News
Hogwarts or hotel standards? Jim Kelly discovers why boarding schools are fashionable again

Theatre Review: Rambling through the past's muddy fields

I Am Yours Royal Court

Why Cracker sank over the Atlantic

Tonight British audiences can see `Fitz', the made-for America version of `Cracker'. It was hailed as a triumph for Granada - but the series was pulled mid-run in the US. Rob Brown reveals why.

False memory ends sex assault case

A sex assault prosecution was dropped yesterday after experts advised that the alleged victim could be suffering from False Memory Syndrome, partly triggered by storylines in the television series Brookside and Cracker.

The Coltrane sideshow

For Robbie Coltrane's tough shrink they stand for hours and eat mud. Jim White mingles with extras on the set of 'Cracker'

ITV admits defeat in the battle over 'Cracker'

MATHEW HORSMAN

The man who raped Sheila Grant

`I'm not particularly fascist or racist or homophobic, you know - I try to lead a good life'

`Cracker' censured for 9pm sex scene

Cracker, the popular ITV drama series starring Robbie Coltrane and made by Granada Television, was censured by the Independent Television Commission yesterday for starting an episode at 9pm with a scene of sexual intercourse.

TELEVISION / What a sight - not an insight

YOU ARE having a nightmare. Your Auntie Elsie, never previously seen beyond Belper, has strayed into New York fashion week. She has that squiffy sherry look and has just buttonholed one of the world's top designers. He is lightly tanned, succulent with success: he gives Auntie a get-this-woman-outta-here smile. You rush forward to plead with her to take off the ginger wig and come home. But your nose hits the TV screen. This is not a nightmare. Well, it is; but not one starring your aunt.

TELEVISION REVIEW / An arresting lesson in dramatic finesse

THE MOST familiar writers' gripe at the moment is that if you're going to arrest the attention of a commissioning editor you have to call in a policeman to do it. Like all gripes, it's an exaggeration, but this is a bad week to try and refute it, a week which has offered three police dramas in as many days. The gripe also assumes, as a given, that genre fiction puts handcuffs on the imagination of the writer. With Wycliffe, Wexford and A Touch of Frost fresh in the mind you wouldn't hastily deny that, but again, it's a bad week for the theory. As Jimmy McGovern proved with Cracker (ITV), and J C Wilsher with Between the Lines (BBC 1), it isn't the genre that matters so much as what you do with it. Now both series are back on our screens again.

TELEVISION / 'E's a lovely lad, that Bob

FOR 'an epic story of love and ambition', Seaforth (BBC1) has a mundane sort of title. It sounds like a reconditioned Onedin Line, or that form at school into which they lump the boys who spend geometry lessons tattooing themselves with a compass: C Fourth. Nowadays, Bob Longman (Linus Roache) would be just another C Fourth yob. But we are in the 1940s and he is the Bad Boy of Seaforth Town. Mind you, 'e's 'ad it rooff: dad dead, mam on the sauce, bairns coughin' and no chance of a quiet fag on the lav without t'Army sending in recruitin' posse. One night (they don't stretch to much daylight in these parts), this artful draft-dodger breaks into a posh house and is gnawing on a ham when he is caught by Paula, the virtuous maid (Lia Williams). As she remonstrates with him, a bomb drops in and the villain of the piece becomes the hero of the hour, snatching Paula from the flames but cruelly condemning her to a lifetime licked by the hot tongues of passion. No use raising an eyebrow, never mind an objection. Those whom the entire annual budget of the Special Effects Department hath thrown together, let no joyless critic put asunder.
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick