Off to the North of England education conference – the traditional curtain raiser of the year.

Rugby League: Deakin hopes for 15,000 turn-out

MARKETING THE last match in a Test series that has already been decided will challenge even Peter Deakin's highly regarded salesmanship, writes Dave Hadfield.

RUGBY LEAGUE: Harris doubt for last Test

GREAT BRITAIN'S injury problems for the Test against New Zealand they must win to avoid the ignominy of a whitewash have worsened with the news that Iestyn Harris is unlikely to be fit, writes Dave Hadfield.

Obituary: Harold Noble

HAROLD NOBLE was a prolific composer whose contribution to the choral repertoire was rarely acknowledged during his lifetime. Like Ralph Vaughan Williams, Noble took a particular interest in folk music, arranging songs such as "The Ballad of Semmerwater", "Naples Bay" and "The Road of Evening" for voice and piano accompaniment, while his liturgical music includes a Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis and Te Deum.

Railways may face death charges

THE RAILWAY industry could face corporate manslaughter charges over three separate train crashes in a series of legal moves this week.

Education - Letter: Teaching tactics

All things considered, this seems to be the right time to update that statement by George Bernard Shaw, to read:

Theatre: Getting away with murder

Patricia Highsmith's thrillers inspired Hitchcock, Minghella and now Phyllis Nagy. Why?

Comedy: GIG OF THE WEEK: John Hegley tomorrow

Hackney Empire, London E8 (0181-985 2424) tomorrow, 7.30pm

Rugby Union: No compromise in sight as kick-off looms

IT WAS looking certain last night that there would be no immediate solution to the protracted wrangling between the top English clubs and the Rugby Football Union. Just 24 hours before the Welsh rebels Cardiff and Swansea are due to kick off against Bedford and West Hartlepool (strike action permitting) on a Saturday scheduled for a full Allied Dunbar Premiership programme, the RFU's management board is no nearer a compromise.


IN WHICH painting by which painter can you find this flyer?

The horrors of Watford Gap, recounted in the ballad of the Bank Holiday driver

AS REGULAR readers will know, I am a great collector of motorway ballads - those forms of verse dealing with all aspects of life on the motorway.

Media: The joys of being a creative - and the woes

Advertising attracts many with its promise of fame and wealth, but the reality is harsher, says Richard Cook

Educated Rita's older sister learns to speak for herself

THE BIGGEST no-show in drama is, of course, Beckett's Godot. A character who runs Godot a close second is Ronnie, the character whose failure to arrive turns out to be a godsend in disguise for the young heroine of Roots, Arnold Wesker's landmark 1959 play beautifully revived by John Retallack in a touring co-production between Oxford Stage Company and the Palace Theatre, Watford.

Basketball: Burks saved for Leopards' finale

GREATER London Leopards' guard Eric Burks misses tomorrow's Dairylea Dunkers North v South All-Star game at Sheffield Arena as his coach, Billy Mims, protects one of his greatest assets for the final two weeks of the Budweiser League season.

Comedy: Knowing me, knowing who?

At a recent Royal Television Society dinner, the BBC's head of comedy, Geoffrey Perkins, used a clip from BBC2's I'm Alan Partridge as the climax to a state-of-the-nation address about the sitcom. It was greeted - even by an audience of jaded industry insiders - with rapturous applause.

Train driver cleared of manslaughter in fatal crash

THE DRIVER of a commuter train involved in a crash that killed one passenger was yesterday found not guilty of manslaughter.
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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'