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Armando Iannucci recently said that the UK falls behind the US  when it comes to female comedy writers. Do you find it to be a male-dominated industry?

Andersen's English, Hampstead Theatre, London

Sebastian Barry's subtle, speculative new play takes off from a sad yet amusing real-life circumstance.

Polar Bears, Donmar Warehouse, London<br/>Andersen's English, Hampstead Theatre, London<br/>Beyond the Horizon/Spring Storm, NT Cottesloe

In Mark Haddon's first foray into theatre, a manic depressive slips into a decline and takes her saviour down with her

Book Of A Lifetime: Of Walking On Ice, By Werner Herzog

Simple acts of walking are threaded through the fiction of many writers, such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Franz Kafka, who put their characters on the road for compelling reasons. So it seemed an idea to round them all up, and steer them into an anthology called The Burning Leg. Twenty authors gathered. Except my favourite was missing, because his words are non-fiction, though they flow fantastically. Quest, myth and even farce colour the pages of his rich and remarkable diary - the sort of diary that invites you to stop reading before pulling on your Timberlands.

Observations: Joseph Fiennes is the new face of Carte Noire Readers

At the moment we're used to seeing Joseph Fiennes play action man. As the star of the US television sci-fi drama FlashForward, he charges around Los Angeles waving a gun, trying to work out why everyone on the planet simultaneously lost consciousness for 137 seconds.

Martin Jarvis: Voice of the nation

Described as the Olivier of audiobooks, actor Martin Jarvis is the go-to guy for aural adaptations. Tim Walker talks to the man behind the mic

Minor British Institutions: The Trollope Society

It is a fair bet that the vast majority of the British population has never picked up a Trollope – one of the 19th-century novelist's works that is, not a tart. Even for those who made the excursion into Barsetshire and got to know the Pallisers, Anthony Trollope will for ever be under the shadow of his contemporary Charles Dickens.

Leading article: Price of justice

According to Dickens, "the one great principle of the English law is to make business for itself". Nowadays it often seems that the great principle is to run up vast costs, particularly in civil litigation cases.

Fabulous Foden makes the difference for Saints

Worcester 6 Northampton 26: Full-back's moment of magic is key to unlocking hosts' stubborn resistance

Present perfect: Christmas gifts for fashion followers

From bunny ears to designer skis, from killer heels to the ultimate pair of pants, Harriet Walker has the definitive guide for the fashion follower this Christmas

One Minute With: Sandi Toksvig

The Week In Radio: When poetry becomes an adventure

If I had a fiver for everyone I've heard say, "I never watch any television apart from the news and David Attenborough", well, it would probably cover my licence fee. But while there being Nothing on TV has been a staple moan of British cultural life for some time now, radio is in far happier shape. The Rajar figures for the third quarter of the year were good for the BBC, especially Radios 3, 4 and 5 Live. There were all sorts of explanations, including the Ashes and the Proms and global economic meltdown to explain why people were reaching for the radio. Yet perhaps it comes down to the fact that radio simply does some things better.

Charles Dickens, By Michael Slater

Dickens's ruthless ambition grew from family failure. His father constantly ran into trouble with money, and was eventually imprisoned for debt. In what has become one of the most familiar episodes in any writer's life, 12-year-old Charles was sent to work in a dingy blacking factory, sitting in a window to paste labels. Idlers would gather to watch. The shame was overwhelming, but it could not crush Dickens's relish for what London offered, even to a "common labouring boy".

Boxing: A Cultural History, By Kasia Boddy

A triumph of research in an unexpected field, Boddy's lucid study starts with the Greek gagster Lucilius ("Your head, Apollophanes, has become a sieve") before moving briskly on to the boxing obsessions of Byron, who created a pugilistic scrapbook on a folding screen, and Dickens, who inserted punch-ups in works from Pickwick to Edwin Drood.

Charles Dicken's England

That a documentary about the most exuberant comic novelist who ever lived should be quite so plodding as this is really a cause for shame.

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Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks