News Briony McRoberts as Sam Hagen in 'Take the High Road'

The actress Briony McRoberts spent two decades taking character roles on television before making her biggest impact as the super-bitch Sam Hagen in Take the High Road, the Scottish soap opera screened nationally by ITV.

IN BRIEF: Surprise move in mother's murder trial

Surprise move in mother's murder trial

Crappie idea that caught on

fishing lines

Face to face with a rat on the run

COUNTRY MATTERS

Now you see it, now you don't

Somewhere in the deep, dark depths of Loch Ness, there lurks a creature. Of that we can be almost certain. But whether it looks remotely like the humped beast etched on the mind of every impressionable coach party that passes through the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre is another matter entirely.

Bin Nashwan for Brittain

It is nothing short of heresy, but an inspection of the runners in today's Free Handicap at Newmarket makes you ponder whether it might not be better all round if Celtic Swing does not quite live up to expectations.

Baby in lake

Baby in lake

Classical Music : It's goodbye from him: Tippett goes plop

SEVERAL years ago the South Bank ran a festival devoted to "late works" which raised the interesting question of what, if anything, identified a late work - other than its nearness to the author's death. A sharper sense of focus? Heightened wisdom? Sometimes it seems so - and then composers like Michael Tippett fool everyone by living so long that their late works turn out not to be late after all. It follows that you have to be careful what you read into Tippett's The Rose Lake, which has just had its world premire from the LSO and Colin Davis at the Barbican. But it is almost certainly his last work, the final statement in a long and sometimes great creative life. And you'd be hard pushed not to hear in it a note of valediction.

Missing angler feared dead

The body of an angler was recovered from Loch Lomond last night but his companion was still missing, feared drowned.

Letter:Paras' penalty makes sense

From Mr Roger Lake, JP Sir: In the understandable furore over the sentences on the four thugs in the Parachute Regiment, has too little attention been paid to the Compensation Orders? Compensation is now regarded as a penalty in its own right, and takes precedence over fines and costs. Since the criminals are to remain in employment, the victim will actually get the £13,000 compensation ordered. Had they been imprisoned, how much would he have received from the Government through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board? Much less, I think.

When the trees drown

rain Kirsty Gunn Faber & Faber £5.99

The Divine baby grows up: Ricki Lake, the jumbo teen star of Hairspray, has slimmed down and lucked out with her own hit chat show, writes Bonnie Vaughan

'A RRIGHT, cool] Yeah]' Ricki Lake is standing in front of her studio audience clutching her microphone, and today - like every day - she is grinning from ear to ear. The topic of her eponymously titled talk show is 'I'm About To Tell My Best Friend . . . Surprise] I'm In Love With You]' Sweet, homely Tara is sitting onstage beside her best friend, Chucker, a cute surfer who thinks he's been invited to the show to discuss the joys of platonic friendships between men and women.

Flat Earth: Nessie come home

A BIG breakthrough for the Research Association for Queer Animals. Now, don't be like that - it's a perfectly reputable organisation set up by Chinese scientists to investigate reports of a Loch Ness-type creature said to live in Lake Tianchi, the Heavenly Lake, in northern China. They say the monster has been spotted 'moving as fast as a walking man and churning up large waves'.

Todays, Number: 113

The trout caught by the England team in the international fly-fishing competition on the Lake of Menteith, Scotland. England's winning total weighed 123lb 8oz. Scotland were second with 108 fish.

Motor racing: Mansell pushed off provisional pole

Nigel Mansell bettered the previous track record in the first qualifying session for today's Road America 200 at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. However, he was still beaten into provisional pole position by Al Unser Jnr. Unser Jnr produced a top lap speed of 134.948mph while Mansell recorded 134.630mph.

Letter: When public pressure distorts the law

Sir: Roger Lake's response (letter, 27 July) to my letter on abolishing the Home Secretary's right to overrule sentences in criminal matters (25 July) misunderstands my point. It is perfectly true, and proper, that in a democracy the law, including sentences in criminal matters, reflects popular sentiment. The point is that it should do so uniformly and without discrimination. The problem arises when public feelings can determine the result in any particular case, so that the fundamental principle of equality before the law is imperilled, as is plainly the case under the present arrangements.
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us