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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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...