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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.

The mogul thought Bowie was ‘a one-hit wonder’ with no future

My biggest misses, by Chris Wright, the man who turned down David Bowie

It’s the nightmare haunting every talent scout since Decca rejected the Beatles in 1962 because “guitar groups are on the way out” – letting a global mega-hit slip through your fingers.

Sharon Osbourne gives Andrea Magee some bad news on The X Factor

X Factor becoming crueller because we're bored of sob stories, psychologist claims

Standard-issue sob stories just don't cut the mustard anymore

Lord Gillingham with Lady Mary in Downton Abbey episode three, series four

Downton Abbey suffers ratings dip as drama goes up against Homeland

Downton Abbey episode three dipped slightly to 9.2m viewers, as Homeland season three returned to Channel 4 with 2.2m

Tony Jacklin takes to the Strictly stage

Strictly trounces X Factor by 1.5m in Saturday night TV ratings war

Strictly Come Dancing has won the Saturday night ratings war, trouncing rival ITV show X Factor by 1.4 million viewers.

Kaiser Chief's Ricky Wilson joins The Voice 2014 as a new judge

Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson joins The Voice as new judge

Singer replaces Danny O'Donoghue, joining Kylie Minogue, Tom Jones and will.i.am on the overhauled judging panel

Marvin Humes of JLS who is poised to sign up as a new presenter on BBC1's The Voice to replace Reggie Yates.

JLS's Marvin Humes 'poised' to replace Reggie Yates on The Voice

JLS star Marvin Humes is poised to sign up as a new presenter on BBC1's The Voice to replace Reggie Yates.

Television choices: Fresh double visions from the future clone zone in Orphan Black

TV pick of the week: Orphan Black

Teenage kicks: ‘One Direction – This Is Us’

Midnight Memories: One Direction album title revealed

One Direction have revealed the name of their new album in a teaser video published on YouTube.

Musician Will.i.am

The Voice judge Will.i.am praises X Factor mogul Simon Cowell

Chart star Will.i.am has praised talent show rival Simon Cowell for giving a generation of new stars a platform for their skills.

Father to be: Simon Cowell says seeing an ultrasound of his baby was 'surreal'

Simon Cowell: I won't be changing dirty nappies

X Factor mogul Simon Cowell has said that he is going to be a great father - but he will not change dirty nappies.

Nigel Harman who plays Simon Cowell and Simon Cowell at a photo-call for the X Factor musical I Can't Sing

X Factor musical I Can't Sing has a go at Simon Cowell

X Factor boss Simon Cowell said he knows he will "get it in the neck" in the new musical based on the hit singing show.

Father to be: Simon Cowell says seeing an ultrasound of his baby was 'surreal'

X Factor boss Simon Cowell describes impending fatherhood as 'surreal' after seeing baby scan

Simon Cowell has described the prospect of fatherhood as "surreal" after seeing a scan of his unborn child.

Sharon Osbourne has a message for photographers at the launch

First night: The X factor; The Mayfair Hotel, London - Sharon Osbourne returns to add grit to Cowell-free show

When Peter Fincham, ITV’s director of television, unveiled the 10th series of The X Factor in a Mayfair hotel, he felt confident enough to take a swipe at the strike rate of its BBC1 rival, The Voice. “No other singing talent show on UK television has launched so many stars – or any stars,” he crowed.

Bill Ward, the Former Coronation Street villain, is joining the cast of rival ITV soap Emmerdale.

From the cobbles to the Dales: Coronation Street actor Bill Ward joins Emmerdale

Former Coronation Street villain Bill Ward is joining the cast of rival ITV soap Emmerdale.

Louis Walsh: what is he for?

X Factor needs to be 'more honest', says judge Louis Walsh

X Factor judge Louis Walsh has admitted that the show "needs to change" and become "more honest".

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Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
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A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
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fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
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Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
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Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
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Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
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Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape