Eric Simms: Ornithologist who presented 'The Countryside Programme' on the BBC for nearly 40 years

Eric Simms was for nearly 40 years a familiar voice as the presenter of BBC radio's The Countryside Programme. He produced or presented more than 7,000 radio programmes and made about 700 appearances on television. Simms was above all a devoted field ornithologist and a noted amateur authority on bird migration. He championed the familiar birds of town and street, especially the blackbird (whose song he chose for his appearance on Desert Island Discs), and was also an apologist for that much reviled bird, the street pigeon, whose canniness and adaptability he much admired.

Professor Michael Majerus: Geneticist who defended Darwin in the battle against creationism

Michael Majerus was a gifted Cambridge scientist and teacher, and a doughty defender of Darwin and his theory of natural selection. Hissubjects were moths and ladybirds, which he saw as perfect tools fordigging into evolutionary questions, but he also loved them for their own sake. He was that increasingly rare phenomenon, a scientist who was also a field naturalist (he was running a moth trap in his garden from the age of 10). Perhaps it was this instinctive "feeling for the organism", allied to his natural vitality and infectious enthusiasm for insects, that made Majerus such a popular teacher, and one in demand by the media.

Teenagers: A Natural History, By David Bainbridge

Should you have a difficult teenager in your life, this book might just help everyone co-exist. Friendly and light-hearted, it attempts to explain why those years are so challenging. David Bainbridge is convinced that the teenage years are something to celebrate. Were it not for teenagers, we oldies wouldn't even be around to complain: "human longevity has evolved because we need to bring up our intensively supported, slowly developing offspring". So adolescence is not "an irritating transitional phase, but... the fulcrum about which the rest of our life turns".

Last Night's TV: No one lifts the spirits like Attenborough, and nothing lowers them like children left alone to reveal the horridness of our species

Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life, BBC1<br/>Boys and Girls Alone, Channel 4<br/>La Boh&egrave;me Backstage, Sky Arts

Words & Pictures, By Jenny Uglow

Sun and shade in a sketch of British art

Last Night's TV: Life and Death on the NHS, ITV1<br />Born to Be Wild, BBC4<br />Lab Rats, BBC2

Though I keep grumbling about television being rubbish these days, the truth is that just lately things have been improving. The tide of awfulness seems to be on the ebb. Take Life and Death on the NHS, a thoughtful, sober, gimmick-free medical documentary that wouldn't have looked out of place on BBC2, even BBC4, occupying a prime slot on ITV1. How did that happen?

Amazing Rare Things: Attenborough on the original naturalists

David Attenborough pays homage to the original naturalists in his latest show. They had some wild ideas, says Sophie Morris

No extinctions at the BBC when it comes to broadcasting natural history

Job cuts don't mean the BBC is abandoning its commitment to great natural history programming, insists the man in charge Keith Scholey

Gavin Bridson: Bibliographer and librarian

As the son of a book-collector and grandson of an antiquarian bookseller, Gavin Bridson had bibliophily in his blood. His bibliographical output in graphic art printing and natural history illustration was prodigious. A Guide to Nineteenth Century Colour Printers (1975), jointly with Geoffrey Wakeman, was followed by Printmaking & Picture Printing: a bibliographical guide to artistic and industrial techniques in Britain, 1750-1900 (1984). After Wakeman's death in 1987, Bridson continued alone. His last letter announced the impending completion of his "Historical Directory of Graphic Arts Printers in the British Isles, 1750-1900" – if over-large for paper publication, then to be available online.

Last Night's TV: Night of the iguana was unforgettable

Life in Cold Blood, BBC1; Nation on Film &ndash; Munich Remembered, BBC4

Backpackers ditch adventure for tried and tested holidays

Britain's backpackers are playing it safe in their quest for adventure by swapping off-the-beaten-track destinations for tried and tested favourites.

Gloucester 36 London Irish 34: Forrester's extra dimension defeats Irish at the end of magical marathon

The European Challenge Cup may be unwieldy, unsponsored and deeply unloved by those clubs who fail to make the final, but by heaven, it has its moments. Yesterday's contest between two of the Guinness Premiership's more adventurous teams lasted two hours, every minute of it played in strength-sapping wind and rain, yet in the closing stages of extra time, James Forrester produced something so special - so wildly above and beyond anything his colleagues had a right to expect, or his opponents had reason to fear - that it was worthy of the winning of any tournament in world rugby.

Country Life: The responsibilities of snake-keeping

In many ways we count ourselves lucky to have a wildlife consultant as a neighbour.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
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Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor