Voices

I wager women think about sex just as much as men

Film: Back from the dead (again)

The Exorcist really is the scariest film ever made. Isn't it?

Cold Call: Sally Chatterton rings Martyn Lewis

THE GOOD news is that Martyn Lewis, the caring woman's anchorman, is not leaving his six o'clock slot. Reluctant to progress from a gentle chat about the news to questions about his P45 and a certain holiday programme presenter, I tested the water by asking him what he thought about Channel 5's "innovative" format and new-look presenter.

The secret passion of the chattering classes: a pub quiz

Showing off for charity is all the rage.

Stars rally round pioneering school for dyslexic children

Liz Gifford and Matt Rodda report on the race to find funds for youngsters who are failed by the state system

The Martha Gellhorn Award

TO COMMEMORATE the life and work of Martha Gellhorn, the Independent and the Independent on Sunday are launching an award for the best young war reporter of the year.

Television: 'Daddy ... what's an alcove?'

I HAD NEVER understood how tedious it must be to be a newsreader until I caught Jon Snow on Channel 4 News, Midnight Special: Clinton in Crisis (Tues). Here he was, suddenly liberated from the constraints of newstalk and freed from the technical language of negotiations, talks and White Papers. "Hello, and welcome to Washington. Welcome to the White House. And welcome to serious trouble - Clinton in crisis," he beamed at the camera. And welcome, he might have added, to more than an hour of salacious tittle-tattle, speculation and analysis in which we talk about fellatio, phone sex, semen stains, wiretaps, conspiracies and other such dainties, all perfectly justifiable by the gravity of the crisis. It was the night of the President's State of the Union address, and this programme had, as Snow pointed out, displaced I Married a Monster From Outer Space.

HOW WE MET: JON SNOW AND LORD LONGFORD

Jon Snow, 50, journalist and anchor of Channel 4's Seven O'Clock News, started his career as director of London's New Horizon Youth Centre, which was established by Lord Longford to combat homelessness. He was brought up in Sussex and Yorkshire, where his father was Bishop of Whitby in the Sixties, and now lives in London with his partner Madeline and their two children. Frank Pakenham, Lord Longford, defected from the Conservatives to the Labour Party in 1936 to become a prominent politician. He and his wife of 66 years are both devout Catholics; they have seven children (a further daughter died in a car accident in 1969). At 92, he still attends the House of Lords every day, and is a regular speaker there

Media: Rob Brown

If the chief executive of Channel 4 is serious about finding radical alternatives to ITN, he should produce his flagship evening bulletin outside London. Nothing could be more radical than ending the metropolitan stranglehold on broadcast news in Britain.

Kirsty or Kirsty, you can choose

The new definition of news

Media: Channel 4 savours the viewers' feeling for Snow

Channel 4 plans to revolutionise in its newsroom, but wants to hold on to what research identifies as its main asset - Jon Snow. Paul McCann, Media Correspondent, asks why Britain's most upmarket newsreader is so crucial to the channel.

Channel 4 news revamp

ITN's grip on Britain's commercial news broadcasts was under threat yesterday when Channel 4 started a total re-vamp of its 7pm evening news by asking independent production companies to suggest new ideas for the programme's format.

Television review: This happy land of boring speeches

The publicity - sorry, the controversy - that heralded Jimmy McGovern's latest drama focused on the concern that The Lakes (BBC1, Sun) would paint its setting as a Gomorrah of small-mindedness and open-air sex. And so it does. Less enticingly, though, it paints a region where people make speeches all the time. Danny, the unheroic young hero, has to listen to two separate disquisitions on the failings of the Scouse race. Later, an otherwise taciturn grandad jumps out of character and becomes a poet: "Age grants you licence, a licence to indulge ..." Later still, Danny's estranged teenage bride, Emma, recites a plot synopsis when she reminds him how he's viewed by her parents: "You were a scally from Liverpool, you got their daughter pregnant, you took her away to Liverpool, you were too bone idle to get a job, when you did get a job you gambled all your wages away, you went thieving, got thrown in jail, and she came back home. The end of a sorry chapter in their daughter's life. But it's not the end, you turned up again and drowned their niece." Phew.

Blair's Hundred Days by Derek Draper, Faber pounds 7.99.

First serialised in the press at the end of the hundred days, but now appearing in book form, this reportage-diary is, of course, in danger of going further and further out of date even as you read it: hindsight is an endlessly powerful force in politics, as elsewhere. But as a swift- response, insider's-eye view it has an enjoyable freshness. Since it describes Blair's as "the most media-managed government in history" it is probably appropriate that the text is journalistic and immediate, but it's a shame when it degenerates into trash-rag cliches. From the first we find passages like this: "parties across the capital are in full flow. Helena Kennedy, the top barrister destined for the House of Lords, plays hostess to the luvvie and literati brigade, entertaining the likes of Salman Rushdie, who watch the results on a huge ITN jumbo screen, provided courtesy of Jon Snow, the cerebral and left-of-centre presenter of Channel 4 News..."

Election `97: One last spin precedes a new Messiah

Now that history had ended, and there was no left, the issues were integrity and management: the politics of normalcy

Magnificent Father mine, that pony does not come

Sons & Mothers edited by Matthew and Victoria Glendinning, Virago, pounds 16.99 Fathers: An Anthology edited by Louise Guinness, Chatto, pounds 16 .99
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
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a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
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The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
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Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
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Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
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The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas