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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Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own