Property

The former footballer and Spice Girl are expected to invest £5m on doing the house up to their own specifications

Blood Brothers, Phoenix Theatre, London

It can be a dangerous game parachuting a pop star into a much-loved musical – even when that musical is one of the West End's hardiest perennials and the popstar is Mel C, better known as Sporty Spice, or the Spice Girl who could sing. Willy Russell's Blood Brothers has been bringing audiences tearfully to their feet for 21 years in London and last night was no exception. Quite right, too. Melanie C (as she calls herself in the programme) is brilliant as Mrs Johnstone, the beating heart of the drama and a luminous stage presence even as her character grows ever more careworn and downtrodden.

EMI Records: a history in music

They dominated the British music industry for half a decade, but how did EMI Records get there? And what factors contributed to their extraordinary decline?

Mel B joins ITV's Loose Women

Mel B is transforming herself from a Spice Girl into a Loose Woman.

Mel B auctions memorabilia for charity

Former Spice Girl Mel B is to auction the contents of her home, including treasured outfits and items from the girl-band era, after her move to the United States.

Victoria Beckham: An apology

In-depth inquiry reveals pop genius and international style icon is beyond reproach...

Kill Your Friends, by John Niven

Most accounts of the late-1990s music scene (John Harris's The Last Party, Emma Forrest's Namedropper) have concentrated on the success, the familiar tale of how Blur and Oasis moved from the NME to News at Ten. But Kill Your Friends, John Niven's hysterical debut novel about a year in the life of A&R man Steven Stelfox, gets much comic mileage out of the false predictions, failed hypes and firework careers of the bands that don't make it to household name status. Each chapter begins with a music industry misstep (Alan McGee boasting that by the second or third album, 3 Colours Red will be selling five million), and throughout the book he has Stelfox out of step with public and critical taste (he's convinced, for example, that "Paranoid Android" will end Radiohead's career and that Be Here Now is Oasis's masterpiece.)

5 Become 1! Not sporty. Just very scary

The sound system was terrible and the singing slapdash, but did 16,000 fans at the Spice Girls' reunion concert care? Not at all. They were revelling in hearing their favourite numbers again, while their heroines were making a mint. Cole Moreton reports from the O2

Catherine Townsend: Sleeping around

"Cut it," I laughed, sinking down into my trendy East London hairdresser's chair. "But nothing too drastic - if I end up with a mullet, I'll really be depressed." Since my break-up with Richard, I've spent a lot of time either wallowing in my tracksuit bottoms or out at tequila bars with my girlfriends.

My Mentor: Bridgid Nzekwu on Peter Barron

'He was ready to advise, and to criticise without undermining my confidence'

The Best Of: Naples

Deborah Orr: Privates on parade

THESE DAYS, all sensible public figures want to keep their private lives private. But the royals are compelled to make a far more generous dispensation. Royal births, deaths and marriages are our business as well as theirs. It is by these crude mechanisms that our heads of state are selected. But how vulgarly in step with only the crassest aspects of the modern sensibility such metaphorical display of the bloodied sheets really is.

Zap Mama: The second coming of Zap Mama

After a four-year absence, Zap Mama are back with a new album. Phil Meadley asks Marie Daulne, their Belgian founder and leader, what took her so long

Let's kill Top of the Pops

The BBC has relaunched its flagship music programme - again. What a waste of time, says the former TotP chief Trevor Dann

Flintoff saddled with mission improbable

Fourth Test: Need is for young all-rounder to be brilliant and consistent
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links