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
Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Midsummer swimwear season is well and truly upon us – but diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel Shop See all offers »
India and Nepal
14 nights from £2,159pp Find out more
Dutch Masters
five nights from £679pp Find out more
La Robla and Rioja
nine nights from £1599pp Find out more
Classical Spain
six nights from £539pp Find out more
California and the Golden West
14 nights from £1,599pp Find out more
three nights from £259pp Find out more
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice