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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Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific