Arts and Entertainment

Mr Memory, who was brought on Monday’s Newsnight to memorise the title sequence and couldn’t even remember that Jeremy bloke with the beard’s name. Gosh I love telly. 

The love that dares to speak its name

"Big bubbly brunette seeks strapping guy, 17 to 25. Living people need not apply. Will provide big black roomy car for romantic getaways." "Middle-aged male seeks one-legged partner. Other leg optional, but must be removeable." "Young male seeks long coil of wire and full-length mirror. But hurry: one of us dies each week in the UK alone."

Axe hangs over drama

Doubts hang over the future of the BBC's £5m drama series Seaforth. A decision is expected before Christmas, Alan Yentob, the controller of BBC1 said yesterday.

Dramatic tribute to Dennis Potter

The celebration of the life of Dennis Potter was both curious and memorable. Little advertised, yesterday's service attracted barely 200 people.

Lottery stays on a losing streak

THE ILL-STARRED run-up to the launch of the National Lottery continued yesterday as the BBC announced that two lesser-known celebrities would present the weekly televised draw and the Millennium Commission, which will distribute pounds 1.6bn of lottery proceeds, went back to square one in looking for a chief executive.

TELEVISION / The ghost in the scheduling machine

IN SPITE OF years of research by top scientists, there is still no satisfactory explanation for the most gripping mystery of all: why, in television reconstructions, do the actors always have plummier voices than the people they portray? We will probably never know.

Street-Porter to head cable TV channel

JANET Street-Porter's long quest to secure one of the most senior posts at the BBC ended yesterday with the announcement that she was leaving the corporation after six years to head the Mirror Group's new television channel, Live TV.

Dear Esther Rantzen: That's Life] is dead, long live Esther] - the Chat Show. That's the script, anyway, but be careful, Esther, you're no Oprah Winfrey

We thought it was all over: the teeth, the striding through shopping centres in search of amusingly-shaped vegetables, the quizzical cocked eyebrow and 'But hang ons' in every show. Twenty-one years of fun, and serious stuff, too.

All good things must come to an end . . . that's life: Rhys Williams recalls the mix of tabloid fun and campaigning that fuelled a TV hit

IF YOU want to stick the boot into That's Life, go no further than Rowan Atkinson's rant on Not the Nine O'Clock News in 1980:

Media: Showman to the chattering classes: Next Thursday, BBC2 celebrates its 30th anniversary. Maggie Brown meets its ambitious Controller

The furore over the high-handed changes to Radio 4 has threatened to overshadow a happier event for the BBC.

Promise to Potter

Alan Yentob, Controller of BBC 1, and Michael Grade, head of Channel 4, have expressed support for the wish of the dramatist Dennis Potter, who is dying of cancer, that the two final plays he is working on - Karaoke for the BBC and Cold Lazarus for Channel 4 - will be screened on both channels.

Long runners

Age: 30. First broadcast New Year's Day 1964 from a converted church in Manchester. The presenter was Jimmy Savile. A six-week run was expected.

REVIEW / Flying in the face of a painful death

'I FELT I was really flying,' said Dennis Potter, winding down after his interview with Melvyn Bragg. He was talking about the conversation they had just had, and you only heard the remark because someone had decided not to tidy up the recording, so that the small-talk not intended for broadcast - the settling in and the getting up - blended into the more considered utterances of the interview proper. It was a good decision, both for deceptive and honest reasons.

FILM / The British Are Coming II: Now hear this: the British film industry is booming. And it is thanks, in part, to Eldorado. Kevin Jackson considers the documentary evidence

It may be tricky to appear gleeful and wry at the same time, but D A Pennebaker was making a fairly good stab at it in Sheffield last Friday. The American documentary director had just screened the Oscar-nominated film The War Room, which Pennebaker co-directed with his partner Chris Hegedus, and he was obviously pleased by the way the audience had chuckled and whooped their way through its absorbing, gloriously funny account of the Clinton election campaign of '92, then given it a prolonged round of applause.
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'