Arts and Entertainment
 

Comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen is reported to have quit playing the lead in an impending Freddie Mercury biopic due to a disagreement with the remaining members of Queen.

Mime artists sweep awards in Edinburgh

Comics give another meaning to the phrase speechless with laughter
A protester dressed as Ali G, Sacha Baron-Cohen’s creation from Staines, complains about the ‘pointless’ change

Staines, home of Ali G, tries to go more upmarket

The late comedian Kenneth Horne, master of the double entendre, used to tell a joke about a town in London's commuter belt with a somewhat unfortunate name: "How to get rid of unsightly Staines – blow up the bridge and burn the cinema!"

A protester dressed as Ali G, Sacha Baron-Cohen’s creation from Staines, complains about the ‘pointless’ change

Welcome to 'Staines-upon-Thames' (no Ali G jokes...)

The town formerly known as Staines has renamed itself to create a more genteel sound. But is it all a massive mistake?

Sacha Baron Cohen: UN was scared of my 'dictator'

An unmasked Sacha Baron Cohen has revealed that the United Nations barred him from shooting The Dictator at its New York headquarters because his comic portrayal of a Middle East tyrant would embarrass the heads of member states.

General Aladeen, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, will grace our cinema screens this week in The Dictator

General alert: From Staines to Wadiya, I is da man!

North African despot General Aladeen hates the West and is just weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade plutonium. No laughing matter - unless you're a Sacha Baron Cohen fan

Being Modern: Alt.Christmas

As the forces of commerce gather for the fast-approaching festivities, we would do well to guard against another stain that has, of late, indelibly marked the spirit of the season: "alternative" takes on our cherished traditions.

The Weekend's TV: Operation Crossbow, Sun, BBC2<br/>PhoneShop, Fri, Channel 4

How the Spitfire called the shots

Staines considers name change to shed comedy connection

A town is considering a change of name in a bid to shake off links with the comedy character Ali G, local councillors said today.

'Is it because I has a mankini?' Ali G creator to take on Queen

Sacha Baron Cohen to play Freddie Mercury in a film about the star's colourful life

The fine art of the mockumentary

Casey Affleck's spoof film 'I'm Still Here' follows a grand tradition of blurring the line between fact and fiction

Sacha Baron Cohen sells 'goat film' to Paramount after bidding war

He achieved fame as the white gangster-rapper Ali G, before wowing Hollywood as Kazakh TV presenter Borat and gay fashion journalist Brüno. Now Sacha Baron Cohen is preparing to unveil a fourth alter ego. No one is entirely sure of the new character's name yet, but his job description will almost certainly involve goats.

Brüno is threatened for ridiculing terrorist group

Sacha Baron Cohen, the creator of Ali G and Borat, has stepped up his personal security after a Palestinian militia group issued a veiled threat over its portrayal in his latest film, Brüno. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades said it was "very upset" about a scene in which Baron Cohen, playing a gay Austrian fashion reporter, ridicules Ayman Abu Aita, a man identified as the terror group's leader.

'Brüno' too hot to handle for film censors

Film company protests after Baron Cohen film is given 18 certificate

Simon Baron-Cohen: Ali G's smarter cousin and Britain's leading expert on autism

George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, once amused journalists at a Conservative fringe meeting by regaling them with tales of his ability to retain odd facts. Perhaps, one of them asked, he was "faintly autistic"? Referring in turn to a much-touted rumour that had been doing the Westminster rounds, Osborne replied: "We're not getting on to Gordon Brown yet."

Night falls on daytime TV's king and queen

Richard and Judy's 21-year screen career at an end as digital channel show is axed
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas