News The home of the TV weatherman has been raided by police as part of an investigation into historic sexual abuse

Fred Talbot faces 9 charges of incident assault and one serious sexual assault

The Blagger's Guide To: Peter Carey

When a student went in search of an exciting life

Leading article: Selective confusion

The Government's policy on selective education remains confused and highly unsatisfactory. Officially, in the words of a Department for Education spokesman, "legislation prohibits the establishment of new grammar schools – and ministers have been clear that will not change". Which might reasonably be expected to mean that no more grammar schools can be set up.

Cottrell: 'It is one of my duties to educate you politicians in military and scientific issues,' he told MPs

Sir Alan Cottrell: Government's Scientific Adviser who worked to establish safe nuclear power

For some 70 years the impact of Sir Alan Cottrell's work on the basic understanding of materials and its application to engineering structures, his academic leadership, his role of Scientific Adviser to the Government, and his contributions to safe nuclear energy, have been immense. He was the most influential physical metallurgist of the 20th century. Through his pioneering researches, and as an educator, he influenced countless students, scientists and engineers and will continue to do so. His papers and books are remarkable for their clarity.

Segal at work: of the 120 films he made for television, he said he was most proud of his work in Kenya and India

Allan Segal: Bafta-winning film-maker who worked on 'Horizon' and 'World in Action'

Allan Segal, who has died aged 70 after a nine-month fight with cancer, was one of a generation of young producers who brought a new era of tough, investigative journalism to British television in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Train in the Night: A Story of Music and Loss, By Nick Coleman

Notes from the day the music died

Letters: A new year, but the old order is back

Astonished, I find myself in complete agreement with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, now that she has departed from her usual subject of the problems of Muslim women and turned her talented pen to the eternal subject of the British class system (Comment, 2 January). I will be 70 this year. What depresses me is how little the basic fabric of this UK has changed in my lifetime. The same people still own and run the country now as did in the 1940s, the gap between the classes is still as wide, there is still a great underclass of the desperate poor.

Smith, left, with the singer Wee Willie Harris in the late 1950s

Mike Smith: Record producer who had a string of No 1 hits but turned down the Beatles

Between 1963 and 1970 Mike Smith produced six No 1 records for Brian Poole, the Tremeloes, Georgie Fame, Marmalade, Love Affair and Christie. He produced many other hit records too – but he missed out on the Beatles, turning them down at their audition for Decca Records on New Year's Day, 1962.

From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages, By Michael Adams

For a man who has written a Buffy the Vampire Slayer lexicon, Michael Adams puts together a pretty academic volume. He and his fellow-contributors range from the Bible to Esperanto to alien-speak in computer games. JRR Tolkien invented more languages than most polyglots can speak, crafting several types of Elvish, not to mention dwarf-talk and Mordor-mumble. To him, inventing a language, and the history of the folk who would have spoken it, was an art form.

Grammar schools 'should look for bright pupils in poor homes'

Grammar schools should be barred from becoming academies until they recruit bright pupils from disadvantaged homes, a conference heard yesterday.

The original of a 1970 'Sunday Mirror' cartoon

David Langdon: Cartoonist who depicted the incongruities of everyday life for six decades

Once described by The Evening Standard as "The greatest comic artist of our time... the Phil May of our day", and by the Punch historian RGG Price as "the great master of the topical comic idea", David Langdon was one of Punch's longest-serving and most prolific cartoonists, drawing at least 5,000 cartoons for that magazine alone over a period of 55 years. In addition he was a regular contributor to the Sunday Mirror for more than 40 years and to The New Yorker for more than half a century, as well as being a successful book illustrator, writer and advertising artist.

Nick Smith: Stalwart of the 'Independent' Foreign Desk

Nick Smith, who has died aged 64, was part of the Foreign Desk team at the launch of The Independent 25 years ago. His name has never previously appeared in this newspaper. Nor did it appear in the other newspapers that he served with skill and devotion for more than four decades, including the Rand Daily Mail, The Times and the Financial Times. Nick was a supreme example of a journalistic breed which has become scarce, though not extinct. He was a supremely skilled sub-editor who took an enormous pride in improving, and rescuing, the work of others. He showed no desire to move on to writing or executive positions, once describing his career aim as "well-paid obscurity".

Chalk Talk: Private schools - shouldn't we be demanding an inquiry?

The headlines last Saturday were predictably all about the leading independent schools and the widening the gap in performance between them and state schools. Quite natural, really, as private schools in membership of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) had seen a 0.9 percentage point increase in A* grades at A-level compared with just 0.1 percentage point nationally.

Best state schools add £77,000 to the value of nearby homes

A top-performing state school can add up to £77,000 to the value of a house within its catchment area, according to new research, with the cost of properties near the 50 best-performing state schools 35 per cent higher than in the rest of the UK.

To live near the best schools, be prepared to pay a £77,000 premium

That's the average amount parents are forking out to buy a house in the right catchment area to ensure their children get a good education. Chiara Cavaglieri reports

New Finnish Grammar, By Diego Marani (trs Judith Landry)

The gloom of an unknown soldier
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers