Bill Bailey

Heard the one about Channel 4?

It was the home of anarchic humour in the Eighties and now it wants to define comedy for a new generation. Ian Burrell discovers why the broadcaster is playing it for laughs

The Snow Queen, The Coliseum, London

Michael Corder's The Snow Queen is glittering but bland. Adapting Hans Christian Andersen's tale for English National Ballet, he has chosen sparkling Prokofiev music with traditional designs and classical steps. He gives the dancers plenty of technical challenges, but not much to get their teeth into.

Cultural Life: Bill Bailey, Comedian

I read a lot of books because they inspire my material. The Reluctant Mr Darwin by David Quammen is an extremely well-researched account of Darwin's life after he came back from his South American trip on the Beagle. He lived in Kent with his wife, a devout Christian, which made him question his own thoughts on evolution. I read The God Delusion. Parts of it were brilliant but Richard Dawkins loses it a bit. He says that people who are religious are not as intelligent as people who aren't. This zeal about evolution is just as evangelical as the zealots that he's trying to belittle. Born Yesterday: The News as a Novel by Gordon Burn guides you through events of 2007 but cleverly worked into a novel.

Back to basics: Forget wallpaper and fancy furnishings, Sally and Mark

"We understand that people might not get it," says Sally Bailey, co-owner of mail order company Baileys, "but it's what we like." We are standing in her spare room at Whitecross Farm in Bridstow, Herefordshire, and she is pointing to a stack of old solicitor's deed boxes, which are being used for storage. Next to them is a bed with a frame made from old scaffolding, and suspended from the ceiling on a long cord at shoulder-height is a naked lightbulb. The walls are unfinished.