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

Brian Viner's Icons of the 20th Century; No 6: Albert Einstein

Sometime in the early Fifties, it is said, Marilyn Monroe, who had a thing for brainy men, asked to meet the brainiest of them all, Albert Einstein. The Nobel prize-winning physicist was well into his seventies by then, but he was just as impressed by a substantial cleavage as Monroe was by a substantial intellect. Apparently they got on rather well, and the comedian Arnold Brown has worked their improbable encounter into a sweetly whimsical tale, which has Einstein and Monroe returning to her hotel room after dinner and making themselves comfortable on the sofa. "Albert," says Marilyn. "Vot is it, my dear?" "I hope you don't mind me asking, but would you try to explain to me your theory of relativity?" Einstein pats Monroe's leg. "I'm terribly sorry, my dear," he says, "but I neffer go zat far on a first date."

Arts: Shooting fish in a barrel

Louis Theroux is the latest television presenter to achieve success by poking fun at Johnny Foreigner. In his second series of Weird Weekends he returns to American oddballs. But is the interviewer any less strange than his subjects?

Boxing: Beeb and the boxing boob

Alan Hubbard in Barnsley sees a showpiece on the ropes fight back

Focus: Home sweet digital home

The new 'cocooner' is no couch potato. But why go out when you can make the world come to you?

Plan to cure fear of maths at school

TEACHERS SHOULD organise desks in a U-shape and sing Five Little Speckled Frogs with their five-year-olds, according to new government guidelines on how to teach maths.

Blair picks Vorderman to head maths campaign

CAROL VORDERMAN, Britain's highest paid female television presenter, has been personally recruited by the Prime Minister to spearhead a campaign to raise standards in maths.

Stars in their minds

They don't fix their Barry Manilows up with false noses. They won't let men do Shirley Bassey. And don't even dream that they'll let you be a Black-and-White Minstrel. Welcome to Stars in Their Eyes, the weirdest show on television

`Countdown' is faked, says Parris

MATTHEW PARRIS, the man who "outed" Peter Mandelson, has exposed another beloved national institution, the cult Channel 4 show Countdown.

Property: Can Carol Vorderman really help you sell your home?

As the TV schedules fill up with property programming, Ginetta Vedrickis looks at the makeover phenomenon

On Location: Pub closed? Try the minicab office

ONE OF the marvellous things about alcohol is that it lands you in the strangest circumstances, which you accept as perfectly normal at the time. Until the next morning, when you think, "How did we end up in a bowling alley with that horse?"

The Joys of Modern Life; 22. `Countdown'

THE REWARDS of working from home are many, but the biggest must be the pleasure of not working from home.

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL '98: And not a glimpse of Carol Vorderman...

COMEDY: RICHARD WHITELEY PLEASANCE

Media: How Martin joined the ranks of the rich and famous

Martin Bashir has made his name interviewing celebrities, now he's one in his own right.

Mensa fails the sexism test

The society for big brains has just ousted its first female chairperson . Does it have enough basic common sense to thrive in the egalitarian Nineties?

God of footie floods BBC with fan mail

BRITAIN is in the grip of a cult. A fever is sweeping the nation and a twinkle-eyed, moustachioed TV presenter is to blame. For Des-mania has hit Britain.
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'