Simon Day, ex of 'The Fast Show', makes his audiences laugh - and shudder

The Simon Day Show, Radio 4, Thursday
A Straight Question, Radio 4, Wednesday
Saturday Classics, Radio 3, Saturday

Welcome back, Mr Day. It's never less than a bracing ride

No doubt Atkinson's first play for 25 years will add to his back catalogue of flawed English stereotypes

Hero or Villain? Rowan Atkinson

On paper, Rowan Atkinson should be easy to hate. A multi-millionaire petrol head, whose brother nearly ran Ukip, a friend of the Prince of Wales, purveyor of hit-and-miss comedy and cash-in spin-offs. A rubber-faced, slimmed down Jeremy Clarkson.

Seann Walsh: 'I don't really like jokes'

I wanted to be a comedian or actor from as far back as i can remember When I was 21, I started putting my name down for open-mic nights and kept on bottling it. All I wanted to do was try it once because I didn't want to die without having done stand-up. Obviously, now I've died loads of times.

How We Met: Chris Cox and Tim Minchin

'I get frustrated by how good he is, but it inspires me to do better'

Between the Covers 06/04/2012

Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books

Album: The Proclaimers, Like Comedy (Cooking Vinyl)

Few bands have the reliably populist touch of The Proclaimers, so it's no surprise to learn there's a musical in the works based on their catalogue.

Paul Merton: Out of My Head, Richmond Theatre

A leading light in British comedy and one of the most-proven funnymen on the planet, Paul Merton is back with his first UK solo tour since 1999, but Out Of My Head is far from the quality you might expect, being weak virtually from start to finish.

Last Night's Viewing: Derek, Channel 4

Ricky Gervais has insisted that Derek, the titular lead of last night's comedy "pilot" is not in his view disabled. Then again, Ricky Gervais thought there was nothing wrong in using the word "mong" to accompany comic gurning on Twitter, so you might not want to rely too heavily on his judgement of fine distinctions in this area. You might reasonably be a little wary about Channel 4's bona fides, too, given the promotional marketing (if not the actuality) of its current series The Undateables. Hardly surprising really that Derek has already stirred up a minor fuss over its propriety. Is this a comic exploitation of a group already subject to far too much callow mockery, or is it, as Gervais would have us believe, an empathetic account of an oddball outsider?

Mirror Mirror (PG)

Starring: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins

Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith star in 'Horrible Histories' on CBBC

Horrible Histories: CBBC meets Royston Vasey

At their most grotesque, they possessed imagination dark enough to spew forth the village of Royston Vasey – a place populated by pen-obsessed sadists, an incestuous "local" couple and a magical man who swanned around in black-face, abducting innocent women from their homes. Now, after 10 years, the League of Gentlemen are back ... on a children's TV show.

Simon English: Disasters don't affect Lloyd's of London bosses

Under what circumstances would bonuses to executives at Lloyd's of London fall? The answer seems to be: under no circumstances whatsoever. Last year was one of "unprecedented catastrophe", in the insurance market's own words. It plunged to a loss of £516 million, the second-worst result in Lloyd's 364-year history. There were tsunamis and earthquakes, floods and typhoons. Death and destruction.

David Baddiel: Comedy and sport: linked by a level playing field

What, apart from Mick McCarthy's nose ("like a Dairylea Triangle just about hanging on to his face", as I read it described on one fansite), is the connection between sport and comedy? When I did Fantasy Football, I discovered that football's status as a subculture allows for a particular kind of comedy: the laughter of those who are laughing more because they know not everyone gets the reference. It's a laugh enhanced by the associated feeling of being part of a club; a club that consists of those who did not just have to google Images: Mick McCarthy.

David Baddiel: Comedy and sport are linked by a level playing field

I think comedians see a parallel universe in the muscularity of sport, in the no nonsense-ness of it

Simon Kelner: Hospitality is just not the forte of the British

I was in Manchester last night, on an intensely private matter. Oh, all right, I was at a football match. Anyway, I was staying at the city centre hotel where I am a regular visitor. In the relatively short time I have patronised this establishment, it has changed names – and, I assume, ownership – three times, and in its latest incarnation it went from a hotel with a short, memorable name – just four letters – to one with a cumbersome, Americanised moniker – three words, 18 letters.

Philip Hensher: Of Blackadder and white women of a certain age

There are voices out there which traditional media neglect through their age, ethnicity, culture, sexuality

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
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People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
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Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
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Paul Scholes column

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Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

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