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When Chris Christie briefly considered a bid for the White House in 2011, many suggested the popular New Jersey Governor was too fat to be President. However, if he decides to run in 2016 his weight may be less of a burden; in an interview with the New York Post, Christie has revealed that he underwent secret gastric-band surgery earlier this year, and observers say it is already paying off.

Accidental Heroes of the 20th Century: 13: Bill Hicks, American Comedian

SOME TIME in the Eighties serious newspapers started appointing critics to review stand-up comedy, which must have been about the most dispiriting job on the paper unless you actually enjoyed spending endless nights listening to jokes about airline travel and fast food (American comics) or daytime television and masturbation (Brits).

Interview: Harry's game anyone can join in

Harry Hill's humour may be quirky, but it's certainly not exclusive. It even works on Americans. Vanessa Thorpe meets the man who subverted stand-up

Clinton Crisis: Stand-up comics fail to see funny side of Clinton fiasco

CIGARS, ANYONE? How about a little tearful repentance over breakfast? Much of the White House fiasco sounds like the script of a raunchy, off- the-wall comedy show.

Film: Fan Facts: Drew Barrymore star of 'The Wedding Singer'

Cutey pie: The 23-year-old has worked hard to earn her reputation as Hollywood's No 1 reprobate tearaway. She got off to a bad start, starring placidly in a dog food ad at the age of three and cutely in ET at the age of seven (director Steven Spielberg must have been very proud of his god-daughter).

MISSY IN ACTION

MISSY (MISDEMEANOUR) ELLIOTT, the 25-year-old hip-hop performer who is energetically redefining the boundaries of rap music, is a singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and talent scout. Six months ago, few people outside the music industry had heard of her; six months from now, it will be necessary to pretend that you've known about Missy Elliott for years. She is the biggest and blackest female rap star Middle America has ever seen. She is the latest incarnation of an American phenomenon: what US magazines like to call the "New Negro".

Winter Olympics: Rivalry on Ice, the dream show

Remember Kerrigan v Harding? Mike Rowbottom samples the new soap, Lipinski v Kwan

The best medicine

It was a big step, leaving medicine for a career in comedy. But the odd 'bad night' on stage is a breeze compared to nights of watching patients die. And Harry Hill hasn't had a bad night in a long time

Tennis: Wimbledon '97 - Pioline puffs to keep pace with Pete

Richard Edmondson witnesses a one-sided competition set before a Centre Court crowd with a penchant for the clinical finish

Boxing: Holyfield spurns chance to bite back

Last week's dental debacle continues to exercise the imagination of the American public, and Evander Holyfield chose the nation's most public forum, David Letterman's Late Show on CBS television, to air his views.

The post-Lettermen

Now it's Channel 5's turn to try to crack the chat-show format. Ben Thompson reports

Celebs dry up as telly chat goes over the top

More channels mean more talk about less, writes Vanessa Thorpe

Why are they famous?; Ulrika Johnson

Main Claim: Phwoarrrh-ish weather girl made good. Our Ully, a Swedish import, was TV-am's resident weather girlie for three years. Simultaneously exploiting and subverting the job's associations with bimboid blondness, she became a general famous person. She then became a proper presenter on the people's top thickie show, Gladiators. She then became the totally surprising searing wit that is Ulri-ka-ka-ka on Shooting Stars. She has recently topped it all with kitsch ad stardom, seducing Gary Lineker in a crisps ad. "I am just a pair of breasts," she explains.

Star-spangled chat show plugs the Kremlin line

For the devoted viewer of that American institution, the late-night talk show, it comes as a surprise. There's the familiar set, the metropolitan skyline, sparkling with wicked nocturnal promise.

Down and in: Life after politics for new US cult hero

He may have been trounced in the Presidential election. But at the crusty old age of 73, Bob Dole is proving there is life after politics: first as a glowingly reviewed performer on the late- night talkshows - and now as the first major party White House candidate to star in a commercial advertisement.
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'