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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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...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

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

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

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