Arts and Entertainment

Despite my obsession with Game of Thrones and Lucy Worsley’s The First Georgians right now, I am still televisually smitten with MTV’s Catfish. The show that exposes online love fraudsters. The throwaway youth TV show that one’s mind just cannot throw away. Instead, one sits post- episode genuinely saddened that our human need to love and be loved is so destructive. Or that  the earth’s supply of gullible optimists may well be infinite.

High spirits: comedian Pippa Evans, co-founder of the Sunday Assembly

The Week in Comedy: All smiles on Sunday with a radical take on religion

It wasn't your average Advent Sunday service. It started with a rousing chorus of Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' and ended with Abba's 'Waterloo'. In between there was a poem dedicated to Tony Wilson, a mini rave and a Danish clapping game. This was Sunday Assembly, a "godless church" which has one aim - to celebrate life. It has all the trappings of a traditional Sunday service – a sermon, songs, readings, community notices, a collection, tea and cakes – but none of the religion. Its only creed is live better, help often, wonder more.

The winner of the 2013 'The World's Biggest Liar' competition Mike Naylor

Story of mythical marine creature takes top prize at Cumbria's World's Biggest Liar competition

Mike Naylor, aka Monkey Liar, defeats tall tales of 11 fibbers to claim £25 prize

Christmas cheer? Simon Amstell

The week in comedy: 'Tis the season to buy jolly DVDs

It was Super Monday this week – the comedy industry's equivalent to Super Thursday, when publishers flood the bookshops with celebrity memoirs and other sure-sellers for the festive market. So on Monday DVDs by Miranda Hart, Reginald D Hunter, Micky Flanagan, Jack Dee, Eddie Izzard, Jimmy Carr, Bill Bailey, Seann Walsh, Keith Lemon and others hit the shelves.

Indyplus video: TV and Film trailers

Andy Kaufman officially died in 1984 but his brother insists he's alive

Andy Kaufman is 'alive' claims his brother

His brother said he had received a letter from the comedian in 1999

Debate: Russell Brand has called David Cameron a ‘filthy, dirty, posh w****r’. Has he gone too far?

Russell Brand has elbowed his way back into the headlines with a controversial appearance on Alan Carr's Chatty Man show, to be broadcast on Friday.

Russell Brand's revolution: If it looks like this we're joining

There’s been a lot of talk about revolution recently.

5 reasons Eddie Izzard would make a good Mayor of London

Comedian Eddie Izzard has confirmed his intention to run for London Mayor in 2020.

Therapaws: Can animals help to revive memories in the elderly?

First the Mayhew rescues the animals. Then the charity sends them out to help rescue the memories of residents at the capital's care homes. Craig McLean joins them on their rounds.

Fry: Angry at ‘this topsy-turvy smothering of debate’

Stephen Fry hits back at accusations of Islamophobia

Stephen Fry has spoken of his frustration at being labelled an "Islamophobe" for criticising the violent acts committed by some Islamists.

Book review: I Laughed, I Cried, By Viv Groskop

Who'd want to be a stand-up comic? Well, nearly everyone nowadays. What used to be an eccentric calling has become a huge business. Comedians are on chat shows, panel shows, even Question Time. Stand-up used to be a trade for misfits. Today it's a career plan.

Mike Winters: Comedian who forged a popular but troubled double act with his brother Bernie

Although always in the shadow of the great Morecambe and Wise, Mike and Bernie Winters were British television's other popular comedy duo during the Golden Age of Television. Mike was straight man to the gormless twit played by Bernie, who wore a bowler hat, pulled a toothy grin, grabbed his elder brother's cheek and called him "choochy face". The pair's boisterous, unsubtle, knockabout humour and music-hall crosstalk kept them at the top for 15 years and the professional partnership ended only when brotherly acrimony resulted in their splitting up.

Bridget Christie

Can we now stop asking if women are as funny as men?

Bridget Christie won this year's Foster's Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe

The Crazy Gang, hamming it up in 1941, 10 years after several acts joined forces

There's less to laugh about now, and it shows

Changes in society over the past century mean that whole areas of life, such as class, are generally off the agenda for comics. Satire has replaced joke-telling

Clowning around: Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Phil Burgers' workshops are a hit with fellow comedians

With stand-up dominated by the one-comic-and-a mic-form of observational humour, it's little wonder that some comedians are seeking more alternative modes of expression to set themselves apart. The Boy with Tape On His Face distinguishes himself with a joyously retro presentation of silent, performance-led humour, while the bestowal of the Edinburgh Comedy Award on Phil Burgers last year, for his mute, sexualised and playfully scary bouffon Dr Brown, echoed and endorsed the stand-up circuit's burgeoning interest in clowning.

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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
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Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
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In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
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Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

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Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
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Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

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Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference