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.

News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
Life and Style
Fraud contributes 11p to a £2.00 box of half a dozen eggs
Environment
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environment
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Bruges
Lake Como
Burgundy
South AFrica
Paris
Northern Corsica
Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital