Arts and Entertainment Regal eye: ‘Hidden Histories: Britain’s Oldest Family Businesses’ featured Fiona Toye’s firm

A stray glance at last night's BBC4 schedules might have tricked people into thinking that Britain's Oldest Family Businesses were being given the Horrible Histories treatment. Alas, this is actually part of a three-part strand called Hidden Histories, which is similar in that it is about history, but different in that it is a very on-the-straight-and-narrow documentary for BBC4 rather than a daft romp through the past with Steve Punt and pals.

Christmas Day storms: electricity lines near Reigate in Surrey are repaired

Power firms tackled by MPs over profits and performance

Britain's power distribution chiefs are fuming about the damage to their industry's reputation by the company blamed for blackouts in the South-east over Christmas.

Old bronze and chalk models are displayed at the Pontificia Fonderia Marinalli factory; founded in 1339, the company is still in business

After 1,000 years, Italian bell makers ring the changes with exports taking up the slack

The process of making bronze bells hasn’t altered much in 1,000 years at the Pontifical Marinelli Foundry. What’s changing is where they chime, as Italy’s oldest family business looks abroad to avoid the economy at home.

Wine: Something for the weekend?

Night in

Book review: The Great Tamasha, By James Astill

The rupee rules at the wicket today. But can the old game survive in a new economic era?

Book of a lifetime: An Artist of the Floating World, By Kazuo Ishiguro

The Booker Prize-winner The Remains of the Day is Kazuo Ishiguro's most famous novel, but An Artist of the Floating World is his one book that I re-read at least once a year.

Denise Welch and Keith Allen in The Smack Family Robinson

Theatre review: The Smack Family Robinson, Rose Theatre, Kingston

Keith Allen and Denise Welch head a clan akin to criminal (and drug-dealing) von Trapp family

The 10 Best ciders

Forget the cheap stuff at the back of the supermarket fridge, properly made scrumpy is the drink of the gods.

Marni has launched its first fragrance in hands of Carolina, the daughter of founder and creative director, Consuelo Castiglioni

The scent of Marni: Italian label launches its first fragrance

The enigmatic Italian fashion label has launched its first fragrance, and it's worth sniffing out, says Naomi Attwood

Australia Mothercare is in administration

Mothercare's Australian business has collapsed into administration after it failed to find a buyer for the baby products retailer.

Facebook criticised again - this time sparked by Mark Zuckerberg's sister

As Twitter and Facebook crimes are announced as having risen a massive 780% in just four years, there's a lot to be said about social media and privacy. Even Mark Zukerberg's sister has something to say.

Government hails record number of people in work and off jobless benefits

The Government hailed new figures showing a record number of people in work as a “real landmark”, as unemployment and jobless benefit claimants fell.

Elisabeth Murdoch and father Rupert

Rupert Murdoch's empire has to be challenged, says Harriet Harman

Labour calls on parties to act together on eve of MacTaggart Lecture by Elisabeth Murdoch

Chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall urge cut-price milk boycott

Celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have urged the public to boycott some supermarkets over cuts to the price of milk.

Cannes Diary: Harry Potter magic leads to film debut

Crispian Mills, the lead singer of Kula Shaker, can thank a bit of Harry Potter magic for getting him into films, which has culminated in his directing a "semi-comedy" starring Simon Pegg.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness