News Brian May at the launch of the anti-cull campaign

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) was embroiled in a row yesterday after the leak of a confidential internal report by a senior figure which said the charity’s future was in jeopardy because it had become “too political”.

Snap up some rarities on Sound and Vision's eBay site

At Sound and Vision's annual invitation-only event at London's Abbey Road Studios, where Tom Jones and The Feeling will perform this year, guests bid in a silent auction for photographs of pop stars in aid of Cancer Research. Others can bid for VIP tickets and music memorabilia, including hand-written lyrics by Plan B, Paul Weller and the Happy Mondays, through the Sound and Vision eBay site.

Music biopics: For those about to rock, please don't bother

The sensational storylines are already in place, says Fiona Sturges, so why are biopics of music stars so frequently dreadful?

'Is it because I has a mankini?' Ali G creator to take on Queen

Sacha Baron Cohen to play Freddie Mercury in a film about the star's colourful life

Sacha Baron Cohen to play Queen star Freddie Mercury



Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen is to swap moustaches for his latest role - after signing up to play late Queen star Freddie Mercury.

Free podcast: Kerry Ellis interview

Kerry Ellis amassed a legion of adoring fans when she went "green" playing Elphaba in Stephen Schwartz' smash-hit musical both in London and on Broadway. But her preeminence as a musical-theatre-diva-cum-rock-chick was secured earlier still when Brian May, the celebrated lead guitarist of Queen, asked her to play Meat in the Queen/Ben Elton show We Will Rock You. May quickly recognised a symbiosis between them and their CD single Wicked in Rock sprung a rip-roaring reimagining of "Defying Gravity" with Brian May's amazing guitar riffs a key feature.

Who the hell does Brian May think he is?

The Queen guitarist doubted reports that foxes attacked twin babies, reacted angrily to his critics, and now threatens to quit the UK unless we can all behave

Riffs

The first and latest records bought by David Arnold, the composer best known for his James Bond theme tune

Live: Those about to rock

FOO FIGHTERS

Human threats replace cosmic terror: Total eclipse

Clogged roads, overpriced B&Bs and an invasion of New Age travellers, or cloudy skies and a celestial sputter: take your pick

I've got my own project to do (sniff)

Musical differences. Personal differences. Sex. There are many reasons why bands break up. And they're all part of the career trajectory, man.

As Sir Billy Butlin's holiday camps turn 60, Decca Aitkenhead spends a cheerful but chilly weekend by the sea in Lincolnshire

When Billy Butlin's first holiday camp, on the bracing seafront of Skegness, opened on Easter Saturday 1936, a sign on the reception desk displayed a quotation from A Midsummer Night's Dream: "Our intent is all for your delight". Sixty years on, the Butlin organistion's intentions have not wavered, even if some of the delights on offer over a weekend on the Lincolnshire coast may not be exactly what Billy had in mind 60 years ago.

Too casual to take the limelight

Rock

ARTS The men who know

SHOW PEOPLE LEE AND HERRING

Star's tapes stolen

Burglars stole 'irreplaceable' tapes of newly composed music from the former Queen guitarist Brian May's home in Notting Hill, west London.
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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
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Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent