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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'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk