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.

Stressed Eric and Famous Fred are the talk of the toons

OSCAR hopeful Joanna Quinn received a boost last night when she won a top prize at the British Animation Awards.

Classical cinema: New series - It could be the greatest film ever made

PERHAPS if it had always been called Tales of the Pale and Silvery Moon After the Rain it would be better known. At least that gives a hint of ghostliness. Yet that title could have sounded exotic or obscure; we do not really expect to be bowled over by the poetry or ceramics of 16th-century Japan. In America, the film is called just Ugetsu - maybe that one word seemed to some distributor to be in the same league as Godzilla! Something like "Ugetsu - Was She Dead or Alive!" We call it Ugetsu Monogatari (1953), and 45 years after it was made, it is timeless, beautiful, heartbreaking. Just because so few of you knew it, and just to give Citizen Kane some relief from the burden that may be its obituary, let's propose that Ugetsu Monogatari is the greatest film ever made.

Film: Free radical

Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin so alarmed a British government worried about naval mutiny that the film was banned. Now, 100 years after the director's birth, we can appreciate Eisenstein's genius afresh, writes Richard Gott

South Bank salvation

With all the dreadful films that are traditionally shown on television at this time of year, the only solution for many is a Christmas trip to the NFT

The Kaufman show takes centre stage

Full of fire, invective, mischievous wit and knowledgeable analysis, the select committee report reflects its author. Presiding over the weekly sessions of inquiry Gerald Kaufman has turned a parliamentary formality into the best show in town.

Film: Revenge of the mad camera fiend

In 1960, 'Peeping Tom' disgusted the critics and nearly ruined Michael Powell. Tonight, it's on TV. By Ian Christie

Good Venue Guide 10: National Film Theatre, SE1

Date of Birth: 1957.

Obituary: Vanda Jones

At a time when visiting the National Film Theatre in London was both a treat and a pleasure and one felt that the management cared about the comfort and welfare of the members, the imposing and grandly welcoming figure of Vanda Jones was prominently visible in the theatre foyer, always available for conversation, praise or complaint. She knew many of the members by name, recognised and greeted them, and always revealed a deep understanding and true love for cinema.

Fight films: The gospel according to Rector

Harry Mullan pays tribute to the men who committed canvas to celluloid

Eye am a camera

IMAGINING REALITY: The Faber Book Of Documentary eds Kevin Macdonald and Mark Cousins, Faber pounds 20 ,


The National Film Theatre kicks off its first television festival, TV97, with a Coronation Street bonanza. Combining feature previews, workshops and on-stage events, the festival (6-10 February) offers public access of a kind normally reserved for members of the television industry. Highlights include behind-the-scenes revelations from Channel 4 News and the nation's favourite Northern soap. In association with the Independent on Sunday, the NFT is offering an all-expenses-paid trip to the Coronation Street set in Manchester for one reader and their guest, plus 10 runners-up prizes of day passes to the festival.


With his fuzzy head of curls and droopy Sixties tash, pioneering actor, jazz musician and film director, Mike Figgis, doesn't resemble your typical Renaissance man, or, for that matter, a power-broking player in the movie business. Yet this unorthodox Geordie has the kind of rocket- fuelled energy and charisma to succeed at three careers when most of us can only scratch a living from one.

Did the guy look good?

Howard Hawks is being celebrated at the NFT - a reason to be cheerful


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Compton Cricket Club

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