC4<br/>Ask the Chancellors, Channel 4

The camera that set out to discomfort our leaders has become their new best friend

Alan Watkins: Michael Foot &ndash; an intellectual prizefighter

The Labour veteran, who died on Wednesday, seemed bookish, but he was an early television star who relished a skirmish

Stephen and the Sexy Partridge, Trafalgar Studios 2, London

Are you game?" the sexy partridge asks Stephen. "I am!" If such chirpy wit were characteristic of Lily Bevan and Finnian O'Neill's ten o'clock Christmas show, one would leave the theatre singing "fa la la la la". But when Stephen later asks his friend, doubting her sobriety, "Are you high?", one can't help thinking that the adjective could refer to the age and odour of many of her jokes.

Marcus Berkmann: On the spot in the contestant's chair

Just because no one knows Greek any more doesn't make quiz shows easy

For the record: 21/09/2009

"The BBC probably has reached the limits of reasonable expansion." Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw&rsquo;s message to the corporation at last week's Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention.

Pandora: Anne would have been a weak link, says Ken

Naturally, we think Anne Robinson would have made a splendid mayor of London. Ken Livingstone, however, begs to differ.

Tories wanted me as Mayor, says Robinson

Party turned to Boris after presenter rejected offer to run against Livingstone

Leading article: The reign of Queen Anne

The revelation that Britain's favourite compere, Anne Robinson, might have become the Tory candidate for the post of mayor of London naturally prompts speculation about what she might have campaigned on. We have a few ideas.

Queen Anne: Television royalty

Anne Robinson has been a tabloid journalist, a consumer champion and a terrifying game show host. Even the Conservative Party tried to hire her. But now she's broken the ranks of youthful female BBC presenters to take on the fat cats in a new show. John Walsh meets a true one-off

Matthew Norman: Yum Yum Yentob sings for his supper

After a mixed week for the BBC on the courage-under-fire front (see George Alagiah, below), a rousing thank the Lord for Alan Yentob.

Christina Patterson: The hangover that women can't shake off

Yes, we need cheaper childcare, but the real question for women is &lsquo;Are you hot?&rsquo;

Inside Lines: England expects but Olympic ball game at sixes and sevens

So the other Home Nations are graciously (or rather, ungraciously) allowing Great Britain to be represented by an all-England team in the 2012 Olympic football tournament. Big deal. No doubt though, they'll still be happy for matches to be played as scheduled in Glasgow, Cardiff and possibly Belfast, thus collecting a few bob in gate money. Sorry to disagree with my colleague Jamie Corrigan's Last Word, but such self-centred intransigence will not have gone unnoticed by the International Olympic Committee and Fifa, who see football as one of the Games' money-spinning showpieces. The 2012 chief Lord Coe is too politically polite to say so but you can bet he is privately seething at the bloody-mindedness of the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland FAs. At least both men and women's teams will be there in 2012, albeit as England in disguise. And the probability that the men's tournament will now be restricted to players under 21 (with Stuart Pearce strongly tipped to manage it) is good news for the likes of the England youth captain John Bostock, the 17-year-old blossoming star at Spurs, who articulated his Olympic ambitions so well in these pages last week. Unfortunately, other British youngsters who may feel the same are being unjustly denied their opportunity. Now here is an intriguing Olympic poser for our insular cousins. Rugby Sevens is pushing hard for inclusion in 2016. If it gets in will the Scots, Welsh and Irish again refuse to scrum down with England citing the same "principle"?

Blue Peter: A sinking ship

It is suffering a catastrophic fall in ratings &ndash; and its fearsome long-term editor Biddy Baxter accuses the BBC of killing it off as children's tastes change. She's on the war path
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University Edible Garden, Leeds – a sustainable garden in the centre of the university, passers-by can help themselves to the home-grown produce
newsFrom a former custard factory to a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery
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fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
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Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
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Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
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High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
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Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz