News 'Take two aspirin': Horsley, right, with Leonard Rossiter as Reginald Perrin

A gentleman player assured at both touching sincerity and twinkling comedy, John Horsley was a charming actor with plenty of strings to his bow, who played an adroit second fiddle throughout his 60-year career. A household face on television, he will best be remembered as Doc Morrissey, the quack severely in need of a doctor in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1975), who showed enthusiasm for his work only when faced with secretaries who were feeling a touch chesty, and who prescribed "two aspirin" for anything and everything.

Marine Le Pen is facing the prospect of disappointing results in local elections in March

France's National Front: After a series of political setbacks, it seems Marine Le Pen is not so mighty as all that

After three years of almost unbroken success, the National Front leader Marine Le Pen has begun to stumble in her drive to steam-clean and re-brand the French far right.

The Great Interior Design Challenge, TV review

You may also worry you're not conversant enough in current design lingo to get much out of new BBC2 series The Great Interior Design Challenge. Fear not. The only vocab you needed to enjoy last night's episode was "upcycle". It's a verb meaning "to take a perfectly decent piece of furniture and ruin it by the addition of some old tat you bought at a car boot sale".

Civilians at the site of a car bomb attack in the town of Tuz Khurmatu, north of Baghdad

Series of bombings leave deadly trail across Baghdad

Iraqi authorities say a series of bombings across Baghdad, targeting marketplaces and two court buildings, has killed 21 people.

Arifa Akbar: Some fictional characters are gay. Get over it

I was waiting for the Australian author, Christos Tsiolkas to begin his first UK event this week and, as the audience filed in from the drizzle, I noticed a particular absence in the room. That of women. It was just me until – phew – three others slunk in. Tsiolkas's reading at a Bloomsbury basement bar had been organised by the bookshop Gay's the Word, so the clue was in the title, but I was thrown at first, to be among an audience with shared affinities that reared themselves – fascinatingly – during the discussion.

Michelle Obama

Happy 50th, Michelle Obama. I hope your rules for party etiquette cross the Atlantic soon

Please do not mention Ms Helle Thorning-Schmidt in front of the hostess

Sisterland, By Curtis Sittenfeld: Book review - unnerved and entertained by a psychic sister act

Fans never know quite what to expect from a Curtis Sittenfeld novel. Her debut, Prep, was a coming-of-age story set at a New England boarding school. This was followed by American Wife, inspired by the life of former first lady Laura Bush. In Sisterland, she changes direction once again with a richly imagined tale about identical twins with paranormal powers.

Got a New Year's Eve hangover? Call for an Angel

In Kent, you can order a Mummy-style service - if you're willing to pay

A woman working in a Paris bakery has driven away an armed robber with nothing but a broom

Broom-wielding French woman drives gun-toting robber from her bakery

Brave shop worker says a pure ‘rage’ drove her to fight back

Nicolas Anelka appears to make the 'la quenelle' gesture after scoring the first goal for West Brom in the 3-3 draw against West Ham

Furore over Nicolas Anelka's 'quenelle' intensifies after picture surfaces of an unknown man making the gesture outside the Toulouse school where three Jewish children were killed in 2012

The row over the “quenelle” gesture deepened today after it emerged that a picture had been posted on the internet of a man making the reportedly anti-Semitic hand signal in front of a Toulouse school where three Jewish children were murdered.

Indians students from the Jawaharlal Nehru University hold placards during a candle light vigil on the first anniversary of the fatal gang rape of a young woman in a bus

Candlelit vigil held for Delhi bus rape victim, one year on from attack

Students, Bollywood actresses and women’s groups held rallies and candlelight vigils across India on Monday in memory of a young woman whose fatal gang rape on a bus a year ago shook the nation.

One year on: The President and Mrs Obama observe a minute’s silence for the Sandy Hook massacre

US rocked by latest school gun attack in Colorado as America marks anniversary of Sandy Hook massacre

Colorado police ask why a ‘charming, humble’ teenager became the country’s newest student gunman

Eric Brandon jailed for life after shooting teenage stepson Alex Koser dead during row over the volume of his computer games

48-year-old, from Georgia in the USA, was jailed after calling 911 and confessing to the crime

Protesters try to obstruct a lorry making its way down Barton Moss Road

Barton Moss: The latest front line in Britain’s unconventional energy revolution against fracking

Jonathan Brown meets the protesters hoping to create the spirit of Balcombe

The future of sex education: Do students have the answer?

A new student-led organisation is stepping into the breach in an attempt to teach schoolchildren about sex

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor