Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

John Humphrys

The Week in Radio: Firecrackers, fur coats and some good news at last

"Are you looking for a job?" James Naughtie asked Dame Ann Leslie on Radio 4's Today, a note of panic in his voice. Now there's an idea. As one of the programme's guest editors, Leslie, the veteran foreign correspondent who famously went to war in a fur coat, arrived like a blast of cold air in a sticky sauna. You can imagine plenty of previous guests proffering feature ideas cobbled together by their agents, but not Leslie. She was first in the office, her sleeves rolled up and ready to kick some serious butt.

Diary: Why Plod will monitor the pews at tabloid star's funeral

It will be interesting to study the crowd when Sue Carroll, the chain-smoking, hard-living tabloid journalist who died from cancer on Christmas Day, is buried today in Richmond. A shop assistant's daughter from Newcastle Upon Tyne, she worked at the Sun, the News of the World, and latterly at the Daily Mirror, so her funeral will inevitably draw a galaxy of famous names from the tabloid press, past and present.

Diary: One more resignation to go, Gary

This column's sympathy goes out to the many unfortunate journalists losing their jobs at the News of the World – but particularly Gary Lineker. For while many hacks are justifiably upset by events, Lineker will be deprived not only of his column, but also of the chance to submit another principled letter of resignation. The ex-footballer relinquished his role with the Mail on Sunday when its Lord Triesman sting put England's 2018 World Cup bid in jeopardy. "The actions of the Mail on Sunday... have undermined the bid to bring the World Cup to England," he said at the time. And he was said to have been considering his role at NotW before yesterday's announcement, fearing that his reputation might be tarnished by association with the paper. (I am, of course, still awaiting Lineker's principled resignation from his estimated £1.5m-a-year job at Match of the Day, after the BBC broadcast Panorama's FIFA investigation in November: a programme widely credited with, er, undermining the bid to bring the World Cup to England. Ho hum.)

The Week in Radio: The charge of the light (music) brigade

It's hard to think of Radio 3 having a sense of mischief, or even a sense of humour, but how else to explain the Light Fantastic season, which coincided with Glastonbury? It's as though someone said the Glastonbury coverage will be absurdly over the top as usual, so let's come up with something more way out, eclectic and frankly against the grain. Something that people would never listen to while eating organic beansprouts in a quagmire. And they managed it. It's certainly hard to think of 100,000 people wallowing in mud and competing for latrines to hear Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

Diary: Joly poor show, Batman

If you can't win an Oscar then gracing the cover of your school's magazine is surely the next best thing. Such is the source of an unlikely spat between Dom Joly and Christopher Nolan, whose new movie, Inception, comes out next week. At a panel debate with some fellow comics to launch the Sky Movies Comic Book season, Joly made an impassioned case for Nolan's Batman Begins as the best of all Batman movies. Just one caveat: he and Nolan both attended the prestigious Haileybury School in Hertfordshire. To Joly's chagrin, Nolan has replaced him as the school mag's favourite alumnus. "I'm gutted," he said. "I used to be the most famous from the school; they were always putting me on the front of the magazine. Not anymore." Joly's claims seem almost plausible until one consults Wikipedia: other Old Haileyburians include Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the incumbent minister of state responsible for policing and criminal justice, Nick Herbert.

More headlines

The Diary: Ian McEwan; Home from War; The Harder They Come; John

The Booker Prize-winning novelist and sometime screenwriter, Ian McEwan, tells me he spent six months meticulously researching and writing a sequel to David Cronenberg film, 'The Fly', in 1995, which he considered his "best screenplay". 'Flies', (not to be mistaken with 1989's 'The Fly II') was to star Geena Davis, who featured opposite Jeff Goldblum in 'The Fly', and who owned the "fly concept" along with 20th Century Fox. McEwan says: "Our movie was going to begin with Geena Davis giving birth to twin boys, and it was written in a realistic mode. She fears her children will be deformed but she gives birth to two perfectly healthy babies. As they become teenagers, they become stranger and stranger, as teenagers do, and quite hyperactive. She has always worried that they inherited the (fly) gene. They become more manic, and one first becomes more fly like, then the other follows....It was my best screenplay... I really wanted this to have no foundation in anything other than genetics." There was a disagreement, leading the project to halt, he added. "I would like to see it made," he said.

Don't let Pope present Thought for the Day, say secularists

Secular groups have reacted angrily to news that the director-general of the BBC, Mark Thompson, is lobbying the Vatican in an effort to persuade the Pope to deliver the Thought for the Day religious slot on Radio 4's Today programme. The corporation hopes that a broadcast can be recorded to coincide with the Papal visit to Britain, which is set to take place in September.