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Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Wraysford in 'Birdsong'

The war story that inspired Birdsong

More than two decades ago, Sebastian Faulks wrote for The Independent about a group of First World War veterans searching for the burial places of their fallen comrades. The experience lingered – and ultimately led him to write a novel beloved of millions, now a major BBC drama. This is the piece that inspired a modern classic

Former captain Lewis Moody was accused of putting commercial
activity before the team but you could never say he lacked commitment

David Flatman: England captain must lay down law – and make sure he doesn't break it

From the Front Row: There is a new element to the role now that can't be ignored: commercialism

Spirit: Revellers gather in Caffè Florian

Trail of the unexpected: Casanova's Venice

With a month to go until Valentine's Day, Nick Boulos traces the path of Italy's legendary lover

So, which is the fairest rose of them all?

Yorkshire

Christopher Hirst

There is much to be said for the Yorkshire Dales becoming bigger.

Me Before You, By Jojo Moyes

Listen and learn from an odd couple

Le Cordon Bleu, the French cookery school par excellence, is opening a vast new 'international flagship institute'

Have a delicious New Year: The best foodie events in 2012

From cool cocktails and foodie festivals to hotly anticipated restaurant openings, it's shaping up to be a tasty 2012.

Natalie Haynes: Why water-cooler television still counts

A large chunk of the internet is not that important to most people, it seems. This week we were told that CD sales are still falling fast, while digital album sales are increasing – all of which you might expect. But the actual figures are more surprising: 26.6 million albums were sold digitally in the UK in 2011. Meanwhile, 86.2 million actual shiny silver discs were shifted in the same year.

Natalie Haynes: Water-cooler television still counts

Most of us don't want to learn about Pat Butcher's death the day after it happened
English cartoonist and illustrator Ronald Searle at his work desk in 1956

Ronald Searle: Illustrator and cartoonist who created the anarchic world of St Trinian's

It is tempting to make a casual connection between the horrors that Ronald Searle suffered as a prisoner of the Japanese during the Second World War and the black humour of his most famous cartoon creation, the gothic girls' school St Trinian's.

Jamie's School Dinners, which led to the introduction of nutritional standards in schools

Dinner ladies told to take on the takeaways with cut-price deals

The school meals service was launched some decades after Charles Dickens put the words "Please, sir, I want some more" into Oliver Twist's mouth.

David Cameron has launched his own investigation into the event attended by Aidan Burley, right

Tory MP who attended Nazi stag night faces French inquiry

David Cameron urged to remove whip from Aidan Burley as prosecutors consider charges

Ready To Wear: It's Christmas, of course you can over-indulge the festive style

There are certain occasions in life that bring out the larger-than-life size fashion gesture in even the most sensible dresser.

Cooking for Claudine, By John Baxter

This beguiling book concerns a single meal cooked by the author. No great hardship there since Baxter announces that "a capacity to cook will see you across more frontiers, make you more friends, win you more admiration – love even – than any language or skill."

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the editor of the News of the World dined together at The Ivy in London while the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was missing, official diaries show

Ex-Met chief's dinners with Brooks

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the editor of the News of the World dined together at The Ivy in London while the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was missing, official diaries show

Luke Blackall: Ambassador, you are spoiling us... despite the lack of Ferrero Rocher

They could serve you dinner on a wet white cardboard plate, and because it was the French embassy, you would presume it was correct
News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
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Bruges
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Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game