Arts and Entertainment The dark side: Bill Bailey

Cultural Life: The comedian on his favourite music, film, tv and theatre picks

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL '98: And not a glimpse of Carol Vorderman...


Edinburgh Festival `98:If music be the food of laughter, play on


Comedy: Edinburgh fever

Going out

Comedy: The show that taste forgot

The word "dangerous" clings to Jerry Sadowitz (right) like a limpet to a rock. It stems from a period when TV commissioning editors found his incendiary material too hot to handle and a member of the audience came on stage at the Montreal Comedy Festival to whack him after an offensive remark.

That was close: Earth dodges death by just 600,000 miles...

For a few hours yesterday it looked as thought that 30-year mortgage might not have been such a smart buy after all, writes Charles Arthur, Science Editor. It was announced that an asteroid a mile wide was whirling towards the Earth, and there was a real chance that unless we took some avoiding action, it would hit us and wipe out civilisation.

Televison: Today's pick

Robot Wars (6.25pm BBC2) Gladiators meets DIY in this surprisingly enjoyable new series, inspired by a format that apparently does good business in the States. Teams of enthusiasts build their own remote-controlled robots (wheelchair motors seem to be the favourite means of propulsion) and then pit them against in-house robots and each other. Weapons include adapted chainsaws, angle-grinders and - most effective of all in this first programme - a pneumatic "tongue" which flips opponents onto their backs. Master of ceremonies is Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson at his most camp. He's assisted by Robot Wars's answer to Ulrika Jonsson - Philippa Forrester - and, best of all, Channel 5's excitable football commentator Jonathan Pearce, who sends his trade up something rotten. Cult material, but it needs better scheduling.

Theatre: Mold and cast are both in good Hands

As ex-RSC director Terry Hands boldly launches his new Theatr Clwyd company with four new productions in as many days, Jeffrey Wainwright hails a new Welsh national theatre in the making.

Edinburgh Festival 97 / On the Fringe: reviews


Knock knock. Who's there? All the guys you see on TV anyway; COMEDY

Stand up comedy is now seen by programmers as televisual Polyfilla. Got an awkward gap in the schedules? Plug it with a half-hour showcase. Need a game-show host? Reach for a satirical monologist. Consequently, the Edinburgh Fringe is no longer the place where you can see tomorrow's TV stars today. In our post-Channel 5 world, in which you can't tell your gran a knock-knock joke without being offered your own late-night talk show, the place to see tomorrow's TV stars today is on TV.

British rugby must protect its core values

As leading rugby union administrators, coaches and players prepare to attend a seminar on the game's future in London tomorrow, Mark Bailey (left), a former England international and current member of the RFU national playing committee, argues that preserving the best of the past will ensure future success


The fourth annual Leicester Comedy Festival runs from 7-16 February. This year's headliners include the 1996 Perrier Award winner, Dylan Moran, American Queen of Comedy, Sandra Bernhard, the marvellous Bill Bailey, the Comedy Store Players and many more. With more than 130 shows spread over the 10 days, plus workshops for aspiring comics, this year's festival will be bigger than Demis Roussos and Phil Jupitus put together.


Jack Dee is at Epsom Playhouse (01372 742555) tomorrow; Redhill Harlequin Theatre (01737 765547) Mon; Maidstone Hazlitt Theatre (01622 758611) Tue & Wed; Hayes Beck Theatre (0181-561 8371) Thur. Tour info freephone: 0891-455488

Rugby Union: RFU supports Rowell

Reports of Jack Rowell's demise as England rugby coach were clearly premature, despite claims in a Sunday newspaper. Twickenham has refuted suggestions that the National Playing subcommittee, which is responsible for England's coaching, had decided Rowell should go.

Comedy: The Hackney Empire 10th Birthday Party

The Hackney Empire 10th Birthday Party takes place on 9 Dec at 8pm (0181-985 2424)
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
A cupboard on sale for £7,500 in London
lifeAnother baffling example of the capital’s housing crisis
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home