Bedford

Mouritz Botha: Blond With Bottle

It's been a long road to the top for Mouritz Botha. Laid off from his office job, he begged for a chance with Sarries. Now all the hard work has paid off. He talks to Chris Hewett

Gordon Colling: Trade unionist who helped pave the way for the changes

Many newly- elected members joining the Parliamentary Labour Party for the first time are struck by the fact that often the opinions of politicians who enjoy a high media profile count for little, and that the opinions of some colleagues, virtually unknown to the public, count for a great deal. So it was, I found, in the mid-1980s, with the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. Gordon Colling was by no means a household name but his opinions soon came to matter a great deal in the deliberations of the Party during those turbulent years.

High Kicks and Low Life: Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec has been described by a contemporary critic as, ‘the quintessential chronicler of Paris’. The work of the artist (1864-1901) immediately evokes the decadent atmosphere of fin-de siècle Paris. And a touch of gay Paree might well rub off on Bedford next month when the British Museum Tour of his work arrives at Bedford Gallery.

Portrait of an unknown artist: Stanley Lewis

Artist and teacher Stanley Lewis, who died last year at the age of 103, painted every single day for 84 years. Yet despite his remarkable talent and prolific work ethic, the first major exhibition of this little-known artist is yet to be held. It opens on Saturday alongside works from the Cecil Higgins Collection by Lewis’ tutors, friends and influences, including William Rothenstein, Augustus John and Stanley Spencer.

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Honda Civic Type R

If a high-revving hot hatch is your thing, look no further. David Wilkins and our panel try out a rather uncivilised Civic