Life and Style

Track can now be viewed like any road

Big trouble at BBC2? The controller is calm under fire

It can't be easy for Janice Hadlow just now. She is the woman who made television stars of Simon Schama and David Starkey. She is ready to enthuse about plans to broadcast underwater images of a submerged Mycenaean city, to make a landmark series on the classical world, and to reveal the home-decorating secrets of the Victorians.

So he's really the Stig? Big deal

A battle is raging over the identity of Top Gear's test driver. Even Sean O'Grady, a confirmed petrolhead, is bemused

A guide to A-road Britain: A3400

If you are heading northwards into Shakespeare country, choose the route the Bard himself would have travelled. Emily Dugan saunters to Stratford-upon-Avon from Chipping Norton through chocolate box Olde England

RBS hit by FSA inquiry into Coutts

Coutts, the Queen's bank, is under investigation from the financial market watchdog over a fund it sold to customers including TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson, it emerged yesterday.

More than 70 countries make being gay a crime

People are being killed for their sexual orientation, despite progress made by some nations, including Britain, to eliminate prejudice

Clare Balding: Homophobia, AA Gill, and me

Why <i>The IoS's</i> initiative still matters

A A Gill's lesbian jibe provokes complaint from BBC star

Albanians, the Welsh, animal rights activists and Germans have all been outraged by the wit, acerbity and bile pouring from A A Gill's keyboard.

Dom Joly: VIP stands for Vaguely Impecunious Punter

As you read this I shall be at the poshest festival in Britain – Cornbury, near Charlbury in Oxfordshire. It's not far from me: apart from the local cider festival and the annual Steam Fair, it's our big local event.

Last Night's TV: Reunited, BBC1<br />Men about the House, BBC4<br />Top Gear, BBC2

Reunited couldn't more conspicuously have been a pilot if it had been wearing flying goggles and a leather helmet, but for some reason nobody seemed to want to mention the fact. Mike Bullen's script about student housemates meeting up again after eight years was described in the Radio Times as a "comedy drama", which rather suggested that within the hour Mike Bullen would have tied up at least one of the mop-head of loose ends he'd assembled. But as tick followed tock it dawned on you that Hannah's agony over whether Martin still loved her or Belinda's guilty secret about "Spanish lessons" or Rob's odd-couple affair with the judgemental Fran were not going to get any firm resolution before the final credits rolled, and you lost your only remaining motive for watching. It was a bit like being told a shaggy dog story only to have the teller smile enigmatically at the end and say he might deliver the punchline in eight months' time, provided the overnights turned out to be good enough.

Screen plays: The growth of the live-action spin-offs

If it's a hit on the telly, the chances are it will soon be coming to a theatre near you

Diary: P Diddy is acting the part

In "acting" news, Diddy, known to your parents as Puff Daddy, to you and me as P Diddy, and to his acting agent as Sean Combs, has appeared as a guest on US television's Inside The Actors' Studio. The show is an opportunity for actors to discuss their craft without fear of being asked any question more awkward than "What's your motivation?" Greats such as Pacino, De Niro and Jennifer Lopez come here to bask in the adoration of earnest, beard-wearing interviewer James Lipton before an audience of his acting students. The Actor's Studio is the New York drama school known as the home of method acting, and Diddy assured Lipton that he had improvised all of his scenes in the new comedy film Get Him to the Greek – which also stars his fellow renaissance man Russell Brand. "I've always been fascinated with the art of storytelling," Diddy told the rapt assembly of aspiring part-time waiters. The 40-year-old Combs' acting CV is somewhat thinner than his musical one, but does include two whole episodes of CSI: Miami.

Last Night's TV - Blitz Street, Channel 4; World War II Lost Films, History

Master blaster misses the target

Dylan Jones: 'David Nicholls' book is the sort of thing you can't put down

It is, as they say, something of a sleeper. In the past two weeks, six people I know have said they've just finished reading One Day by David Nicholls, a novel that has been on my bedside cabinet for the past three months, and which I have just finished myself. The premise is a simple but effective one: two students – the delightful Emma and the appalling Dexter – at Edinburgh University have a post-finals fling on 15 July 1988, and the book picks up their relationship every year for the following 20 years.

Robin Scott-Elliot: Carlisle and Bonnaire both winners in war of words

View From The Sofa: Six Nations/Premier League Football/Countdown, BBC/Sky/Channel 4

Sarah Sands: Pedestrians are safe, again. My husband's speed-aware

The middle classes would love to be best friends with the police, and are wounded that the small matter of driving offences comes so often between them. It is not a crime, surely, so much as a misunderstanding. Thus, drivers who are sharp as tacks in their professional lives suffer blackouts of memory over who was driving, and shake their heads in wonder over the photographic evidence.

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Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
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The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
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Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave 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
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Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
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Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
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