News The new series of 'The Voice' got underway last weekend

ITV makes complaint in its submission into the Culture Committee's inquiry into the future of the BBC

Cannabis Campaign: Why the law is an ass

Elizabeth Ivol had to use two walking sticks to climb the stairs to the Kirkwall Sheriff Court in Orkney last week. The 50-year-old MS sufferer was there to face two charges: growing 27 cannabis plants and possessing an illegal drug. Looking frail and solemn, she stood in the dock as Sheriff Colin Scott Mackenzie told her she could face six months in jail, a pounds 5,000 fine, or both.

Coastguards aid crew of second stricken ship

Coastguard rescuers were standing by to airlift the crew of a 1000-tonne bulk carrier last night - only 24 hours after a helicopter winchman was lost at sea. The Minoan Bay was in difficulties in the storm- lashed waters off Scotland's northern coast. A tug was trying to fix a line to the Maltese-registered vessel in the Pentland Firth, off Orkney.

Golden age

welcomes mature bottlings of classic malts

Labour war on Scottish sleaze

Labour plans to introduce a "new breed" of politician for the devolved Scottish parliament in a bid to stamp out sleaze north of the border.

Scots poised for Home Rule

Some 3.9 million voters are poised to usher in a new era

Blair stirs up Home Rule vote

Tony Blair yesterday tried to work his personal magic on a jittery campaign for Scottish home rule, telling voters they had "nothing to be frightened of, except fear itself".

Obituary: Drummond Matthews

In 1955-57 I shared a small lab with Drummond Matthews at the FIDS base on Signy Island in the South Orkneys, writes W. L. N. Tickell.

Scotch on the rocks

If you want to get away from it all, you can disappear in the mist on the craggy Orkney Islands. But when the sun comes out, there are few more intriguing places. Janet Waltham goes exploring

Lost youth, lost voices

As a TV documentary re-examines the `ritual abuse' cases of the late 1980s, Jack O'Sullivan wonders if media coverage let children down

Tailor-made for the Orkneys

James Fergusson applauds the lantern-jawed Homer of the North; For the Islands I sing: an autobiography by George Mackay Brown, John Murray, pounds 16

Police officer to be charged with hindering Orkney murder investigation

An Orkney policeman is due to appear in court this week charged with hindering investigations into the murder of Mr Mahmood.

Election '97: Around the regions: Personality key to Isles' clash

While election battles over sleaze and policy changes rage in the rest of Britain, or at least that part of it represented in the national media, Shetland has been mercifully free of indignant Tory wives and headless chickens. In this, as in so many other things, it is not like the rest of the country.

A calendar of the Arts in 1997

James Aufenast selects the most promising events of the year ahead. Mark them in your diaries, or miss out

Lives well lived

To be remembered fondly is a kind of immortality. In these pages, British men and women who died in 1996 live on in the recollections of their friends and admirers. John le Carre on Beryl Reid, Sting on Vivian Ellis, Bella Freud on Ossie Clark - by their friends shall ye know them

CLASSICAL MUSIC Maxwell Davies premiere Queens Hall

The trees behind the Queens Hall in Edinburgh have turned yellow and brown, reminding you of those composers, such as Brahms and Bartok, who passed into a mellow, autumnal phase in their late creative years. And especially of Bartok, since the new Strathclyde Concerto by Peter Maxwell Davies is a concerto for orchestra, full of reminiscences of the Hungarian's essay in the same genre.
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
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James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick