Julie Burchill: Leslie Nielsen – the Hamlet who found wisdom as a clown

I was well-pleased to read in the obituaries of the actor Leslie Nielsen – who died this week at the age of 84 – that he had started out as a serious actor, but decided against it in later life. "I've finally found my home," he said, upon being cast in Airplane! in his fifties, when critics warned that he was being cast against type and bound to fail. Indeed, so much did he prefer the mask of comedy to the mask of tragedy that even in his own time he liked to stand in a crowded elevator, urge the palms of his hands to mimic flatulence and then apologise sheepishly. What a guy!

Diary: Do the decent thing, Gary

This column had been wondering when it could expect Gary Lineker's principled resignation from the BBC's Match of the Day over Panorama's FIFA investigation, given that he so quickly relinquished his Mail on Sunday slot when that paper's Lord Triesman sting put England's 2018 World Cup bid in jeopardy. "The story... and the actions of the Mail on Sunday in publishing it have undermined the bid to bring the World Cup to England," he said at the time. Yesterday, however, Lineker wrote in The Times that he was "unsettled" by Panorama's timing, but while there was "a lot of debate about whether media coverage has damaged our attempts to win... in terms of the bid, they are irrelevant." Lineker, 50 this week, glossed over his change of heart with a headline-grabbing birthday interview for BBC Sport, in which he confessed to having discreetly voided his bowels on the pitch during England's opening match at the 1990 World Cup. Meanwhile Manish Bhasin, after crying himself to sleep, dreamt once more of being trapped forever within the faux-warehouse walls of The Football League Show.

Matt Baker tipped for One Show as Jason Manford quits

Strictly Come Dancing star Matt Baker has become favourite to take over as The One Show host after Jason Manford quit over his online "flirting" with fans.

Julie Burchill: Gay man lays into women, fine. But when it's the other way around...

My husband claims that it was I who coined the line about Stephen Fry that he is "a stupid person's idea of a clever person". And if I weren't a sober person's idea of a booze-addled person, I might be more useful in remembering whether this is true or not. Whatever, it's pretty damn good.

Stewart Lee: Vegetable Stew, Leicester Square Theatre, London

Sharp show is souped up with jokes

Diary: Anna in from the cold

Nobody since Gorbachev has done as much to heat up relations between East and West as Anna Chapman, the saucy spy who last week stripped to her undies for the cover of Maxim's Russian edition. And Gorbachev's family, it turns out, is aware of Ms Chapman's work. "My husband reads Maxim," Gorbachev's fashion journalist granddaughter Anastasia told me yesterday, "so I'm used to seeing the magazine around the house."

Daybreak audience shrinks again

ITV's troubled Daybreak has seen its audience sink to a new low - drawing just half a million viewers.

BBC trounces ITV in breakfast wars

ITV's relaunched Daybreak breakfast show has slipped a million viewers behind its BBC rival for the first time, audience figures confirmed yesterday.

Daybreak lagging a million viewers behind rival

ITV's relaunched Daybreak show has slipped a million viewers behind its BBC rival for the first time, figures showed today.

The Feral Beast: Pearson flip-flops on benefits

"Take away our baby money at your peril" fog-horned Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday.

'Daybreak' loses a fifth of its viewers

ITV1's new breakfast show, Daybreak, has lost a fifth of its viewers since its first show last week.

Still top of the morning: Channel Five's The Wright Stuff turns 10

The Independent's Amol Rajan, a former 'mic boy' on the show, celebrates its birthday

First Morning: Daybreak, ITV

Chiles and Bleakley's 'Daybreak' looked different – but felt like 'GMTV'

Tony Blair drops in at 'Daybreak' show launch

ITV's new breakfast show got off to a lively start today with a mixture of serious items, features and banter between presenters Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley.

Blair roadshow attracts his foes – and some fans

There will be tight security for ex-PM in London
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Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high