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
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The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
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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
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Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

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Jokes on Hollywood

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