Sport Radamel Falcao played for the Under-21s this week – and failed to impress Louis van Gaal

Radamel Falcao played for the Under-21s this week - and failed to impress Louis van Gaal

Tin Soldier, Royal Exchange Theatre Studio, Manchester

"Sometimes a song is better than a tear; sometimes a song can rescue us from fear," which is certainly the case with the catchy score in this vivid production of Noël Greig's dark but gripping take on the tale of the steadfast Tin Soldier. The story of the one-legged misfit, moulded – along with 25 apparently perfect tin soldiers – from an old metal spoon, was originally an 1838 tale by Hans Christian Andersen.

Video: 2010 News Review part 1

Video: 2010 News Review part 2

Tommy Sheridan brother-in-law rejects sex club claim

A former friend of Tommy Sheridan and his brother-in-law was part of a "conspiracy" to make false allegations about a visit to a sex club in Manchester, a court heard today.

Independent Drama podcast: Rock

It’s 25 years since the world lost Rock Hudson to Aids. Hudson was a screen idol in 50s LA, but his career was perpetually under threat from Confidential Magazine.

Census records of 275,000 people released for the first time

Census records detailing the lives of around 275,000 people which were rendered illegible in floods more than 100 years ago have been transcribed and published online for the first time.

Happy Mondays' Bez fined for order breach

Former Happy Mondays star Bez has been fined £140 after he admitted breaching a restraining order preventing him contacting his ex-girlfriend.

The Bacchae, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

There are some powerful moments in Braham Murray's penetrating, stripped-down version of Euripides' play.

Knife raiders knock baby from mother's arms

A four-month-old baby was knocked out of her mother's arms to the floor during a knifepoint robbery at their home, police said today.

£80,000 police blimp plan falls flat

Police bosses were feeling deflated today after an £80,000 surveillance balloon was scrapped after just a year.

Gardai bid to trace family of Englishman

Gardai launched a public appeal today to find the family of an Englishman found dead in greater Dublin.

Bez sought by police over allegedly breaching restraining order

Former Happy Mondays star Bez was being sought by police today over allegations he breached a restraining order by contacting his ex-girlfriend.

Plot existed in Tommy Sheridan's mind, court told

A plot to "bring down" former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan "existed mostly in his mind", a court heard today.

Minor British Institutions: The Oddfellows

The people who call themselves oddfellows are members of various friendly societies, but not all friendly societies call themselves oddfellows.

Hallé/Elder/Kirchschlager, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

After its exceptional contribution to Manchester's celebration of Mahler last season, the Hallé – opening the season with more music by the same composer – appeared to have some unfinished business. But when the pieces in question were so fascinating and their interpretation so compelling, by players who now clearly have the rhythms and subtleties of Mahler's music in their blood, it felt quite logical.

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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own