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

on the box

the 24seven guide
Life and Style
Social media users in Mexico who commented on cartel violence have been killed in the past
techTweets not showing up or loading this morning, users say
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker