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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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File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game