Life and Style

Track can now be viewed like any road

Stig's helmet up for auction

One of the distinctive white racing helmets worn by The Stig on BBC's Top Gear could fetch up to £1,200 when it is sold at auction today.

Big trouble at BBC2? The controller is calm under fire

It can't be easy for Janice Hadlow just now. She is the woman who made television stars of Simon Schama and David Starkey. She is ready to enthuse about plans to broadcast underwater images of a submerged Mycenaean city, to make a landmark series on the classical world, and to reveal the home-decorating secrets of the Victorians.

Stig's BBC career heading for an emergency stop

The brakes have been slammed on racing driver Ben Collins's career as Top Gear's The Stig following his High Court battle with the BBC, sources said today.

Bernie Andrews

Further to your obituary of Bernie Andrews (30 August), we do in fact have Bernie to thank for the existence of the BBC Session in the first place, writes Russell Clarke. A fixture of Radio One for over 40 years and a crucial building block in any artist's career, the BBC Session was invented by a resourceful Andrews in 1963 as a clever way of circumventing the Musicians Union rules – the so-called Needle Time agreement – limiting the amount of pre-recorded music available to the BBC Light Programme (the forerunner of Radios One and Two) to a mere 35 hours a week.

Bernie Andrews: Radio producer who worked on Saturday Club, Top Gear and with Annie Nightingale

In the late 1980s, after record companies had reissued many of their best-sellers on compact disc, they began contemplating the release of the BBC sessions recorded by major acts such as the Beatles, the Who, David Bowie, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Fairport Convention and Led Zeppelin.

So he's really the Stig? Big deal

A battle is raging over the identity of Top Gear's test driver. Even Sean O'Grady, a confirmed petrolhead, is bemused

First Night: Men's Hour, BBC Radio 5

'Men's Hour': the view of one man ... and one woman

Kia to supply Top Gear with Reasonably Priced cee'd

Kia has made it on to Top Gear. The Korean company has provided three examples of its Golf-sized cee'd to the BBC 2 show, where it has replaced the Chevrolet Lacetti as the "Reasonably Priced Car" in which star interviewees attempt to set a fast lap time on the TG track.

Diary: Too many miles on the clock

On Sunday, BBC2 aired the Top Gear Botswana special for the 15th time. Unwittingly, I found myself watching it again. If you haven't seen it (which would involve you not owning a television) it's the one where James May does not get eaten by lions, despite Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson, secreting raw meat inside his Mercedes as they drive across the southern African nation. Hammond also does not drown in the Okavango when his Opel Kadett sinks. And Clarkson crashes his Lancia, but not fatally. According to the BBC website, this single episode of Top Gear has been repeated, on average, once every 2.2 months since its original broadcast in November 2007 (and that's not even counting the myriad times it's been re-run on Dave and Dave Ja Vu). Statistically speaking, you are almost as likely to find the Top Gear Botswana special when you turn on the television as you are the news. For my licence fee, I'd expect something a little more original during prime-time.

Tom Sutcliffe: Happiness – who needs it?

'There's a lot of grimness out there," said the TV producer Daisy Goodwin earlier this week, complaining about the literary miserablism she'd encountered as the chair of this year's Orange Prize for Fiction jury. "There are a lot of books that start with a rape. Pleasure does seem to have become a rather neglected element in publishing." By her account it had been a somewhat gloomy business doing the reading for the long list, finishing off one dispiriting account of human tragedy only to pick up another, un-mediated by jollity or lightness of tone. And though one sympathises with the chore, or the desire for a bit of variety, her grumble couldn't help but sound a slightly naïve and unliterary note – given how important "grimness" is in the canon. Bang goes Hamlet and Macbeth. Bang goes Crime and Punishment. Bang goes most of Thomas Hardy and all of Kafka. Gloomy, gloomy, gloomy guys! Can't you just cheer up and give us a joke every now and then to make the time pass a little quicker?

New M&S boss to get golden hello worth £3.9m

Marks & Spencer's new boss Marc Bolland will start in May on a near-£1 million salary and a "golden hello" worth £3.9 million in shares, the retailer announced today.

Ready to Wear: People with light brown hair don’t actually look too bad in dark brown

You know that the January blues have well and truly established themselves when you find yourself, first thing on a Monday morning and with approximately 14 deadlines looming, watching re-runs of TV shows that you didn't much like in the first place.

MoD defends time spent on Top Gear stunts

Whether it is trying to blast a Lotus sports car off the road with an Apache helicopter, or using an RAF Typhoon to race the world’s fastest road car, no series of Top Gear would be complete without some sort of high-octane cameo from our armed forces.

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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

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Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

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Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

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Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

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Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

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King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

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Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

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Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

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60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

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Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones