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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
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
News
(David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
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Sport
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
footballBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans is the favourite to replace Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear
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Boyband star Brian Harvey is on benefits and on the verge of homelessness
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor