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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University Edible Garden, Leeds – a sustainable garden in the centre of the university, passers-by can help themselves to the home-grown produce
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz