News Sir David Attenborough: 'I promised I would do something'

It's a theory that hasn't been proposed by politicians yet

Dr Peter Capaldi is a real family guy

Inside Television

York students cause offense after 'blacking up' for 'Cool Runnings' Halloween costumes

University of York is considering disciplinary action

Don't read this alone: Imgur user posts creepy pictures of secret stairs hidden behind a bookcase... and someone is living there. Or is this just the most terrifying online hoax ever?

Pictures purport to show a set of secret stairs hidden behind a bookcase, along with photographs suggesting someone may be living in the walls

Twin Towers costumes, a llama and a sombrero: How to do (or not to do) drunken tomfoolery

This week we’ve seen the best and worst sides of drunken excesses. What have we learnt? Just like in life: llamas good, racism bad.

Birmingham University's Guild of Students bans “racist” Halloween outfits

Students wearing Mexican, Native American and Sacha Baron Cohen costumes were all turned away from an event

The 10 Best Halloween costumes for kids

From scary Draculas to cosy skeletons and cute little pumpkins, we select the best dressing-up clothes for your children

The News Matrix: Monday 14 October 2013

President’s brain operation successful

Actors wearing specially commissioned Halloween style masks representing the damaging effects caused by smoking, approach members of the public in London, to promote a stop smoking campaign this October by online clinic HealthExpress

Commuters in for a surprise after outbreak of 'zombies' in London to warn smokers of dangers of tobacco

Thirty actors wore specially commissioned Halloween-style masks as part of a stop smoking campaign

Asda's apology: What on earth can have possessed it?

'Mental' costumes show how quickly we tend to dismiss the unfamiliar
The costume has now been taken off Asda's website

Asda and Tesco's Halloween costumes: Censoring the word ‘mental’ just adds to the stigma

One in four of us has earned the right to make light of our suffering

The Village's Maxine Peake

Actress Maxine Peake turns to goth rock music

She is best known for starring in Silk and The Village but Maxine Peake has another, darker, string to her bow. Away from the cameras, she has been recording songs about the Pendle witch trials with The Eccentronic Research Council. The Sheffield collective, led by musicians Adrian Flanagan and Dean Honer, asked the actress to narrate their concept album 1612 Underture last year. “I never expected I would perform it”, Peake tells me.

Coronation Street star Chris Fountain suspended over 'totally unacceptable' secret rap alter-ego The Phantom

25-year-old who plays Tommy Duckworth said he is 'deeply ashamed' of the lyrics which boasted about acts of rape and violence

Kick-Ass 2: Suited and booted for hardcore villainy

Kick-Ass 2: Suited and booted for hardcore villainy

A costume partly inspired by Marilyn Manson may be the most spectacular super-villain get-up ever seen in the movies. Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who dressed up as superhero Red Mist in Kick-Ass, has ventured to the dark side in the upcoming sequel and is inspired to take on the evil pseudonym The Mother F%&*^r by donning S&M gear he discovers hidden inside his dead father's gun case. Costume designer Sammy Sheldon Differ says it was the most complex costume to create out of the dozens made for the action thriller: “We played around with the texture and the zips. The idea was to not have a cross-dressing feel. When he first puts on the underwear and holds the guns, oddly he didn't look that bad. We looked at people who dressed up in that hardcore rock look – Marilyn Manson, My Chemical Romance and the guys from Green Day – and tried to mix it with S&M gear in a way that tried to make it look like a superhero.”

The Undiscovered Country: Journeys Among the Dead, By Carl Watkins

A cultural history that reflects on the traditions that surround our final journey – to the coffin

Cocaine given to trick-or-treating children - perhaps it's the neighbours we should be worrying about

Every year the subject of trick-or-treating arises at Halloween, but this year a story far more alarming has been added to the debate.

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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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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