The Sketch: He'll save his master. The rest can go hang

The thing about Alastair Campbell wasn't the swearing and dismembering. The reason he was such a figure in the Government was his charm. He was attractive. People liked him and wanted to please him. He seduced political editors with his professional caresses. How he could make them purr and raise their tails invitingly!

Weather in brief: Festive freeze delights skaters on the Fens

Skaters have been flocking to the Fenlands of East Anglia after the cold snap provided a rare opportunity to enjoy the sport over the festive season. It is the first time in nearly 20 years that flooded fields around the Wash in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire have frozen over at Christmas – and only the fourth time in half a century.

Les Patineurs/Tales of Beatrix Potter, Royal Opera House, London

Frederick Ashton's gorgeous ballet Les Patineurs turns dancers into skaters. They slip-slide across the stage, spinning and gliding and sometimes falling over. Each soloist is vividly characterised: every step shows the different personalities, from the wobbly beginners to the soaring show-offs.

Les Patineurs / Tales of Beatrix Potter, Royal Opera House, London

A happy, sparkly Frederick Ashton double bill that, sadly, made one leave the theatre dreaming of mousetraps

Travel by numbers: Winter skating

Nice ice wherever you are... Melissa Hogenboom scores the surface

Party of the Week: Lily Cole breaks the ice at Somerset House

The actress and supermodel Lily Cole, wearing a white Chanel coat, whizzed around Somerset House's ice rink for its VIP opening party in London on Monday night.

Party Of The Week: A night of rock and roller disco

Little Boots and Kelly Osbourne hung out together along with Kimberly Stewart at the Nokia Skate Almighty VIP launch party.

Sport on TV: Olympic flame manages to melt the ice in Dragons' Den

The International Olympic Committee meet in Berlin this week to whittle down the number of contenders for new sports at the Games in 2016. Seven sports will make their presentations, pretty much in the style of Dragons' Den.

Could roller disco save clubbing?

A series of skating events, starting tonight, will be hosted by high-profile DJs, as music promoters experiment with new ways to make the crowds roll in. Emma Love reports

Great Sporting Moments: Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean win Olympic gold for ice dancing, Olympic Games, Sarajevo, 14 February 1984

It was hardly a mainstream sport. But for one magical Valentine's evening, ice dancing was the only thing that anyone in Britain cared about. Robin Scott-Elliot remembers Torvill and Dean's perfect dance in Sarajevo

Kate Skate finds her rightful place

Filly's humble Goodwood success weaves fresh strand in winning family saga

The Craftsman, By Richard Sennett

In the 18th century, Enlightenment thinkers praised the virtues of craft, which unifies the manual and the mental. In the first of a planned trilogy (subsequent volumes will explore ritual and the environment), Richard Sennett continues this dialogue. "Craft" is no antiquated concept, extinct along with the workshop of yore, but is instead thriving in modern settings; a concept found in activities as various as developing Linux software, mastering a violin, or parenting. But it is threatened in the contemporary workplace and Sennett argues passionately about why we should save this intrinsic part of our humanity – the ability to do a job well for its own sake.

Rollerblading 71-year-old from Belfast branded a danger

An Ulster pensioner found guilty of causing a danger to pedestrians by rollerblading in a busy town centre says he believes he did not harm anyone.

Games Review: Skate 2

PS3, Xbox 360, EA, £49.99

Why I Love: Ice-capades

Lynda La Plante, writer
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
Career Services

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
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed