Arts and Entertainment On the cutting edge: Johnny Vegas, from the Face of Satire exhibition at the BFI

On 26 February, Spitting Image will celebrate its 30 birthday. BBC Four will mark the occasion with a special episode of Arena which promises to tell the “vexed and frequently hilarious story” of the sketch show which ran for 21 series between 1984 and 1996 and marked a high point in British satire.

Real life: Some mother's son

LENNIE JAMES was a child when his mum died. Then he met Pam. On Mother's Day, he says thanks to them both

Letter: Art-house variety

Sir: Emma Cook complains that the National Film Theatre offers "little diversity" in its programming (Irritations of Modern Life: Art- house Cinemas, 10 February). However, to take one example, films being shown on 10 February included: My Name is Joe; Body Politics Part One: The Feminine; The Stationmaster's Wife; Les Diaboliques; and Rush Hour. That is: British Socialist Realism; the Avant-Garde; New German Cinema; French Noir; and contemporary Hollywood.

The Irritations Of Modern Life: 29. Arthouse cinemas

THEY ARE a Mecca for the highbrow middle-classes. They can be twee and trendy; like London's Ritzy, Screen On The Green and Coronet, or as wholesome as brown bread; the National Film Theatre. Either way, they're no fun.

Cinema-also showing: Hell hath no fury like a sister scorned

Hilary and Jackie (15) 54 (15) Practical Magic (12) Class Trip (15) The Merchant of Four Seasons (no cert) The Polygraph (no cert)

New Year disco giveaway: film tickets & Gordon's Gin

Prepare to boogie like it's 1979 with the National Film Theatre's "Discoland" season of films, sponsored by Gordon's. This glittering selection of dancefloor classics includes Saturday Night Fever (6 Jan) and Carwash (17, 19 Jan), Paul Thomas Anderson's recent Boogie Nights (30, 31 Jan), The Last Days of Disco with Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale (22, 24, 27 Jan), and a special preview of the latest in the current disco revival, 54 (13 Jan). This stars Michael Myers as Steve Rubell in a recreation of the glory days of the outrageous Manhattan discotheque. Other hit disco movies featured are Can't Stop the Music (9 Jan, above), Xanadu (7 Jan, below right), Gay Disco Shorts (11 Jan), The Music Machine (14 Jan), Thank God It's Friday (15, 22 Jan), Disco TV (18 Jan) and ABBA the Movie (23 Jan). We have a case of Gordon's gin plus a pair of tickets to five different films in the Disco season and an NFT membership to give away to one lucky winner. Three second-prize winners will receive a bottle of Gordon's and a pair of tickets to one of the "Disco" films. Twenty runners-up will receive a pair of tickets to a film in the season. For a chance to win, answer the following question: Which former Calvin Klein model starred as Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights? Send your answer on a postcard together with name, address, daytime telephone number and choice of film to: Disco/ Information comp, Promotions, National Film Theatre, South Bank, Waterloo, London SE1 8XT, by Monday 4 Jan 1999.

Film: Beneath the underdog

Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Not a very nice man, by all accounts. However, a major London retrospective of his films in the new year will enable us to examine his talent, which was immense

Letter: Quatermass lives

Sir: So the National Film Theatre has promised an amnesty to people who may have illegally recorded classic lost TV programmes (report, 8 October). I hope the NFT isn't holding its breath waiting for all those recalcitrant hoarders and collectors to start queuing at its doors, eager to hand over their treasures to the nation.

TV's classic shows are missing

DENNIS POTTER, Alan Bennett and The Beatles have all been victims of gross acts of carelessness. Classic television programmes featuring them and other famous names of the Fifties and Sixties are still missing after a six-year search.

Carry On up the cultural reference

"INFAMY, INFAMY, they've all got it in for me". Once, Kenneth William's classic quote from Carry On Cleo, would have been an accurate summary of the British film establishment's attitude to Carry On films. Not so now.

Denmark's Greta Garbo

Actress Bodil Kjer rejected Hollywood, found fame in her homeland and international acclaim at the age of 70 in Babette's Feast. But she still has one regret.

taste: queer cuisine

Experiencing Keith Floyd withdrawal symptoms? Well, there's no need to go cold turkey. As part of its ongoing "Feast for the Eyes" season this month, the National Film Theatre will be tickling your tastebuds with the delicious Camp Cooks and Queer Cuisine, a celebration of that most flamboyant of worlds, television cookery. The compilation is presented by The Independent's David Benedict - no doubt one of the factors that contributed to its sell-out success at this year's London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival - and features sterling performances from Hudson and Halls, Ainsley Harriott and the oft-imitated but always unmatched Fanny and Johnny Craddock (above). And once your kitsch cravings have been satisfied, you can becalm your titillated palate after the screening with the free cup of chilled summer soup from sponsors the New Covent Garden Soup Company.

Film: A harsh look at life on the square

The Polish director Agnieszka Holland convinced Hollywood bosses to let her film Henry James' novel 'Washington Square' in a style that rejects Tinseltown's rose-tinted formula.

Film: Gigi Gaston got the cream

Gigi Gaston, director of `The Cream will Rise', had never made a documentary film. She had barely heard any of the music of the gay icon Sophie B Hawkins, and she certainly had no idea that her probing would prompt such startlingly personal revelations from the pop star.

Film: Make sure you...

Carry on camping. The highlight of the 12th London Lesbian Gay and Film Festival will, of course, be our very own David Benedict who, with Amy Lame, will be dishing up an exploration of "Camp Cooking and Queer Cuisine". Once you've feasted on that, there are over 180 screenings of the best in gay and lesbian cinema, from a Mother's Day of films celebrating mater to rare 70s porn which, it says here, makes Boogie Nights look like Noddy. To 26 March, National Film Theatre, BFI on the South Bank, Waterloo, London SE1; Box Office 0171 928 3232 or visit www.llgff.co.uk

CRIES & WHISPERS: Watch out, Quentin's about

A STARK, chic new poster is about to cover the rising damp in student houses up and down the country. An old actor is about to add a nought or two to his pay cheques. A forgotten rock band is about to be hoisted to the height of fashion. In short, a new Quentin Tarantino film is about to open, and it will have one effect even more pronounced and welcome than the ones mentioned above: the critical genre of Tarantino analysis may start to make some sort of sense.
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