News Fireman Christian McClean comforts colleague Alex Badcock (right) after they both finished the last ever shift at Clerkenwell fire station in London.

There were emotional scenes as firestations across the capital closed their doors

Leading article: Are zoos justified?

One of the advantages of the science of animal behaviour, which was founded 60 years ago by Niko Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz, is that it has let us understand something of the essence of wild creatures: how they go about their normal lives in their natural state. It has also correspondingly enabled us to see, for the first time, that some behaviours exhibited by the animals we keep in captivity are not normal at all. Indeed, as we report today in the case of chimpanzees, they can be examples of considerable distress, or even incipient madness; and the cause seems to be captivity itself.

Crazy for You, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London

What better way to chase off the recession blues than with showgirls and cowboys? That's what Timothy Sheader's gloriously silly revival of Ken Ludwig's 1993 reinterpretation of Ira and George Gershwin's Girl Crazy tells us.

Anna Christie, Donmar Warehouse, London<br/>The Globe Mysteries, Shakespeare's Globe, London<br/>Crazy for You, Regent's Park Open Air, London

This rarely staged O'Neill drama may teeter on the hokey &ndash; but Jude Law is simply electrifying

Civil war breaks out at mosque over eviction of blinded imam

A civil war has broken out at Britain's most prestigious mosque over the treatment of an imam who was blinded in an attack and is now being evicted by the mosque's authorities.

Regent's Business School London

Age: 14

London rents notch up inflation-busting rise

Inflation may have been running high but rents across the capital have been running even higher, rising well ahead of inflation for at least the past 18 months, according to the estate agency Savills.

The Beggar's Opera, Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, London

With its bosky setting, there is no better venue in London for presenting a pastoral play than Regent's Park's Open Air Theatre. As such, it's also the ideal place for staging an anti-pastoral. The pointed and piquant counter-intuitiveness of such a project is proven by director Lucy Bailey and designer William Dudley's cunningly conceived and splendidly spirited production of John Gay's groundbreaking 1728 satire. Gay replaced the far-removed trappings of fashionable Italian opera with the criminals and prostitutes of contemporary London, swapping elaborately artificial arias for vernacular ballads set, ironically, to pre-existing airs.

Richard III, Old Vic, London<br/>Lullaby, Barbican Pit, London<br/>The Beggar's Opera, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London

Spacey swivels between hand-twirls and hollering in Mendes's 'stagey' production

Lord of the Flies, Open Air Theatre, Regent&rsquo;s Park, London

Reviewed by Michael Coveney

Family-friendly festivals

Taking your children along can make the festival experience even more rewarding, says David Taylor

Cyclo-therapy: 'The Chilterns run begins just after 7am at Finchley Road Tube. By 8.15am, we&rsquo;re bowling along the remote lanes'

I've been taking a keen interest in the debate over the high-speed rail link that would cut right through the Chilterns. Not because I live in the Chilterns, but because I go there to cycle, and so magical is the landscape that I can fully understand why the plans have caused such an outbreak of Nimbyism.

Dickens museum will get &#163;2m facelift

Charles Dickens' former home is to receive a £2m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Terence Blacker: Beware, you townies in the country

It is time for town-dwellers to be very brave. We are about to venture into the perilous unknown. There is a place, according to no less an authority than the director-general of the National Trust, which is "alien" and "full of unfamiliar, unexpected things". Today's generation, Dame Fiona Reynolds has warned, "runs the risk of being terrified by the countryside".

The arty party descends on London &ndash; with money and champagne in full flow

The Frieze Art Fair has barely started but the dealers, creatives and A-listers started schmoozing days ago

Art in Residence: Redeveloped park terrace hosts exhibit

Curators Victoria Golembiovskaya and Wolfe Von Lenkiewicz, in collaboration with the Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4's New Sensations, will host an art exhibition starting next Sunday showcasing famous works by artists such as Paul Cezanne and Pablo Picasso.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links