Arts and Entertainment

With stand-up dominated by the one-comic-and-a mic-form of observational humour, it's little wonder that some comedians are seeking more alternative modes of expression to set themselves apart. The Boy with Tape On His Face distinguishes himself with a joyously retro presentation of silent, performance-led humour, while the bestowal of the Edinburgh Comedy Award on Phil Burgers last year, for his mute, sexualised and playfully scary bouffon Dr Brown, echoed and endorsed the stand-up circuit's burgeoning interest in clowning.

Noël Coward: In His Own Words, Compiled by Barry Day

In his introduction to this slim volume, editor Barry Day tries to argue the case for Coward as a weighty thinker, deeper and more profoundly political than his lightning one-liners have led us to believe. Wit, Coward said, should be "a glorious treat like caviar", not "spread about like marmalade".

Sarah Sands: Emma Thompson is the true lady of Brideshead

"It's our turn now," says the young soldier at the end of Brideshead Revisited, and so it is. Do not mind the old incumbents who moan that Diana Quick can never be robbed of her role as Julia Flyte, or that Jeremy Irons conveyed more emotion as Charles Ryder. Instead, there is a fashionable distaste for barmy old faith and self-restraint. Brideshead has become better looking and more shallow.

Why are they famous ?: Emma Thompson

Main claim

Somebody to lean on

She's your mate but she's old enough to be your mum. CAYTE WILLIAMS on the friends who really know how you feel

The Independent Recommends: Film

"WHAT WENT down on the way to the top," screams the poster for Primary Colors (left). After the Starr Report, you don't really have to watch Mike Nichol's rather respectful political satire to find out what did go down, but it still makes for entertaining viewing. John Travolta, as the sexually incontinent presidential candidate Jack Stanton, gives an uncanny impression of Clinton and Emma Thompson frumps it up as his wife. But the real acting honours go to Adrian Lester as the political ingenu who falls in and out of love with his charismatic boss.

Teen girls urged to follow star role models

A PANEL of "role models" for teenage girls, including celebrities such as the former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, the heptathlete Denise Lewis, and the pop starlet Billie, is to be set up by the Government as part of its drive to promote women.

Film: The Big Picture - All too black and white

PRIMARY COLORS (15) DIRECTOR: MIKE NICHOLS STARRING: JOHN TRAVOLTA, EMMA THOMPSON 143 MINS

Travolta reveals Clinton's prime sense of humour

THE director of Primary Colors, the top film at the Cannes Film Festival, was yesterday accused of cutting an interracial love scene between Emma Thompson and black British actor Adrian Lester.

You and me against the world

The mother-daughter bond is always a complex one, but in the emotional aftermath of divorce or bereavement, the females of the family often forge a new intimacy with all the passion - and the pitfalls - of a love affair. Hettie Judah reports

Interview: Andrew Davies: Bombazine doyen takes a break

His name is on all the classics; now he has his own screenplay. James Rampton talked to Andrew Davies

A FAMILY MAN

THERE IS A MOMENT in Ang Lee's The Ice Storm when a father stands, suitcase in hand, in the doorway of his son's bedroom. "I'm back!" he announces cheerfully. His son stares at him as if he's never seen him before. "You ... you were gone?" he stutters. It is the axis upon which the whole film rotates. After "Pinteresque silence" and "Hitchcockian suspense", we may one day talk about "Ang Lee excruciating family moments".

Television: Listen with mother, for adults only

LAST WEEK a very polite woman reader from the Home Counties wrote to the editor of this newpaper to complain about me. In a stern but good- tempered way, she admonished me for my excessive use of sexual imagery, and - in particular - for imagery associated with penises and nipples.

US gapes at Bill, the Hollywood super-stud

An entire nation is gripped by allegations that Bill Clinton indulged in a "kind of sex" with Monica Lewinsky, a 21-year-old work experience trainee, then told her to lie about it. The White House is in pandemonium. It is a script even Hollywood would have had trouble dreaming up.

Film: Em and Phyllida keep it in the family

The self-deprecating Phyllida Law didn't have a `blazing career' until her son-in-law, Kenneth Branagh, made her a star in `Peter's Friends'. Now she is co-starring with her daughter, Emma Thompson, and, she tells James Rampton, she found the experience both easy and emotional.

Media: If lunch is for wimps, make mine a light one

Every now and again word goes round that there's a hip show on television, compulsory viewing, at least for potential cultists. They rarely happen at midday, which is why `Light Lunch' is something special. It's all about Mel and Sue but Monique Roffey wanted to know why.
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Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
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A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
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fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
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Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
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Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
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Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
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Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape