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God, it makes you feel old to think that Girls Aloud are now a thing of the past. We shall not look upon their like again. Sniff. But anyway, thinking about that former cultural phenomenon recently, I had a moment of nostalgia recalling the video for "I Can't Speak French", in which the Girls flounce around in very short, corsetted can-can skirts, with layers upon layers of net and frills and feathers in various shades of pink and pale lilac-y colours.

Cheryl Cole: Angel of the North

Millions will tune in to the climax of 'The X Factor' tonight – in large part because of the Geordie judge who herself embodies the quest for fame

Hit & Run: Northern star

What sort of icon does Cheryl want to be? Her fame has, after all, reached the point at which her first name will suffice. Her mentor, Simon Cowell, has apparently offered her £1.5m – a 100 per cent pay rise – to return to the next series of The X Factor; she is supposedly the subject of a recent shoot for Vogue, and now the artist Lee Jones has immortalised her in his painting "Angel".

Observations: Hollyoaks band play it for real

It's a case of art imitating reality, which ends up imitating the art. Only the other week on an episode of Hollyoaks, the fictional band Dirty Diegos, featuring the TV series' characters Michaela, Josh, Sasha and Amy, were competing in a battle of the bands, and Josh had a dream in which they were performing to a packed crowd at the Dog in the Pond. The band have now released the song on a real label. "Play" (the one they performed in the battle of the bands) is their first official single via Fascination Records (on Polydor), which also represents the Saturdays, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Girls Aloud.

New job for boss forced to resign from Radio 2

Less than four weeks after she resigned from the BBC over the Jonathan Ross-Russell Brand affair the former Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas has found a new job, at Universal Music UK.

Blogger 'wrote of murdering Girls Aloud'

Case marks first time 1959 Obscene Publications Act has been applied to internet

Man charged over Girls Aloud 'porn murder blog'

A civil servant who posted a blog in which he allegedly describes the kidnap, rape and murder of pop group Girls Aloud is being prosecuted.

Games Reviews

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Imagine Girl Band, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, PixelJunk Eden

'Orange' pupils prompt crackdown on craze for fake tan

Generations of girls have fought their parents and teachers over the length of their skirts but the growing popularity of perma-tanned celebrities has thrown up a new battleground: how brown – or orange – their skin should be. Inspired by bronzed role models such as Girls Aloud, teenagers are slapping on more fake tan than ever before. So serious is the situation at Baines High School in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, that its acting headteacher has written to parents, advising them to control the tanning habits of their children.

For those about to rock, steer clear of Celine Dion

She may have only played it once but to those who like their rock unadulterated it was nothing short of sacrilege. Celine Dion's cover of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" has officially been voted the worst cover song of all time by a panel of experts from Total Guitar magazine.

The 5-minute Interview: Thomas Dartnall, Musician

'I'm not miserable – it's the way my face hangs'

Girls Aloud, Brighton Centre, Brighton<br /> The Ting Tings, Radio 1's Big, Weekender, Maidstone

While other talent show winners come and go, Girls Aloud prove that they're the new queens of the classic disposable hit

First Night: Girls Aloud, SECC, Glasgow

Bolshy disco floor-fillers make Girls Aloud the only pop show in town

Pandora: The first hurdle

Welcome aboard a "Tier One" corporate sponsor for 2012's London Olympics: British Airways. A glossy government leaflet shows a gymnast performing in the maligned new Heathrow Terminal 5, with not a queue in sight. BA is signed up to transport British athletes to this August's Beijing Games. But can our sportsmen and women calmly leave their kit in the mitts of T5's overworked baggage handlers?

Jane Moore: The rise of the Sun queen

She's the longest-serving columnist on Britain's best-selling daily newspaper. She's written four best-selling novels with a fifth on the way &ndash; and is hard at work on herlatest TV documentary. But, as Ian Burrell discovers, she's a humble hack at heart
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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