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

Cannabis campaign; Competition winner

We challenged Britain's students to come up with an original contribution to the decriminalise cannabis debate. The competition, arranged jointly with the internet magazine, 'studentUK' , drew hundreds of lively responses. The winning entry, published here, was written by Tim Samuels of St Andrews University who takes the top prize of holiday flights worth pounds 600 with the German airline, Lufthansa.

Leading article: Birt: the Ian Beale of broadcasting

WITNESSING the spectacle of Rupert Murdoch and John Birt argue about the future of British broadcasting is rather like watching EastEnders' Cindy and Ian Beale argue about the custody of their children. A precious future is being torn between two utterly different figures. Like Ian Beale, John Birt can sound a little compromising. But, like Ian's chip shop in Albert Square, he also represents a sort of "establishment" at Broadcasting House in Portland Square. For the glamorous "outsider" figure with a colourful past and predatory instincts we find Rupert's qualities an almost exact fit for those of Cindy Beale. Whilst Rupert Murdoch has never, to our knowledge, tried to arrange to have John Birt assassinated, no-one should be in any doubt about the ferocity of this battle. Like the fictional Walford Family Court, then, we have to weigh their claims to the future of broadcasting very carefully. There are two important issues to be considered at the bar of public opinion. Let us sum up.

Rest in peace? Today's spooks don't have the ghost of a chance

Some take the view that spectral infestation is as serious a problem as blocked drains. They may well be right

Spice dolls dumb down girl power

Parents all over the land can relax - the official advice is don't buy your daughter a Spice Girl doll for Christmas.

Preview: Exhibition: Unexplained: the credulity of us all

The Unexplained

TV Review: Just One Chance

I had some problems with Horizon's second programme about the Antarctic. Some of these may have to do with the howling white-out in my own brain. Then again, the film did seem to buck and dip in a way that might throw off the fittest viewer.

PASSED/FAILED: Carol Vorderman

Carol Vorderman, 36, is the resident mathematician on Countdown, which was the first programme transmitted by Channel 4, and has just celebrated its 2,000th edition. She presents the technology series Hot Gadgets and is a regular presenter of National Lottery Live, both on BBC1 on Wednesdays.

Comedy and the numbers game

The week on television

Every second counts as Britain sells off the millennium

Days are numbered in rush to exploit Greenwich Mean Time

MY WEEK: CLEMENT FREUD 'Watching Casablanca after smoking had been excised, the audience thought Bogart was trying to set fire to Bergman when he lit her expunged cigarette'

It is about now that MPs with small chances of being returned to the Commons start looking to see whether there might not be jobs around Westminster more secure than endorsement by the fickle electorate.

Why are they famous?: Carol Vorderman

Main Claim: Well I never - brains-and-beauty all in one bird. Mensa member Vorderman has joined the new mid-week Lottery as the thinking gambler's Mystic Meg. She does the kind of vast sums that made you cry before double maths, then turns around with the answer and a dimply smile on Channel 4's Countdown. Only in Britain. If she'd been born a Yank, she'd be on Wheel of Fortune after a tangle with some peroxide. Or she'd be Secretary of State. As we all know, girlies aren't very good at maths, so TV's brainbox has been elevated to rogue genius status.

Television: Our Friends in the States

Moments That Made The Year: The old adage that US import equals trashy viewing was finally laid to rest, just as pseudo-science took over the schedules. By Thomas Sutcliffe

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General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions