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Since the Second World War, when the BBC provided news and comfort for a nation in great peril, it has played a central role in British life and culture. That is why any proposals for radical change at the Corporation, or any sign that its standards might be slipping, deeply disturb its loyal admirers.

Indyplus video: BBC vs ITV

Kylie Minogue's arrival as a judge for The Voice saw the BBC show thrash ITV's Splash

Kylie Minogue pulls in extra 2m viewers for The Voice

BBC show thrashes ITV's Splash, where viewing figures dived

Simon Fuller, creator of the Pop Idol format

Pop Idol's Simon Fuller: X Factor, The Voice and Britain's Got Talent are killing talent shows

Fuller warned too many copycat shows are killing the talent show genre

Could it be Broadchurch's night? David Tennant and Olivia Colman are both up for awards with the ITV show nominated for Best Drama

National Television Awards 2014: Benedict Cumberbatch and David Tennant shortlisted

A new TV Detective category has been added after a flood of hit crime dramas

The View from the Train: Cities & Other Landscapes By Patrick Keiller: book review - A delightful journey in search of Britain's urban hinterlands

Arthur Rimbaud's shimmering poetry collection, Illuminations, was partly inspired by his visit to London in 1872. Brocaded with a dizzy-making imagery of subways, viaducts, raised canals, bridges and steam engines, the poems are thrillingly metropolitan. Accompanied by his lover Paul Verlaine, Rimbaud noted down all he heard and saw. In some ways, Illuminations can be read as a poetic gloss on Karl Marx’s Das Kapital: the London masses as seen by the 19th-century French poet are alienated by “economic horrors” and “feel no need to know one another”.

Thai anti-government protesters gather in front of a registration venue for election candidates at the Thai-Japan Stadium in Bangkok,

Thai protesters anti-government surround Bangkok sports stadium to try to block election sign-up

Anti-government protesters determined to unseat Thailand's prime minister surrounded a Bangkok sports stadium on Monday in an unsuccessful attempt to block political parties from registering for February elections.

Look who's back: Simon Cowell has new plans for The X Factor 2014

Simon Cowell announces plans to shake-up rules on The X Factor

The judge announced a change to the format as ratings continue to slum

Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'

Breaking Bad beaten by EastEnders as 2013's most searched for TV show

The drama was the only US series to make Google's most searched list

Sam Bailey celebrates hearing of her win with mentor Sharon Osbourne

X Factor 2013: Ratings for Sam Bailey's final lowest since 2005

Strictly Come Dancing beat The X Factor final in this weekend's ratings battle

Luke Friend has placed third in the tenth series of The X Factor

X Factor 2013 final: Luke Friend comes third and ratings hit record low

Sam Bailey and Nicholas McDonald will battle to win the tenth series tonight

Lily Allen is back at number one with her cover of Keane's 'Somewhere Only We Know'

Lily Allen returns to number one with John Lewis advert song 'Somewhere Only We Know'

The singer is at number one with her cover of 'Somewhere Only We Know'

Suited and booted: Dermot O'Leary will fill in for Philip Schofield on 'This Morning' in the New Year

Dermot O'Leary to present ITV's This Morning

The TV host will fill in for Philip Schofield on the daytime show in January

Elton John will duet with Gary Barlow on the final show of The X Factor

X Factor 2013: Elton John will join One Direction, Katy Perry and The Killers for the final show of the series

The star will duet with Gary Barlow despite attacking the show in the past

TV mogul Simon Cowell will not let 'The X Factor' die without a fight

X Factor and Britain's Got Talent renewed until 2016

The talent shows are here to stay for the next three years...

ITV plans to turn 'Rising Star' from Keshet International into its next big hit

The next big hit? ITV targets Israel's Rising Star talent show, tipped as X Factor with 'technological twist'

Judges and viewers vote as the performer begins to sing and images of voters taken from their Facebook pages appear live on giant LED screen facing the performer

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there