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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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam