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.

Why Loudon Wainwright is still going strong

Father of Rufus and Martha, Loudon Wainwright III tells Andy Gill why he's still going strong. Just don't mention the skunk

Gigi, Open Air Theatre Regent's Park, London

"Thank 'eavens for leedul girls/ For leedul girls get beeger every day." The Lerner and Loewe musical Gigi is not going to win any awards for political correctness with its story of a girl being groomed for the family business of high-class prostitution. So you could argue that it's wittily defiant of the Open Air Theatre to stage a revival now. This was the first musical I was taken to see at the cinema as a toddler and no one thought it incongruous. How times have changed.

Dickinson's mother Monica dies at 83

Racing dynasty matriarch Monica Dickinson has died at the age of 83. And though it was her late husband, Tony, and then their son, Michael, who held the licence in Yorkshire for most of the glory years, Monica was integral to the operation that reached its peak when the yard sent out the first five in the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Leading article: Tories should sell up or be sacked

There is a difference between the two controversies over the financial interests of politicians that we report today. One is serious and the other trivial. That six Conservative MPs, including three frontbenchers, have large shareholdings in companies that are complicit in Robert Mugabe's oppression of Zimbabwe makes meaningless David Cameron's pose as the defender of democracy and human rights. That Wendy Alexander, Labour leader in the Scottish Parliament, failed to put donations that she had already disclosed on the register of members' interests is a bureaucratic trifle. Requiring an apology, perhaps, but a resignation? Surely not.

Wanted, 18

The night pistol-packing Angelina told me the way to go

Small Talk: A tale of the Greeks and the soya bean stalk

Stathis Giavroglou laughs alittle nervously when asked if his relatives fully approve of the decision to list the family business after 38 years of trading. The impression is that certain people took some persuading.

Tory chairman to face sleaze inquiry

The Conservative Party chairman will face an investigation into her use of MPs' expenses to pay a nanny... at her own request.

Second top Tory MEP quits after expenses allegations

A Tory MEP who paid his wife and daughter's company £758,000 in parliamentary expenses has been dropped as the party's chief whip in the European Parliament. Den Dover, who said it was within the rules to pay the family company for secretarial and support work between 2001 and 2007, was replaced the day after the Tories' former leader in Brussels, Giles Chichester, quit after breaking rules on expenses. Yesterday David Cameron, the Conservative leader, moved to quell the row over expenses, ordering that all the party's MEPs should publish a compete breakdown of their claims.

Book review: Family Wars, by Grant E Gordon and Nigel Nicholson

A new theory of relativity

Being a funeral director may sound grim, but your work is much appreciated

Most little girls dream of being Darcey Bussell or the next Mariah Carey. But while her friends were singing into makeshift microphones, the 12-year-old Vicki Fraser was dreaming of coffins and caskets.

Berlin Poplars, By Anne B Ragde, trans James Anderson

A sophisticated exploration of family by a prize-winning Norwegian novelist

Letters: Greed of the City

Shareholders mugged by the reckless greed of City operators

Letters: Tory voting rules

Tory party's voting rules make a bizarre joke of democracy

Conservative Reaction: Chancellor ill-prepared as downturn begins to bite, claim Tories

David Cameron lambasted Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling for leaving Britain ill-prepared to cope with the global economic downturn, insisting "they have left Britain running on empty".

Family Companies: Relief for small businesses as 'income shifting' legislation stalls

A delay in the introduction of new income tax legislation for family business employees was welcomed last night as HM Revenue & Customs' plans to combat "income shifting" stalled.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there