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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

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British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

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The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
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Pakistani women come out fighting

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Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
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Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
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After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
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