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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