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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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee