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At 8.30am on 13 July, the colliery bands of Durham began their march towards the city's market place. The miners' banners went with them, signposts to the past, a visible display of pride in the region's history. From there followed a slow march towards the County Hotel on Old Elvet. The bands played, the march went on to the racecourse, and the banners were strapped to the surrounding fences.

Last Night's TV: The Untold Invasion of Britain, Channel 4<br />Big Meets Bigger, BBC3<btr />Gareth Malone Goes to Glyndebourne, BBC2

The Untold Invasion of Britain is a terrific idea. In fact, so is the whole of the Bloody Foreigners series. Each episode looks at a separate point in our history when people from abroad have played a pivotal role. It's a neat way to dispel any little islandism, and an enjoyable learning curve to boot. It's just a shame it has been so hammily done. Simply told, the story would have been interesting enough. Septimius Severus, the Libyan leader of a Roman military division, marches to Rome to seize power from the traitorous Praetorian Guard after their assassination of the incumbent emperor, then decides to expand north of Hadrian's Wall. Once there, he finds a population of surprisingly civilised savages putting up a jolly good fight against the mighty Romans. Well, who could resist that? Severus even had to contend with familial treachery: not only did his son disobey him but – just for good measure – tried to stab him, too. This, surely, is a soap-writer's idea of heaven.

Taxi driver avoids prison over teenager's death

A taxi driver who was convicted of causing the death of a teenager by careless driving after the 18-year-old jumped from his moving cab was spared jail today.

Matthew Norman: Liz Jones, poster girl for Big Society

In the most startling reinvention this industry has known in decades, the Daily Mail shrugs off its reactionary stereotype to host an intriguingly hybrid social experiment. The pit canary here is the magnificently prolific Liz Jones, who single-handedly spearheads two major breakthroughs – the first recorded case of Mr Cameron's Big Society in action, and the inaugural deployment of a newspaper column as care in the community. As many of you will know, Liz likes to keep the readership minutely informed of life, latterly dwelling on the £150,000 debt she says has depressed her even more than her rejection by the Somerset neighbours who took mystifying umbrage at being depicted as toothless imbeciles. "Being in debt," wrote Liz, "is worse than anything I have experienced." Given what Liz has experienced – and short of alien abduction, bless her, what has she not? – that's going some. "When you have no money people assume it's because you are lazy or profligate." The rank injustice. The very idea that a woman who spent £26,000 on a bat sanctuary, and lavishes more than £1,000 a year on mineral water, tends towards the wasteful!

Miliband bans Labour's poisonous briefing wars

David Miliband has attempted to head off a rift with his brother, Ed, as they compete to become Labour's next leader by banning the unattributable and negative media briefings which divided the party during years of infighting under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

David Miliband begins leadership bid with 'idealism' rallying cry

David Miliband launched his bid to lead the Labour Party today and called his brother and rival for the post "a huge talent".

David Miliband enters Labour leadership race

David Miliband announced today that he would be standing for the Labour leadership, saying the task for the party was to present itself again as "an alternative government".

Taxi driver 'responsible for fatal fall by passenger'

A taxi driver killed a teenager when he drove off with his cab door open, a court heard today.

Generosity abounds on the great wall of fire

On 13 March, a line of light will blaze along Hadrian's Wall from coast to coast, Adrian Mourby and his son walked the route

Online teachers: the million-scholar video stars

Forget night school or correspondence courses. If you want to learn an instrument or improve your Italian, the web is the place to go. Rhodri Marsden on the success of the hi-tech teachers

Albert Booth: Principled Labour MP who served as Secretary of State under James Callaghan

If I had to choose the most principled politician of my time in the House of Commons – I don't say the best, because he would neither claim to be that, nor was he – it would have to be Albert Booth.

Brains and brawn in the line of fire

England's fledgling prop David Wilson faces the toughest task of his career against a mighty Welsh pack. He tells Chris Hewett why he's ready for the challenge

McElderry joy at clinching No 1 spot

Joe McElderry spoke of his delight after bouncing back from his Christmas charts heartache to clinch the New Year No 1.

Is Miliband set to desert sinking ship?

EU officials are backing the Foreign Secretary for the No 2 job in Brussels &ndash; and his flirtation with the post augurs badly for Labour

Asian visitor's debut sparks twitching tizzy

A tiny bit of China which turned up on Tyneside put British birdwatchers in a twitching tizzy today. They flocked in their hundreds to South Shields to try to catch a glimpse of an eastern crowned warbler, a bird never seen in Britain before.

Jim Blance: Inspirational schoolteacher and scholar of the uses of literacy

Jim Blance was an inspirational teacher who will be remembered by many former pupils in South Shields and Haydon Bridge. He always said that inspired teachers depended on inspiring pupils, but the real point was that there was a certain gaiety in his classes where everyone got taken seriously. You knew when he was up for it when you found him leaning back in his chair like a sheriff in a John Ford movie, feet up on table, hands behind head, counting you in with a sideways, slightly toothy grin. After warm-up encounters where everyone was given the chance, as it were, to play themselves in, classroom sessions went anywhere he fancied. This morning's editorial in The Times? What some bloke said to him in The Vigilant? Or perhaps the relationship between Jean Paul Sartre and a film he'd seen at The Regent cinema the night before? Blance was showing us that life and learning was one and the same if only you had eyes to see.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
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If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

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Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

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