Catch up on the week

SUNDAYStatus Quo were crowned Britain's hardest working band after notching up more major concerts this year than any other group. The rockers performed to more than 250,000 fans at 27 arenas in 2009, taking the title for the second year in a row. Fellow music industry veterans Cliff Richard and the Shadows took second place in the list compiled by the Performing Rights Society.


French police confirmed the death of a British skier who went missing in the Alps on Christmas Day after being caught in an avalanche. The body of Nigel Jackson, 43, who was staying in the resort of Chamonix, was found by a rescue team on Boxing Day.


The execution of British citizen Akmal Shaikh by China sparked a diplomatic war of words between London and Beijing. Convicted drug smuggler Shaikh, who is believed to have suffered from bipolar disorder, was killed by lethal injection despite pleas for his mental health to be considered.


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Three people died after being caught up in avalanches and three others were killed in a crash on a snowy stretch of motorway. The death a climber who was rescued from a mountainside after an avalanche brought the number of lives claimed by the freezing weather to six in 24 hours including two in an avalanche on Ben Nevis.


Hundreds of thousands of hardy revellers braved freezing temperatures to welcome in the New Year with spectacular fireworks displays across the UK. Thousands joined Hogmanay celebrations in Glasgow and Edinburgh, while In London, more than 200,000 people gathered on the banks of the Thames to hear Big Ben strike midnight.


Freed hostage Peter Moore, left, arrived in Britain to be reunited with his family after his two-and-a-half-year kidnap ordeal in Iraq. The 36-year-old computer expert, from Lincoln touched down at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, where he was met by Foreign Office officials and driven away to see his family at a secret location.


Susan Boyle

The Scots chanteuse cemented her rise to superstardom by making it big in Japan. The 48-year-old from Blackburn, West Lothian, was greeted by thousands of screaming fans at Narito airport, with two admirers asking her to marry them. Akiyama Hanako, 56, who waited seven hours to see Boyle arrive, said: "She is an idol to us. Everyone wants to meet her."


Colin McCredie

After 14 years starring in Taggart, Colin McCredie knows a thing or two about characters being killed off. And the actor, who played gay police officer DC Stuart Fraser in the series, accused STV of "stabbing him in the back" after he was told last week he would not feature in six planned new episodes.

What the papers said… about the execution in China of convicted British drug smuggler Akmal Shaikh.

The Guardian: Britain has a duty to express horror at the execution of one of its citizens, especially someone as confused and unwell as the unfortunate Mr Shaikh, who seems to have been lured into smuggling without knowing what he was doing. The serious criminals are the people who used him, but they are often rich enough, or hidden enough, to escape.

The Times: It is not to interfere with China's sovereignty, or to humiliate China, that the world has condemned its execution of Akmal Shaikh. It is to underline that judicial killing is a barbarity that stains humanity and has no place in a civilised world.

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The Scotsman: It is in Britain's interest, in the world's interest, that China continues to develop, that it continues to reform. It is right to condemn the execution of Shaikh but to change this giant nation the international community, including the UK, has to engage China, not isolate her.


"This type of paper fame soon evaporates and, within a relatively short time, many of them go from the glitter to the gutter."

Joan Collins on today's "sub-lebrities"

"I am not the best cook in the world. I have tried, but I really am hopeless. I can cook maybe one dish. But even then, if you ate it, you'd probably end up with food poisoning."

Actress Keira Knightley

"I've been given great, weird, interesting parts well past my 'Sell by' date. I remember saying when I was 38, 'Well, it's over'. And then we kicked the can down the road a little further."

Meryl Streep, still starring at 60

"She is a great lady, Carla, even if she doesn't look it."

A Parisian down-and-out, named Denis, who has been befriended by France's first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

"Going from one party to the next and surfing to find the right thing, and being in a taxicab when the clock strikes – I'm so over that stuff. At the ripe old age of 25."

Actress Scarlett Johansson tires of Hogmanay carousing

"Two words: Bor-ing.

DJ Tom Binns interrupting a re-run of the Queen's Speech which led to his sacking from a West Midlands radio station



One of the founder members of folk-rock band Steeleye Span, Tim Hart died of cancer in the Canary Islands. The son of a Hertfordshire vicar, he worked as a bookbinder, blacksmith, cost clerk and civil servant before his career took off. In the mid-1960s he met Maddy Prior and their contemporary look saw them branded the English folk scene's answer to Sonny and Cher. The pair went on to form Steeleye Span. After leaving the band in 1983, Hart became a writer and photographer.


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Having filled out countless job application forms, unemployed Malcolm Rodger has opted for a less conventional approach in his search for work.

The 39-year-old former soldier has taken to the streets in a sandwich board reading "I need a job, please call", followed by his mobile phone number.

Rodger, of Millerston, Glasgow, joined the swelling ranks of Scotland's unemployed in August, when he lost his job as a construction site manager. Aside from 13 years in the army, he has also worked alongside rugby star Jonny Wilkinson as a coach at Newcastle Falcons.

He said: "I would sweep the streets or clean mud off people's shoes to get back into work."


What made the Tory wilderness years so bad, and the start of Labour's time as Scottish Opposition so cringeworthy wasn't the defeat itself, but the party's reaction to it. Firstly, the jockeying for positions began before the election took place, so the parties went into the contest divided. Secondly, the parties turned completely inward and started rowing with each other in the aftermath. If Labour can avoid that, they might be back on their feet by 2011.

J.Arthur Macnumpty, http://macnumpty. /2010/01/2010-year-of-if.html

Accusations of a particularly nasty nature were chucked at Russell T Davies during his four-year tenure as executive producer on Doctor Who. Some made their way on to this blog last week when I wrote about this year's Christmas special. DW is now "too politically correct" and (God help us all) "gay imperialist" (what does that even mean? I have visions of stormtroopers breaking down people's doors, charging inside and holding the residents at gunpoint while they re-arrange their furniture and populate their music collections with Scissor Sisters CDs…)

Tom Harris MP,

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I got to church at about 10pm on Christmas Eve in order to set up for the Watchnight service. As I opened the bag which contained my prayer book and Bible, I detected the powerful smell of whisky. I'd placed a bottle of Glenlivet in the bag earlier in the day… and I slipped on the ice outside the rectory while leaving for church. At the beginning of the service, I explained what had happened, just in case anyone smelled the whisky and thought someone up front had taken one too many. I commented that my Bible was now most definitely full of the spirit. Most people laughed. I could have cried at the waste.

Gadget Vicar, http://gadgetvicar.

Somebody has been telling porkies about the weather, some nonsense about frost and snow this winter. Here is the real weather forecast for next week, courtesy of the very upbeat Sunny Scotland website. Oh, it's gonna be toasty, apparently.

Not convinced by Sunny Scotland? Dreaming about snoods, snugglettes and slankets? Forget 'em. What you really want is a sleeping bag you can walk in, courtesy of the inventive Japanese.


Still feeling a bit chilly? Try logging on to a website devoted, entirely, to the joys of hot water bottles.


badbanana: The restaurant across the street has gone out of business. I will miss wondering how it stays open.

lianamaeby: Last night I had a dream that the zoo was giving away baby animals. So I guess I've reached the pinnacle of what sleep has to offer.

essdogg: I taught the boy to say "Boom Shakalaka" today. You call it the Terrible 2's. I call it a beautifully blank canvas.

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DuncanBannatyne: Yes you are allowed to use a phone on private jet

JohnCleese: Don't say I'm not hip. I'm very hip, in fact, I had a new one put in, and it's made me even hipper.

jimmycarr: Does anyone know what day of the week it is? There seems to be a hole in time filled with telly & Quality Street & relatives. I'm stuck.

lilyroseallen: I get the same feeling when watching Top Gear that I do when reading the Daily Mail. Why is that ?

ThisisDavina: They wont tell ME who is going in! I have to wait till saturday!!!!!!! How mad is that!!!???

achrisevans: Just watched 7 Come Dine With Me's back to back. We officially have a problem…

molls: I just drank so many wine coolers in bed that I have a pink moustache. Being unemployed is going really really well, basically.