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


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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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
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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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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