Arts and Entertainment

When Alan Ball quit vampire drama True Blood at the end of its fifth season, he knew he was taking a risk. Few US show creators choose their exits – indeed The Walking Dead appears to sack one a season – and to leave, as Ball did, for an as-yet-untested show is the biggest risk of all.

Last night's television: Prodigy's passion is far from spent

Alex: A Passion for Life (Channel 4), Micro Men (BBC4), Scrubs (E4)

Don't call us Cougars

They're looking for 'fun and friendship' from younger men, and are found on TV, movies and in a bar near you. The 'C' word has caught on, but not everyone is happy about it, says Susan Daly.

Observations: MySpace singer Joshua Radin Scrubs up nicely

There's a man at the top of Carnaby Street singing "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright". No, it's not 1964. It's last Thursday. And the man in the floppy felt hat and sunglasses, strumming and singing for the benefit of a gathering crowd, is not Bob Dylan; he's 35-year-old Joshua Radin. Not everyone in the crowd knows who Radin is, but they stay to listen to his songs – and if they watch any US television, there's a good chance they've heard some of them before.

James Moore: Friends just says 'no'

Outlook: Cowdery's Resolution made institutional investors a fortune and they hope he can repeat the trick.

Last Night's TV: Gok's Fashion Fix, Channel 4<br />Scrubs, E4<br />Grey's anatomy, Five<br />Heroes, BBC2

Naturally, I get a lot of enquiries from members of the public eager, having seen the above photo, for my style advice. To save you the trouble of asking, this season's big look is: lots of hair! Corduroy suits! And glasses! Just like last season, in fact, and several seasons before that. Because style never goes out of fashion. Still, for those who can't carry off the corduroy look, there's always programmes such as Gok's Fashion Fix, in which Gok Wan offers fashion advice to the nation. He is assisted in this by Alexa Chung, who, I am assured by my friendly neighbourhood teenagers, is cool to a world-historic degree – so cool, in fact, that in dating the lead singer of the Arctic Monkeys, she is actually slumming it a bit. But it's undoubtedly Gok who is the main attraction here, partly because of his encouraging manner – where Trinny and Susannah would offer a sharp intake of breath, he's more likely to give a joyous shriek of "Girlfriend!" – but more because he is one of those few blessed or cursed beings who swim through television as naturally as an otter through a stream, never seeming as if he is consciously performing. In this, he is the natural heir to, say, Davina McCall and Robert Robinson (whose ability to stand utterly unfazed in front of a camera is the subject of some grousing in his memoirs). To be fair, I can't imagine Mr Robinson ever congratulating Geri Halliwell on purchasing a pair of gold shorts from River Island for a mere nine quid with the words "Girlfriend, that's a Gok high-five", and not only because his name isn't Gok.

Prom Night (15)

It's prom night for blonde teen queen Donna (Brittany Snow), but she's a bit jumpy from flashbacks to three years ago when her family were brutally slaughtered by a maniac obsessed with her.,/p>

"You're gonna have so much fun," her aunt tells her, but we know different: said maniac has just escaped from his maximum-security jail and is now inside the hotel where Donna and her friends are whooping it up. It's basically the sort of old-fashioned stalk-and-slasher one might have supposed the Scream movies had made obsolete. Some hope. I kept thinking of Woody Allen's line to the "crazy killer" in his play, Death: "You could be using your time constructively... Take up golf – be a crazy golfer!"

Celebrating Linda Smith, Crucible Studio, Sheffield

Linda Smith would be surprised and possibly even horrified at how busy Warren Lakin has been in celebrating her since the nation's favourite funny person died in 2006. He was, she stipulated, her "boyfriend" of 23 years (she reserved the word "partner" for business), giving him ample opportunity in their life together – as he did her typing and booked her gigs as well as driving her to them – to observe and appreciate her individuality.

Obituary: George V. Higgins

IT IS unquestionably unfair to dub any writer a one-book man, especially when he's published well over 20. Nevertheless in the case of George V. Higgins the fact has to be faced. He wrote superbly dialogued, complexly plotted, richly characterised novels - yet all just a slight variation on the same basic riff. And, as the years went by and the books stacked up, the similarities began to stand out, hardly helped by their author's reliance, more and more, on pure dialogue, to the point where narrative - scene descriptions, back-story, the intricate social hinterland against which the novels' events were played out - virtually disappeared. Until, in essence, all that remained was "two guys gabbing at each other" - or even one guy soliloquising for paragraph after paragraph, page after interminable page.

Regime at Scrubs faces total reform

THE PRISON Service has drawn up a 118-point action plan to save the notorious Wormwood Scrubs jail by turning it into one of the most progressive prisons in the country.

A dust-up with the Scrubbers

Councils may cast a greedy eye on London scrublands, but they are havens for animals and humans alike.

Guards? We're just good friends, say prisoners

SPARE A thought for the poor, misunderstood prison officers. It just isn't true they are a bunch of unfeeling tough guys and even harder women. New research shows they are as nice a bunch of people as you are likely to come across.

Scrubs staff back at work after sit-in

PRISON OFFICERS mounted an angry protest at Wormwood Scrubs jail yesterday after 25 colleagues were told they would be charged over alleged assaults on inmates. Prisoners were forced to remain in their cells as 100 officers staged an all day sit-in in the chapel.

Officers face jail beatings charges against Scrubs officers beatings

TWENTY-FIVE prison officers from Wormwood Scrubs are to be charged with offences linked to assaults on inmates after the biggest criminal investigation at a jail.

Officers to be charged over jail beatings

TWENTY-FIVE prison officers from Wormwood Scrubs are to be charged with assault-related offences on inmates after the biggest criminal investigation at a jail.
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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
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism