Arts and Entertainment
 

There were fast and furious scenes in the fictional London Borough of Walford yesterday as EastEnders stars put the pedal to the metal while shooting the soap's most explosive stunt ever.

Chequered career: Harlequin wields the 'slap-sticks'

Theatre review: Harlequin Goes to the Moon - The Harlequin moonshot is go! Rain permitting …

A country churchyard lush with meadow flowers, a coop of happy hens nearby …. The seductive location is typical of where The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company nightly strikes its stage. Each summer, they tow their two-storey wagon to commons and stubble fields across England’s southern counties. In style, though, they are travelling players of 16th-century Italy. It’s just a pity they can’t have Italian weather. 

DVD/Blu-ray: Crooks in Cloisters (U)

There's plenty of "cor, blimey" and "me ol' China" chat in this horribly dated British comedy caper from 1964.

Actor Victor Spinetti, star of The Beatles’ films, dies aged 82

The veteran Welsh actor Victor Spinetti has died of pancreatic cancer, his agent said today.

Comedy writer Ronnie Wolfe dies

Comedy writer Ronnie Wolfe, one of the creators of TV comedy classic On The Buses and many other sitcoms, has died at the age of 89.

Letter from the editor: The weakest link

BBC Parliament (504 on Sky, 81 on Freeview) is likely to garner record viewing figures at 2.30pm today when a reluctant Rupert and James Murdoch will appear before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee, to be followed at 3.30pm by their ex-CEO Rebekah Brooks.

Terence Longdon: Actor whose credits included 'Garry Halliday', the 'Carry On' films and 'Ben-Hur'

Between 1959 and 1962 the hero of Saturday-evening television was Terence Longdon as the eponymous Garry Halliday, ace commercial-airline pilot, international man of mystery and the BBC's answer to Patrick McGoohan's Danger Man.

Win one of five copies of the classic Tony Hancock Collection on DVD

We're comedy connoisseurs here at The Independent - and we love to share - so we've decided to give away five copies of the Tony Hancock Collection on DVD.

Freedom of London: Streets paved with gold

The Freedom of London was once a licence to print money. These days it's yours for just £25. Samuel Muston visits the Guildhall to discover why

Last Night's TV: Hattie/BBC4<br />Mary Portas: Secret Shopper/Channel 4

Hattie Jacques is cooking Christmas dinner for family and friends, and it's not going entirely well. One of the turkeys has been burned and, as Hattie is giving the gravy a stir, the ash from her jutting cigarette drops into the saucepan. "Don't tell anyone about the secret ingredient," she hisses at the friend standing next to her, and quickly stirs it in. The subject of Stephen Russell's biopic Hattie – the latest in a line of BBC4 dramas about the private lives of television's early public figures – was the rather more interesting secret ingredient that Hattie was about to add to her marriage a live-in lover called John Schofield, who displaced John Le Mesurier from the marital bed and sent him into glum exile in the attic.

Alan Hume: Cinematographer who switched between James Bond and the Carry On films

In 1976, Alan Hume was standing on a snow-covered, 3,000ft-high rock on Baffin Island, north of Canada. As the second-unit director of photography on the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), he had to capture the breathtaking, pre-title, ski-jump sequence.

Fire to mark last orders for Eastenders' Queen Vic

One of the UK's most famous pubs will go up in flames as EastEnders' Queen Vic is destroyed by fire later this year, TV bosses confirmed today

Leading article: Love hurts

What is the "worst thing that has ever happened" to the British acting profession? Was it the murder of Christopher Marlowe? Maybe the 1737 Theatrical Licensing Act, which empowered the Lord Chamberlain's Office to censor plays? Perhaps it was the Carry On films?

Barbara Windsor calls time on Eastenders role

Peggy Mitchell is leaving Albert Square, it was announced today, and the EastEnders scriptwriters must now decide whether she goes vertically or horizontally.

Simon Carr: Brighter than Brighton with baffling Boris

Sketch: The other Eastend blond wades into 'stale and miserablist' Labour
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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain