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

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.

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".

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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Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
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footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
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An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
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Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
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Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
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George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
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Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
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Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?