Arts and Entertainment Brace yourself: Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves in 'House of Fools'

Vic and Bob have done sketch shows (The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer), web series (Vic & Bob’s Afternoon Delights), comedy dramas (Catterick, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)) and the greatest quiz show of all time (Shooting Stars), but until now they’ve never done a sitcom as sit-commy as this. Their new show, House of Fools (BBC2), is filmed in front of a live studio audience, and the duo play Odd Couple-style flatmates in a home filled with bizarre bric-à-brac and beset by unwelcome visitors.

South Africa captain Graeme Smith and teammates with the ICC mace

Jonny come lately can't save Strauss from the bloodlust

Bairstow promises much but his captain's future is unclear. By Kevin Garside at Lord's

Hot chicken salad with sweet mustard dressing, by Simon Hopkinson

Hot chicken salad with sweet mustard dressing

2 cooked chicken legs
A little sunflower oil
2 big handfuls of salad greens: mâche (lamb's lettuce), watercress, rocket (if you must), small spinach leaves or a mixture of all four
A tiny squeeze of lemon juice
A little olive oil
A little finely chopped shallot (or chives or spring onion)
Some peeled and sliced cucumber

Minted cucumber soup with fried halloumi

Ladled with love: Mark Hix's fresh, vibrant and healthy soups

Warm or chilled, soup makes guests at summer dinner parties feel cherished, says our man in the kitchen.

Minted cucumber soup with fried halloumi

Minted cucumber soup with fried halloumi

Serves 4

Lucas's Au Naturel : crude joke or an exercise in colour, shape and texture?

Sarah Lucas: Ordinary Things, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds
Another London: International Photographers Capture City Life 1930-1980, Tate Britain, London

Don't laugh: Sarah Lucas's erotic work may bring naughty postcards to mind, but in reality she's as classical an artist as Cézanne or Michelangelo

Lamb with cucumber and mint

Lamb with cucumber and mint

Serves about 10

Smoked mackerel, cucumber and caper salad

Serves 4-6

Kimya Dawson, Bush Hall, London

Kimya Dawson is sporting an enormous pink and blue afro. It's as if candyfloss met a cartoon rain-cloud sign for depression over her head. Which is pretty apt: to the strumming and fingerpicking of her acoustic guitar, she sings in that funny little voice about friendship and silver pink ponies, but also people dying of cancer, her own mental health, and struggles with addiction.

Mark Hix: A light touch with pasta

Pasta doesn't have to mean heavy, high-carb dishes – our resident chef creates delicious and healthy recipes for summer

Shirataki noodles with cucumber and ponzu

Serves 4

Hawksmoor: The food is American and trashy… and absolutely delicious

On The Menu: Short ribs, an open book, cool canapés, tomato treats and an ode to bacon

This week I've been eating... Short ribs

1. Duchy Originals Sweet Pea with Mint, £2.99, waitrose.com:
A classic summer soup done remarkably well. It's graceful, fresh and as pea-y as you'd expect. Benefits from a dash of pepper.

The 10 Best summer soups

For a simple supper, give salad a swerve and sit down to an even more refreshing meal in a bowl...

Simon English: Tomorrow is not the end of the world, so relax

Does the end of the world start tomorrow? If you read too much of the wrong sort of publication (put that newspaper down sir, back away slowly) you could comfortably conclude that it does, even in face of the evidence that people who think so have been wrong every day so far. An alternative view: markets go up, markets go down. Their daily movements should not be taken so seriously. Billions get wiped on more often than they get wiped off. Panic selling almost never occurs (trust me, it doesn't often work like that).

The battle among foodies to be the first to discover a brilliant new burger is hotting up

Trending: Find your perfect burger via a new app

The battle among foodies to be the first to discover a brilliant new burger is hotting up. Now there's an app for that, says Sophie Morris

Paul Vallely: Big trouble hits British asparagus

Cooks must make do with... foreign brands
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there