Tuesday Book: The indiscreet charm of the bureaucracy

The Power Behind the Prime Minister: the hidden influence of number ten by Dennis Kavanagh and Anthony Sheldon (HarperCollins, pounds 19.99)

THE INFORMATION ON: 'Waiting for Godot'

What Is It?

Theatre: We're on the road to nowhere

WAITING FOR GODOT THE ROYAL EXCHANGE MANCHESTER

How we waited for Godot

`I haven't the faintest idea what this play means." So said Peter Hall as he started rehearsals for the British premiere of Waiting for Godot in 1955. The "meaning" and implications of Samuel Beckett's revolutionary play, recently voted the most significant of the century, have inspired millions of words from academics.

I don't believe it!

Tony Hancock would have been 75 today. Lauded as our greatest modern comedian, he stood for the hopes, expectations and pretensions of another era. But stone me, he would have been horrified by the pessimism of contemporary comic creations such as Victor Meldrew. So does he have any relevance in 1999?

Obituary: Sir Brinsley Ford

BEFORE TRANSFERRING to the Intelligence Corps during the Second World War, Brinsley Ford saw a short period of service in the unlikely guise of Troop Sergeant-Major in an artillery unit. An event he liked to recall from that time was of the puzzling reprimand he received one day from an inspecting colonel - for displaying a nude pin-up. The object of the colonel's disapproval, it turned out, was a photograph Ford had hung over his bunk of Giambologna's Venus Standing on a Dolphin, a particular favourite among a group of works by Giambologna contained in Ford's remarkable family collection.

Theatre reviews: Toast

Toast

Leading Article: A nasty taste

THE ALLEGATIONS that Jack Cunningham has been living it up at the expense of the taxpayer may have been "rebutted" by the Cabinet Office on his behalf, but they still leave a nasty taste in the mouth. No one begrudges Jack a glass or two of whisky after a hard day in Brussels. But the wider perception is that this administration relishes the fruits of office just a little too much and that its members enjoy a lifestyle that, to use a new Labour slogan, is hardly in touch with "the many, not the few".

More than one foot in the grave

Sitcoms: Birds of a Feather BBC1 Men Behaving Badly BBC1 Ted and Ralph BBC2

No fir trees, this is the Tate

SOME DO-IT-YOURSELF shelving appears to have been left by workmen in the entrance hall of the Tate Gallery. But in fact this is Christmas - contemporary-art style.

Theatre: The future is red, white and blue

CHOICE

Davies details given to Blair

TONY BLAIR was given full details of the police file on Ron Davies the day the former Welsh Secretary resigned after an incident on Clapham Common.

Blair knew background to Davies encounter

DOWNING STREET'S strategy for dealing with the Ron Davies affair was unravelling last night after it emerged that Tony Blair knew some of the background surrounding the scandal before he accepted the resignation of the Secretary of State for Wales last week.

Inward investment targets slashed

THE DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry has scaled back massively its projections of how many inward investment projects Britain will attract following the economic downturn in Asia and elsewhere, writes Michael Harrison.
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
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Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
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Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
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Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
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UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

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The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

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A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
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Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

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Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star