Arts and Entertainment Playing it by ear: Dan Skinner, Matt Berry, Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves in 'House of Fools'

Vic and Bob are back in BBC2's House of Fools. The duo explain why writing a sitcom was their biggest test yet

Beef case set to go ahead

A SCOTTISH hotelier who served beef on the bone could be the first to be prosecuted under safety regulations. The Procurator Fiscal in Selkirk is to proceed with the test case against Jim Sutherland, of The Lodge, Carfraemill. The case is to be heard in March and carries a maximum fine of pounds 5,000

Beef law not being enforced

Environmental health officers say that the "beef-on-the-bone" ban introduced almost a month ago is "practically unworkable" and that they are pushing it far down their list of priorities.

Where's the beef? In Downing Street

A cow and her calf gate-crashed Downing Street yesterday as 3,500 farmers converged on Westminster to keep up the pressure for more help for their industry. Farmers have become the new militants of British industry but ministers have dug in their heels against further hand-outs after last month's pounds 85m of extra aid.

Caught with his trousers down

The Bull Monty: a would-be matador can only cower as his manhood is exposed to ridicule

Beef Crisis: Dangerous living

How dangerous is a T-bone steak? If you drive to a restaurant with a new friend, eat a steak (on the bone), walk home, climb the stairs, have unprotected sex, then have a cigarette, which was the most risky? On the basis of the latest fatality statistics and behavioural surveys, this is how dangerous certain activities were in Britain last year.

Minister admits beef ban may last another year

The European ban on British beef might still be in place in a year's time, Jack Cunningham, the Agriculture Minister said yesterday. Dr Cunningham said he could not put a date on when the ban might be lifted but said it was likely that it would be done in a piecemeal way.

Graves of 6,000 mad cows revealed

The Government was forced to admit last night that for the past six weeks it has suppressed a list, demanded in Parliament, of the burial sites of 6,117 cattle infected with mad cow disease.

Elephants on pill trample family values

Any proponent of sound conservative family values could have told them how it would end. In a world first, wild elephants were introduced to the Pill. Now, six months later, the bold experiment has gone disastrously wrong. Elephant society is falling apart.

Hogg in bid to get beef ban lifted

Douglas Hogg, the Agriculture Minister, is expected to seek cabinet approval tomorrow for a bid to lift the European ban on British beef exports a move which could help to prop up the Government until a May election.

Radio: Wallis and Gromit, the new Simpsons

"Her dancing style is a cross between marching on the spot in heavy mud and milking a very tall cow." I managed to catch only one sentence of Monday's Short Story (R4) as I hurried out, but that line, from Ioan Meredith's Will You Marry Me?, was too good not to be scribbled down hastily, just in case it could be shoe-horned into this column. The radio is a tyrant and a tease. For every full programme I hear, there are a dozen jottings like that around our house: it's time to use a few.

Little boxes everywhere (even the cows look alike)

John Gummer rails against the monotonous condition of a too-neat Britain

Welcome opportunity for a beef

"Still eating British beef are you?" Peter Oldfield strode down Victoria Street asking the tourists gathered there to watch the Queen's procession to Parliament about their dining habits, writes Elizabeth Wyne.

Letter: A dairy farmer appeals for help

Letter: A dairy farmer appeals for help

Leaving the herd behind to express a shared fury

A despairing farmer says some people are now resorting to bribery

French fall for a herd of bullocks

Last Friday it was the cows that came to Paris, with the farmers' protest; yesterday it was the bullocks, but they had nothing to do with agrarian protest. They were the star turn in France's favourite summer television game show, Intervilles, and they had a considerably more difficult passage than the cows.
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own