News Debris washed up by flood water in Moorland, where 40 square miles of the Somerset Levels remain underwater

Officials were told 12 months ago that rivers posed a serious risk but failed to take any action

Sorry, Sir Peter, but things are getting better for theatre

Hall's charge that the Arts Council is provoking the end of many small theatres is scandalous

Poetic Licence: Counting Sheep

Culture Secretary Chris Smith has waded in on the side of One Man And His Dog fans. The row over the BBC's decision to axe the programme after 23 years looks set to escalate this week, after Mr Smith spoke out in support of the programme on Radio Four's Any Questions.

Parliament: No way to treat a dog, say MPs

TELEVISION

Smith defends TV dog show

THE ROW over the BBC's decision to axe One Man and His Dog is set to intensify this week after the Secretary of State for Media, Sport and Culture described the decision as "a big mistake".

Six councils warned their libraries are sub-standard

CHRIS SMITH, the Secretary of State for Culture, has admitted that some libraries are under threat. Yesterday he wrote to 21 local councils demanding that they improve their library services and has threatened six with a full investigation by his department.

Interview: Chris Smith - Just plain old Mr Smith

The Deborah Ross Interview: He likes the odd meal out and costume dramas on telly. He's brilliantly unflashy. Yet he's a national treasure

Letter: Misery bridge

Misery bridge

Licence fee for TV to be pounds 101

BROADCASTING

Leading article: An efficiency drive that misses the point

A MUSEUM director was astonished when he attended a meeting with the Prime Minister and the Arts Minister to find that the only word used as an aim was "efficiency".

pounds 10m takes heat off Royal Opera

A HEFTY Arts Council grant increase for the Royal Opera House is to be announced on Thursday, incensing rival organisations. But it may go some way to persuading financial backers and disillusioned artistic talent that the future of Covent Garden is not so bleak.

Focus: Resisting everything except temptation

In the week of the unveiling of a statue of Oscar Wilde, other events were a reminder that the Naughty Nineties applies as much to London's Soho today as it did 100 years ago

BBC told to get act together

THE BBC defended its role yesterday as executives spelt out their vision for the millennium in a document, "The BBC Beyond 2000", which Chris Smith, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, had asked the corporation to prepare.

Parliament:Questions and Answers

Lords backed

Punters to get a seat on new lottery board

CONSUMERs ARE to be represented on the commission in charge of the National Lottery for the first time, in an attempt to improve public confidence in the running of the draw, writes Rachel Sylvester.

We now go over to ITN for the news at 6.30

ITV WAS given the go-ahead yesterday to abolish its flagship news programme, News at Ten, bringing to an end the bulletin's 31-year history and its status as a national institution.
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