The Week in Comedy: The kids are all right with these big comic names

Apart from the occasional gift from the gods, such as current BBC1 pleasures Rev and W1A, primetime television comedy is often dull, disappointing or a dud. But children's TV is a different thing altogether, with some of the most consistently fresh and innovative comedy around.

Author Timur Vermes with his new novel

Timur Vermes's Look Who's Back: Is it ever safe to laugh at Hitler?

The new German fantasy novel imagines the Führer returning to Berlin as the star of an alternative comedy show

Jason Manford buys audience round of drinks to apologise for being late – and picks up tab for £3,500

Manford later tweeted an image of the huge bill and said it had ‘seemed like a good idea’ at the time

Moment of spoof: Jason Watkins in BBC2 comedy ‘W1A’

The Week in Comedy: Something in the air as White City reaches out to outsiders in W1A

What's the best way to go about writing a BBC comedy? If you were to make a sly joke you might say that the shortest route to prime-time is to set your sitcom in the BBC. W1A is having a whale of a time in its plum 10pm slot, gently tickling the bureaucratic excesses of the corporation while doling out cameos to its great and good. The take-home message: as Ian Fletcher might say, we might be ridiculous, but we're still the best that you have; that'll be £145.50, please. (To be fair, the show hit its stride in its second episode this week, thanks largely to Siobhan Sharpe's inept live tweeting of Woman's Hour.)

Ricky Gervais as downtrodden care-home worker Derek Noakes in comedy-drama Derek

Ricky Gervais: Women are treated as 'props' in film, TV and 'particularly comedy'

The Derek creator says he loves to write more interesting female characters

Lynn Ruth Miller, 80, has found a new career as a sharp stand-up

The rise of the silver stand-up

Laughter Lines: The Week in Comedy

Jack Whitehall is outraged at the BBC's decision to axe comedy and drama channel BBC Three
The BBC has finally commissioned a satire lampooning itself

Postcode comedy: BBC goes meta with 'W1A' and marks a big birthday by sending itself up

Comedians Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse have been given licence to lampoon the venerable institution

Tim Key performs at the Arcola Tent, London

Tim Key: Single White Slut, comedy review

Arcola Tent, London

The grin reaper: Barack Obama on ‘Between Two Ferns’

The Week in Comedy: President Obama – it's the way he tells 'em

Comedy - it makes people laugh but can it change the world? Barack Obama thinks it can. This week the President of the United States made his funnyordie.com debut when he agreed to be interviewed on Between Two Ferns.

Comedian Jenny Collier was inundated with support when she revealed how she was told she was no longer required because three of the five acts confirmed to perform at a comedy show – with four still to book - were women

Jenny Collier row: Comedy promoter apologises after dropping female comic 'because venue did not want too many women on the bill'

Jenny Collier took to Twitter after she was dropped because the 'venue did not want too many women on the bill'

Lee grew up outside Birmingham, having been adopted as a baby

Stewart Lee: Beware - this man may be only joking

To some he is toxic and scornful. But behind the contemptuous on-stage persona is a family man who wants his own garden – and counts his luck. James Hanning meets Stewart Lee

Russell Brand cancels string of shows as mother Barbara diagnosed with breast cancer

The comedian confirmed he ditched a string of dates in order to spend more time with his ill mother

Arts and Entertainment
Actors from The Lion King musical perform on-stage

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Derren Brown: Infamous, Channel 4

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Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

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Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
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Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
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Lena Dunham

books
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A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

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Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
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Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

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Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
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Actor and director Zach Braff

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Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

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Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

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The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

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Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
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