Arts and Entertainment Countdown's Rachely Riley takes to the dance floor with partner Pasha Kovalev

The Countdown and Strictly star married her husband last August

Alan Carr celebrates 'civil ceremony made in heaven' with £3m C4 deal

Alan Carr has signed an exclusive deal with Channel 4 that is thought to be worth nearly £3m over two years, after the broadcaster fought off feverish interest from the BBC and ITV.

Simon Carr: No point pretending Oxbridge isn't best

The obsession with Oxbridge is "mad", a "middle-class obsession". So says one of the luminaries of the Russell Group. Maybe he's trying to detoxify the reputation of these two institutions; to reduce the general level of envy, resentment and hostility towards them.

Conundrum for 'Countdown' as Vorderman quits after 26 years

Carol Vorderman announced last night she is to step down from Countdown, after 26 years as a presenter on the Channel 4 programme.

Mark Steel: How dare these soldiers go round getting wounded?

Of all the shady reasons for supporting the war in Iraq, the weakest was always how it was our duty to "Support our boys," as they couldn't do their job if people back home were critical. To start with, this doesn't seem logical. Is there any evidence that tank commanders were about to fire off a volley of missiles, but then hesitated saying "Ooh I'm not sure I can go through with it because there was this sniffy letter in The Independent"?

Arctic Monkeys: Too much monkey business

The UK's latest indie superstars have lost a bassist at a crucial time. David Sinclair on the stresses of the music machine

Lynam slips into Whiteley's shoes but not his wardrobe

Countdown, Channel 4

Idle matinees

A Week in Books

Hero or zero? Carol marks down Will

Nursery rat race spawns work books for infants

PARENTS OF three-year-olds are snapping up workbooks to prepare children for school and for government testing at the age of five.

Leading Article: Call the Prime Minister's bluff over the new politics, Mr Kennedy

THERE IS one test above all against which this week's speech by the new leader of the Liberal Democrats should be judged: will Charles Kennedy call the Prime Minister's bluff on New Labour's commitment to a new way of doing politics?

Your Money: On the trail of that old cash stash

You don't need to be Carol Vorderman to track down the whereabouts of long-forgotten savings accounts

Lists: thank your lucky stars if you're not on one

Suddenly everything, no matter how trivial or private, must be marked or given a percentage

Cricket: Thin red line between game and gameshow

Stephen Brenkley tunes in as a new episode in cricket coverage has its screen test
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
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Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
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Virtual reality headset: 'Essentially a cinema screen that you strap to your face'
techHow virtual reality is thrusting viewers into frontline of global events and putting film-goers at the heart of the action
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Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness