Sport Louis Smith shows off his Olympic silver medal

British gymnast Louis Smith has put his retirement plans on hold and declared he wants to represent England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this year.

Chalk Talk: How to knock pupils into shape - get them to Come Dancing

It was a nostalgic moment when Ann Widdicombe turned up in Blackpool last week to chair the annual North of England Education Conference. The last time the Conservative MP turned Strictly Come Dancing Star was in town was when the BBC1 show visited its glitzy ballroom just before Christmas.

BBC ageism verdict gives hope to older presenters

Miriam O'Reilly is set for a six-figure payout after losing her job on 'Countryfile' because her bosses thought she was too old

Mary Dejevsky: Of my M4 success and other triumphs

Notebook

Cable threatens to 'bring down the Government'

The Liberal Democrat minister Vince Cable faced acute embarrassment last night after privately suggesting he could "bring down" the Coalition Government by quitting the Cabinet.

Tointon celebrating Strictly Come Dancing win

Former EastEnder Kara Tointon was celebrating today after being crowned winner of this year's Strictly Come Dancing.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Ann Widdecombe and the rise of Strictly Come Democracy

By pretending to make a fool of herself, she ends up making a fool of us

Lisa Snowdon 'on the mend' with viral meningitis

DJ and model Lisa Snowdon is "on the mend" after being diagnosed with viral meningitis.

Big names 'paws' for thought

Tracey Emin, John Barrowman, Dame Vera Lynn and Ronnie Corbett are just some of the big names 'lending a paw' to raise money for the Cats Protection feline welfare charity.

Baker in 'One Show' frame

Strictly Come Dancing star Matt Baker has become favourite to take over as The One Show host after Jason Manford quit over his online "flirting" with fans.

Cable to star in strictly Christmas show

The Business Secretary Vince Cable today confirmed his intention to star in a Christmas edition of Strictly Come Dancing.

Business Diary: Twinkle-toes Vince will lead

If, as seems likely, Vince Cable accepts the BBC's invitation to appear on a Christmas special of Strictly Come Dancing, he will no doubt wow the public – he has been a keen ballroom dancer for years. The best thing about this story so far, however, was the total bemusement yesterday of the two presenters on the American business channel CNBC who dedicated a good five minutes to discussing Mr Cable's appearance. Though the US has its own version of Strictly – Dancing With The Stars – the US Commerce Secretary, Gary Locke, is not thought to be planning an appearance.

BBC2 told to forget chasing ratings and dare to be different

BBC1 and BBC2 are too similar, while BBC4 needs to do more to raise its profile, the BBC Trust said yesterday after a review of the output of the channels.

Culture Club: Strictly Come Dancing, Saturdays, BBC1

"Ann Widdecombe is up for a laugh and seems to be enjoying herself. She is being very entertaining – light entertainment harms no one."

Howard Jacobson: What has happened to your dignity, Ann?

If you are going to weigh in on matters of religion, you can’t turn yourself into a pantomime grouch

James Lawton: Henson lacks defining quality of a star – belief

As Gavin Henson considers swapping the sequins of Strictly Come Dancing for the red star and crescent moon of the Saracens rugby club, and a possible return to the international fields he was born to inhabit, we can only deplore again some of nature's more slipshod habits.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Spain
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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project