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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Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
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View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
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Arts and Entertainment
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Morrissey pictured in 2013
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England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
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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
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine