Arts and Entertainment

Colditz; the Great Escape; Bridge on the River Kwai and, recently, the Railway Man. Parodies of them by everyone from Beyond the Fringe to Russ Abbott. All second world war. Memoir after memoir. And yet with the single, powerful exception of the French classic La Grande Illusion, the prisoners of the Great War have gone largely unchronicled.

Being Modern: Bottled water

Ah, summer days. And what could be more refreshing than an unadulterated glass of pure water. Eau de Sidcup, anyone? Thought not. So imagine the British public's surprise when a money-making scheme once dreamt up by Del Boy became reality. It was 2004 and Coca-Cola felt it was time to, um, tap into the bottled-water market. Sadly, it soon came to light that the other "real thing" contained nothing more than filtered tap water from a factory in Sidcup. Dasani was laughed out of UK shops, but the trend for paying for something that we can all get for free shows no signs of abating.

Myers (right) says: 'I bought one of his Japanese motorcycles. It broke down after two days'

How We Met: Simon King & Dave Myers

Simon King, 45

Market Report: Cold water poured on Pennon bid talk

Bullish comments from "Super Mario" may have seen the Footsie gush higher yesterday, but not everyone managed to stay afloat. Pennon was one of the nine blue-chip stocks to finish in the red after a bucket of cold water was poured over the utility's takeover hopes.

The men in suits gather for another sort of competition

London on full schmooze alert as foreign investors arrive and face the Big Pitch

St Swithin's Day set to be dry

Much of the UK is likely to see a mostly dry St Swithin's Day - but that does not mean the weather is set fair for the coming weeks, forecasters warn.

Natalie Haynes: Secretly, we long for an alien invasion

Notebook: The idea that we might be alone in the universe with just seven billion other people for company is clearly too horrifying

Ofcom investigates complaints over 5's Big Brother

Ofcom is investigating Channel 5's Big Brother after viewers complained over three separate incidents.

Water companies lift hosepipe bans as deluge looks set to continue

The final four water companies with hosepipe bans have announced they are lifting them with immediate effect.

Set clear targets for water meters, urge MPs

The Government must set clear targets for increasing the number of homes with water meters as part of efforts to better manage England's water supplies, MPs urged today.

Past three months revealed to be wettest on record

This April to June has been the wettest on record across England and Wales, the Environment Agency said today.

'Fracking' could get UK approval

Controversial “fracking” for shale gas could go ahead in the UK if it is well regulated, as the risks of water contamination and damaging earthquakes are very low, experts said today.

Households struggling to pay water bills 'to get social tariffs'

Households struggling to pay their water bills are to receive help through new social tariffs, according to the Government.

The Market Report: Spotlight on Ithaca as bid talk returns

Are punters prepared to risk their hard-earned cash on Ithaca Energy again? There were plenty of burnt fingers in the Square Mile last month after the North Sea explorer called an end to bid talks with a number of suitors having failed to agree a deal, but yesterday takeover hopes were being stoked up once more.

Scotland offers to sell its water

The rain-soaked hills of Scotland could one day supply water to households in South-east England after the Government confirmed it would discuss an offer from the Scottish Government to redirect excess rainwater to the drought-prone English.

Jeremy Laurance: 'Plague' still has the power to terrify

There is no word in the English language with the emotional impact of "plague". It conveys death on a biblical scale, populations in flight and a world frozen in fear. Yet Yersinia pestis, its cause, is a modest bacterium. It may once have ravaged Europe but today it does not figure among the true global killers.

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Independent Travel
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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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