TEN years ago, the Government faced calls for a public inquiry after landlords finally pulled the plug on the UK's largest care home business Southern Cross.

The ailing Darlington-based firm revealed plans to shut down and transfer its care homes back into the hands of landlords, who had refused to re-negotiate rental agreements.

Landlords of 250 of its 752 homes have agreed to take them back and run themselves.

But negotiations continued with the owners of the other 502 and could take months to conclude – leaving thousands of residents and staff in limbo.

The company, which has 2,000 residents in the North East and Yorkshire and 6,000 staff, ran into a financial crisis brought on by a rising rent bill and lower fees as bed occupancy declined and local councils reduced the number of people they placed with it.

In entertainment, Thriller Live moonwalked into the North East to celebrate the career of one of the world's greatest entertainers.

Thriller Live, bringing to life the sensational dancing and distinctive sound of Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five, opened at the Sunderland Empire.

Elsewhere, MP James Wharton began a campaign to have Durham Tees Valley (DTV) airport renamed to its original name of Teesside Airport.

The Conservative Stockton South MP believed changing the name would draw attention to the terminal and give it a much-needed business boost.

He said: "By changing the name, it will give it some publicity. Everyone I have spoken to wants it to be called Teesside Airport." The airport changed its name from Teesside to Durham Tees Valley in 2004.

In pictures, Anne Willis, Northumbria university senior lecturer in chemistry looks on as Amy Windsor and Katie Ridden, pupils of High Tunstall School, get to hold a liquid nitrogen frozen carnation, as part of the days demonstrations at Brainwave, a three-day festival designed to bring science and technology to life being held at Netpark Sedgefield.

Hummersknott School tennis champions celebrated.