Monday 1 March
The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden takes over a site in Essex with plans to open a gallery of its costumes and props. Greg Dyke, former BBC director general, thinks that Mark Thompson, current director general of the BBC, is overpaid and out of touch. A Lancashire solicitor Marshall Ronald is on trial in Edinburgh for having threatened to destroy a stolen Leonardo Da Vinci unless a ransom was paid. Dmitry Medvedev, president of Russia while Mr Putin takes a holiday, demands the resignation of his nation’s Olympic chiefs following a poor display by Russia in the Winter Olympics. Wayne Rooney says that members of the England football squad should be better role models. Meanwhile, rumours abound of a lot of wealthy Manchester Utd fans putting together a £1 billion bid for their team.

Tuesday 2 March
Rio Ferdinand says that he learned of his assumption of the England captaincy on the television news and still has not spoken to the manager who made the decision. However, Mr Capello has found time to warn his players to have a word with themselves: “These are young players, young boys but rich boys; this is the problem,” he says. A massive backlash in support of BBC 6 Music and the Asian Network. Troubles at the ICA, where staff have apparently issued a vote of no confidence in the director, Ekow Eshun. South Africa’s minister with responsibility for the promotion of social cohesion and nation-building, Lulu Xingwana, walks out of a exhibition of photographs which includes nudes of female couples, branding the works “immoral, offensive and against nation-building”. In Detroit, the city in which you can buy a house for a dollar, a community group called Blight Busters is pulling down abandoned houses and creating community vegetable gardens. Domenico Di Carlo, manager of Italian Serie A football team Chievo, is banned from the touchline for blasphemy. Athletics coach Wilf Paish dies at the age of 77.

Wednesday 3 March
Oscar-tipped The Hurt Locker is condemned by US army sergeant Jeremy Renner as an exploitation of serving soldiers. The Treasury is said to be planning £11 billion of government spending cuts. Amy Williams returns from Vancouver with her skeleton bob gold medal and says that she is forgoing public transport and buying a car. Young people are leaving rural areas because they cannot get a mobile reception and internet service is patchy, according to the Commission for Rural Communities. Derry (or possibly Londonderry) is shortlisted for the UK city of culture, prompting Sinn Fein to demand that the ‘UK’ be removed from the title. There is a boom in reading English language novels among India’s growing middle class and cracks have appeared now in most of the 2,711 concrete slabs that compose the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. The Olympic Park Legacy Company says that West Ham United are “not the only show in town” for the legacy tenancy of London’s Olympic stadium. Keith Alexander, one of the few black managers in professional football in the UK, dies at the age of 52.

Thursday 4 March
The ringleader of a gang who made £2 million flogging dodgy golf clubs on the internet (five irons and the like rather than links courses and chichi eighteen-holers) are jailed. Jacob Zuma is in London with one of his wives to tell the world that South Africa is ready to host the World Cup; if only England were ready to play in it, Gordon Brown should have said. Although the Football League long ago announced that it knows who owns Leeds United and is entirely happy with whoever it is (they’re not telling), representatives of all the major political parties demand to know who it is. Meanwhile, the Premier League says that they won’t be having play-offs for the highly lucrative fourth place. West Ham might not be the only show in town for the Olympic stadium but they should still get their bid in sharpish, says Olympics minister, Tessa Jowell, trying not to sound too keen.

Friday 5 March
With 6 Music getting plenty of support, the noise for the BBC Asian Network builds. Tate Britain has invited Ai Weiwei, China’s most famous living artist, to take on the Turbine Hall. Michelle Obama kicks a football (some say soccer ball) about at a Washington DC soccer clinic as part of her anti-obesity campaign. Blimey: now the Kaiser Chiefs (the band rather than the footy team) are demanding to know who owns Leeds United; something must be done. Martin O’Neill adds his name to the list of people who think that the pitch at Wembley isn’t up to much. “The stadium cost £800 million to sort out and the one thing you’d think they would get right would be the playing surface,” he says. Hurdler Callum Priestley becomes the first British athlete to fail a drugs test since Dwain Chambers. Nice one.

Saturday 6 March
Google’s inaugural Street View awards name York’s Shambles as the most picturesque street in Britain. Novelist Arundhati Roy is invited to mediate in a guerrilla insurgency against the Indian state. Nicole Cooke, world and Olympic road race champion, says that it’s about time there was a Team Sky for women.

Sunday 7 March
Britain’s Davis Cup tennis team is beaten by Lithuanian teenagers to bring a new low for Britain in the world rankings; expectations that the LTA chief executive, Roger Draper, will start some serious soul-searching before deciding on an appropriate scape goat that isn’t him rise. Embarrassment in Rome when an over-enthusiastic member of staff at the Pantheon brings a Vivaldi recital by choir and quartet to a sudden and premature end by announcing that the building is closing right now because it’s six o’clock; cue apologies from Italian culture minister, Sandro Bondi. British costume designer Sandy Powell wins her third Oscar.

Monday 8 March
MI5 files released today reveal that groups of young German cycle tourists travelling around the UK in the late 1930s were suspected of spying for Nazi Germany, a fear not allayed by meetings with Baden-Powell. Violinist Nigel Kennedy will be setting the 1973 England v Poland World Cup qualifier to music as part of a celebration of Polish culture at the Royal Festival Hall later this year. A 48-hour strike by civil servants affects the opening of a number of museums across the country. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs says that it is owed some £25 million by professional football clubs. John Lloyd is “devastated” by the Lithuanian Davis Cup result, while Rog says that “five defeats in a row is unacceptable”; several bets are placed on who’s out the door first.

Tuesday 9 March
More legislation regarding the control of dangerous dogs is announced by the government; remember when your dog used to need a licence? Andrew Lloyd-Weber’s sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, opens but 3-D television is apparently going to be the Next Big Thing. The administrator of Portsmouth FC says that the club is still paying out £4 million a month in wages.

Wednesday 10 March
The Royal Shakespeare Company is to take professional rehearsal techniques into the classroom to engage 11- to 14-year-olds in the Bard; expect lots of pacing about and emoting. Antony Gormley’s austere figures go on display around New York for his Event Horizon exhibition. The Italian culture ministry has agreed to allow Google to digitise some one million historic books and records. Protestors in Pretoria threaten to disrupt the World Cup, scheduled for South Africa this summer, if their demands for running water, sanitation and housing are not met. One in four Premier League season-ticket holders are thinking about not renewing next season, according to Virgin Money. David Beckham sticks his media-savvy oar into the Anti-Glazer waters by sporting a green and gold scarf after Milan’s defeat at Old Trafford.

Thursday 11 March
The route of the proposed London to Birmingham high-speed rail link is unveiled for public consultation; expect most protests to come from the Chilterns, an outstanding area of natural beauty. Pink Floyd win a legal battle to ensure that their albums can only be sold as downloads in their entirety, rather than as single tracks. A new season at the Barbican in London is revealed and John Malkovich heads the list of the good and the great who will be treading the ever-elusive Barbican boards. A five-year research programme into the impact of Liverpool’s year of culture in 2008 finds that 9.7 million visitors came to the city (34% higher than an ordinary year) and that the festival generated £754 million for the local economy; 85% of residents said that city was a better place to live than it had been before. Wetherspoon is to open its pubs at seven in the morning for breakfast, although beer will not be available. The International Association of Athletics Federations still haven’t made a decision about Caster Semenya’s medal from the Beijing Olympics.

Friday 12 March
Christine Bleakley water-skis across La Manche for charity. The annual hill roll in Gloucestershire has been cancelled because the crowds have apparently become unmanageable. Hadrian’s Wall is to be illuminated by torches (the blazing kind rather than the oh-the-batteries-have-run-out kind) along its 84-mile length. Eleven Siberian tigers have reportedly starved to death in a zoo in China. A new Formula One season opens with one team accusing another of cheating (plus ca change) andGreg Clarke is revealed as the new chairman of the Football League.

Saturday 13 March
The National Leprechaun Museum opens in Dublin. No, really. A paper in the Economic Journal suggests that the wealthier a nation becomes, the more miserable its population becomes so expect an outbreak of joy in the UK soon. A new work by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, titled A Behandling in Spokane, his first to be set in the US, provokes a furious reaction from number of critics in New York. Hadrian’s Wall is duly lit with the aid of 1,200 torches.

Sunday 14 March
Former record giant EMI is reported to be struggling to survive. Both Jessica Ennis and Dwain Chambers win gold at the world indoor athletics championships in Doha. Brazilian football legend Ronaldo announces that he will retire when his two-year contract with Corinthians runs out. The Kremlin is reported to be considering a ban on the sale of alcohol after 9pm in an effort to tackle Russia’s problem with alcoholism. PRS for Music, the organisation that collects royalties for recorded music, announces a 2.6% rise in revenue, with digital sales compensating for declining DVD sales. The first grand prix of a new season, complete with new teams, new rules and the ever-present hyperbole, is generally regarded as one of the dullest in living memory.

Monday 15 March
The British Museum marks the Ides of March with display of a gold coin marking the assassination of Julius Caesar. Has a professor at the University of Nottingham discovered a new Shakespeare play? He thinks so. Sheila Hancock, soon to appear in a TV show about musicals, says that theatre critics are “snooty” about musicals. The chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, says that evidence suggests that levels of physical fitness in England are declining faster than elsewhere in the world. The United Nations criticises Russia’s preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics as being ecologically insensitive. Becks is going to go to the World Cup, broken leg or not, says Mr Capello; he can help in so many ways. A member of the match-day catering staff at Old Trafford is sacked for wearing a green and gold scarf.

Tuesday 16 March
One of the judges on the Orange prize for female authors says that there is a sight to much misery on offer in the current crop of novels. Michael Jackson’s estate signs a $250 million dollar deal to release a further ten albums of the late star’s work. The National Portrait Gallery is combining the visual arts and literature by inviting a number of writers to produce works inspired by works on the gallery’s walls. The UK’s new points-based immigration rules is preventing artists from coming to Britain, say campaigners against the legislation. There is to be a new exhibition in France dedicated to the history of the guillotine (the last time it was used for an execution in France? 1977).

Wednesday 17 March
The culture secretary, Ben Bradshaw, announces a £6 million funding pot for after-school sports clubs, some 3,000 by next spring according to the plan. The riders and runners for the 64th annual Edinburgh festival are revealed by festival director Jonathan Mills. Ruth Mackenzie is now in charge of the London 2012 cultural Olympiad and promises a 12-week festival that “will amaze us all”. John Lloyd quits as David Cup captain with rumours that Andy Murray will have a say in the next person in post. Music radio legend Charlie Gillett dies aged 68.

Thursday 18 March
Vicente Todoli, who has stood down as the director of Tate Modern, says that the planned £215 million extension was part of his decision to go. “Museums that get into enlargements tend to forget the here and now,” he says. And Fulham beat Juventus. Blimey.

Friday 19 March
John Healey, minister for pubs, unveils a package of advice for people wanting to invest in their local pub. Much excitement at Cheltenham with the battle between Kauto Star and Denman but the script is written by Imperial Commander. In New York it seems that there is a rush to Broadway for some of Hollywood’s A-listers, following Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman and Jude Law.

Saturday 20 March
A study by York University finds that a quarter of all children questioned reported being bullied by adults in the past 12 months. Kensington Palace has redisplayed its royal dress collection with new installations and more space for exhibits. France win the Six Nations, leaving England looking for answers, one of which may be the employment of a qualified coach. The ECB says that plans to make BSkyB reduce the cost of its sports packages will mean the closure of Test grounds. Sports commentator and journalist Harry Carpenter dies at the age of 84.

Sunday 21 March
The Mountaintop, a play by Katori Hall, is the surprise winner of the best new play category at the Olivier awards. A Cambridgeshire bed and breakfast refuses to accept a booking by a male couple, prompting said couple to report the proprietors, who describe themselves as “Christian”, to the police.

Monday 22 March
A government review of libraries suggests that the future must be radical if they (libraries) are to survive. Some 150,000 people try to register for details about tickets for the London 2012 Olympics. Ted Hughes is to have a memorial stone in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey. A survey suggests people in Britain cook more regularly and more often at home than people in France. Ian Watmore, the chief executive of the Football Association, walks out of his post after less than a year, making it six chief execs in less than a decade for the aptly named FA.

Tuesday 23 March
The Commons defence select committee says that the armed forces budget is “fundamentally unaffordable” and will have a £36 billion shortfall. A £1.3 million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund means that the pile of Anglo-Saxon gold, now known as ‘the Staffordshire hoard’, will stay on display in the region. Having little else to do, Cornell University in New York has analysed various depictions of the Last Supper and found that portion sizes have increased over the centuries. The soon-to-be-ex chairman of the Football League, Brian Mawhinney, says that the FA should sort out its structural problems. Will West Ham bid to become the resident of the London 2010 Olympic stadium? Could be. Tim Benjamin, who belatedly won a silver medal in the 4x400m at the 2003 world indoor athletics championships after the drug-fuelled American quartet was retrospectively disqualified, reveals that he eventually received his medal in the post; not even recorded delivery.

Wednesday 24 March
Aardman Animations, makers of Wallace and Gromit, are helping to open a public animation academy in one of Cape Town’s townships. Football, rugby and cricket governing bodies are to challenge Ofcom’s decision on the pricing of BSkyB’s sports packages. Meanwhile, Chris Hoy takes his tenth world title on the track in Copenhagen.

Thursday 25 March
Budget day and the cider industry counts itself among the losers, while the video games industry gets some good news. Ten million school days are lost to truancy, according to government statistics. The Marine Conservation Society says that Britain’s beaches have more litter on them than ever before. Andrew Motion is to write a sequel to Treasure Island. Camelot, the company that runs the UK lottery, is bought by a Canadian pension fund.

Friday 26 March
It seems only one person in the UK went to see Uma Thurman’s new film, Motherhood, on its opening Sunday, although it was only showing in one cinema. ITV announces that it is to end the production of The Bill, British television’s repertory theatre since 1984. The high courts throws out the government’s plans for a third runway at Heathrow. A burst water main on the 2012 site leaves 4,000 London homes without a drop for a while but it seems it was not a result of building work. The Times is to start charging for access to its website and Lewis Hamilton falls foul of Inspector Knacker in Melbourne after a bit of inventive driving outside the confines of the track. Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, is the latest to weigh in for the FA debate, claiming football’s supposed governing body [our words, not his] needs an overhaul; perhaps a bit more power for the Premier League could solve things? Australia beat Great Britain in the 4,000m men’s’ pursuit at the world track cycling championships.

Saturday 27 March
It seems that both Labour and the Tories are backing plans to move the UK to double British summer time following years of campaigning by, among others, tourism groups wanting to provide more day light in the evenings. With FIFA having promised a properly African World Cup, it comes as no surprise to learn that the headline performer at the opening ceremony will be Alicia Keys, an American popstrel; it seems you will have a long wait to see some African performers on the bill. Victoria Pendleton wins her fifth sprint world title and the UCI, cycling’s international governing body, suggests that it will take steps to end British Cycling’s specialised equipment.

Sunday 28 March
The government is thinking about plans to give fans a role in the governance of football clubs. It seems that sales of lottery tickets have been booming in the recession, resulting in an extra £25 million a year for the Heritage Lottery Fund. Russia has cut its time zones from nine to eleven as part of a reform to reinvigorate its economy. As part of the government’s digital inclusion campaign, Google will be advocating the joys of going online by, er, printing a leaflet. Fergal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music, says the British music industry can take over the world. Briton Ed Clancey wins the osmium, the new Olympic event, at the world track championship.

Monday 29 March
Researchers suggest that Jamie Oliver’s school dinners campaign has actually improved academic results and increased attendance. The continuing campaign for double summer time reckons that a change in the clocks would create up to 80,000 jobs in the leisure industry and make a major impact on the obesity epidemic. The Victoria and Albert Museum is celebrating the golden age of the Ballets Russes. Michel Platini, president of UEFA, backs the government’s plans for fan power in football and Usain Bolt says he has not yet tried running “straight and focused on the finishing line”. Barry Hearn, president of snooker’s governing body, says that his plans for shaking up snooker are the only way to save the game and if no one agrees he’s off.

Tuesday 30 March
Blackpool is planning a £40 million overhaul to transform the resort. The head of Punch Taverns, Giles Thornley, has walked away from the business, leaving it with £3.5 billion of debt. Everything going as expected with England’s World Cup preparation: Wayne Rooney limps off with an ankle injury. Caster Semenya says that having agreed not to run until her case is sorted out by the IAAF she will now start to compete again because the governing body has done nothing to help her.

Wednesday 31 March
The centre piece of London’s Olympic park is revealed: a 115 metre, £19 million tower designed by Anish Kapoor and structural engineer Cecil Balmond. The English National Opera is to work with the avant garde theatre group Punchdrunk to stage The Duchess of Malfi.


the world of leisure
March 2010

Monday 1 March:
Wayne Rooney says that members of the England football squad should be better role models.




Tuesday 2 March:
Mr Capello has found time to warn his players to have a word with themselves: “These are young players, young boys but rich boys; this is the problem,” he says.




Wednesday 3 March:
Young people are leaving rural areas because they cannot get a mobile reception and internet service is patchy, according to the Commission for Rural Communities

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