Arts and Entertainment The 1863 Football Association Minute Book contains the 13 original laws of football

The handwritten book by Ebenezer Cobb Morley contains the 13 original laws of football

It was all in the head

As a child, Simon Hattenstone spent three years in a darkened room. No one believed he was ill.

To seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go...

MONDAYS ARE different, now. Mondays will never be the same again. That is because Melvyn Bragg will never start the week again. Never again will he lead some of the world's leading lecturers, writers and geneticists through a graceful Monday morning parley. Never again will we hear him receive a science education in front of our very ears. For so long did Melvyn Bragg start the week, that it seems impossible that he is not still doing it in some alternative time/space continuum...

Television mogul is youngest-ever life peer

TONY BLAIR creates Britain's youngest ever life peer today, among 18 new Labour members of the House of Lords.

As 2000 looms, the world awaits the end - and Melvyn Bragg's last judgment

DR VERNON HANDLEY is a philosopher. He is the Professor of Applied Philosophy at Milton Keynes University. He has a lovely wife, two lovely children and one other child not quite so lovely. He has a house and a big garden. You'd think he would be moderately happy, or at least philosophical.

Letter: Recognition that came too late

MELVYN Bragg's article about Rosalind Franklin, "The dark lady of DNA" (15 February), implies that Franklin did not share the Nobel Prize in 1962 because she was a woman. In fact, she died in 1958 and the prize is not awarded posthumously. Had she lived, there would still have been a problem, as four scientists were involved and the prize can be split only three ways.

Reviews: Make sure you...

Hear... some charitable talk. The Limegrove Appeal has set up some evenings of literary discussion, with proceeds going to raise money to build, equip and run a hostel and day-centre for homeless people. Tonight John Julius Norwich is in conversation with Ronald Harwood and Simon Callow. Nights to come are The Art of Biography with Melvyn Bragg, Claire Tomalin and Victoria Glendinning (6 May), and The Art of Writing Fiction with Ruth Rendell and PD James (10 June). At Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 0181-357 5353). Tickets pounds 15. Begins at 7.30pm.

Why an MP makes the perfect friend (almost)

"SHE JUST adores him," a close associate of Peter Ackroyd was quoted as saying this week of Edwina Currie. The eminent biographer and the slightly less eminent author of potboilers such as She's Leaving Home, had, it was said, struck up rather an unlikely friendship. (And a purely platonic one, it has to be added. As Mrs Currie herself is quick to point out, "He's as gay as a coot.")

Wednesday's book; On Giants' Shoulders by Melvyn Bragg with Ruth Gardiner (Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 12.99)

I have a special interest in this book: I was one of the people interviewed by Melvyn Bragg for the Radio 4 series (produced by Ruth Gardiner) on which it is based, and which starts today. The concept is brilliantly simple, and provokes a classic "why didn't I think of that" response. In a series of interviews with many leading scientists (including Jocelyn Bell Burnell, John Maynard Smith, Martin Rees and James Watson) and a few lesser mortals such as myself, Bragg explores the contribution made by great scientists, from Archimedes to Crick and Watson, to the development of our understanding of the world.

Letter: Scant evidence of a commitment to the arts

IN LAST WEEK'S Independent on Sunday it was reported that I had spoken out against the Labour Party's arts policy. This is not the case; as a quick phone call would have confirmed.

Music and radio on television

In a peak week for great Elgarians, Nigel Kennedy had first go on the South Bank Show (Sun, ITV). That he played Jimi Hendrix fantasies rather than Elgar this time was all to the good. By presenting himself with a creative dimension that classical virtuosi usually hide, he was able to show explicitly how he gets under the skin of the musicians he empathises with.

Everyone has a funny turn when they try to draw a Christmas tree

Today we bring you the second half of this year's Melvyn Bragg Christmas Science Lecture, an annual institution which aims to bring scientific awareness to the public by bringing out the scientific principles on which Christmas is based. Professor Gene Jones is this year's speaker.

Embrace the Christmas science cult and avoid unnecessary snowmen

This year's Melvyn Bragg Christmas Science Lecture is to be given by Professor Gene Jones at the Royal Broadcasting Institute next Wednesday. For those of you who cannot get to London or who aim to start their Christmas shopping that evening, I am pleased to be able to bring you the entire abridged text today and tomorrow.

Indoor: The truth about bridge junkies

The traditional image may be one of retired colonels and blue rinses, but Mike Higgins finds that the game is also attracting a new, younger following.

Education: passed/failed Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg, 58, is the editor and presenter of `Start the Week' on Radio 4 and `The South Bank Show' on ITV. His latest novel is `The Credo' and he has written biographies of Richard Burton and Lawrence Olivier. His film scripts include `Isadora' and `Jesus Christ Superstar'.

Radio: Melvyn clambers up the giant's arm

There's a nice little programme to be made about the role of the apple in the history of mankind. It stars in three most potent myths: the temptation of Eve, the heroic archery of William Tell and, of course, the stunning of Newton. This week, Melvyn Bragg went on a pilgrimage to Newton's Lincolnshire birthplace and inspected the gnarled and ancient tree from which that apple is said to have descended. He concluded that it probably did, but like Archimedes in his bath, Newton was primed to recognise significance where the rest of us would have simply rubbed our heads or scrubbed our backs.
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