Arts & 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...

COMEDY: RICHARD WHITELEY PLEASANCE

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

COMEDY: BILL BAILEY GILDED BALLOON

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

Theatre

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

LEICESTER LAUGHS

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.

THE EYE ON...COMEDY

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)
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