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Since the Second World War, when the BBC provided news and comfort for a nation in great peril, it has played a central role in British life and culture. That is why any proposals for radical change at the Corporation, or any sign that its standards might be slipping, deeply disturb its loyal admirers.

Email trail: What the BBC bosses really knew

On 29 May 2010, Nick Vaughan-Barratt sent an email to George Entwistle (then the BBC’s Controller of Knowledge Commissioning):

Russell Lynch: Auction of 4G mobile spectrum is a wish come true for the Chancellor

Consumers are demanding super-fast broadband on their jazzy new smartphones and tablets
David Cameron said: 'I'm a massive supporter of marriage and I don't want gay people to be excluded from a great institution'

Can Cameron live down his "Wor Jackie" moment?

Our diarist says the Prime Minister's pop culture references don't always stack up

The BBC chairman Chris Patten (left) has been commenting after last night's resignation of the BBC Director General George Entwistle (right)

Entwistle's pay-off is a boiling point for the BBC

But there are bigger things at stake than the £450,000 he took home

For all their faults, Newsnight and Jeremy Paxman are too good for the BBC to sacrifice because of the scandals over Jimmy Savile and Lord MacAlpine

Don't sacrifice decades of journalistic quality because of two very different mistakes

BBC's freelance stars' estimated earnings

The Deloitte review found the BBC pays £150,000 or more a year to 124 stars using public service companies.

BBC forces stars to give up freelance deals due to tax-dodge perception

Corporation to register 131 on-air presenters as staff in change to pay policy after review

Hidden scandal: Jimmy Savile, when he was made OBE in 1972

'Savile assaulted me in his room at Stoke Mandeville'

Further allegations of sexual assault were made against Jimmy Savile last night, as yet more women came forward to say that they had been attacked by the former television star.

If Jeremy Paxman has decided to stop wearing ties to work, that must mean they're back in fashion

It used to be simple. Men wore ties in almost every professional and formal setting

John Walsh: Sins you get away with – and those you don't

My friend Mary Killen, who writes the "Dear Mary" etiquette column for The Spectator, received a real chin-stroker in the post this week. "Now that Conrad Black is out of prison," writes her correspondent, "is it acceptable for me to invite him to lunch at my club?"

Work for your pension? That’s a bit rich, my Lord

Our diarist notes the curious perspective of a senior Whitehall mandarin, has an update on the outspoken Nadine Dorries, and offers a reminder of Conrad Black's taste

BBC to crack down on tax-avoiding stars after accusation of being 'complicit' in tax avoidance

The BBC currently allows some workers to be paid as if they were companies rather than individual staff

Archie Bland: MPs take too much pleasure in pillorying wrongdoers

FreeView from the editors at i

Top earners cost BBC £16m

The BBC paid more than £16 million to top talent in 2011/12, according to its accounts.

Jeremy Paxman has spent years terrifying guests, but was bested twice last week

Have they found the answer to Paxman?

After years of terrifying guests, the grand inquisitor was bested twice last week. Brian Brady asks if there's a knack all can learn

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Myleene Klass
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Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
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Ashton Kutcher speaking at Human Rights Watch's Voices For Justice dinner in November 2013
people'What is so wrong about digging up dirt on shady journalist?'
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Jane Merrick rides on a Micro Scooter through St James's Park, on November 18, 2014 in London, United Kingdom.
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American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
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Babysitter Katie and Paul have terse words in the park
tvReview: The strength of the writing keeps viewers glued to their seats even when they are confronted with the hard-hitting scenes
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Make-up artists prepare contestants for last year’s Miss World, held in Budapest
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‘The Graduate’, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, was directed by Nichols in his purple period
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US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

What are Jaden and Willow on about?

Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

Cold war

How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager