I got knocked out a few times performing stand-up I did it early in my career as a way to express the punk attitude. [Allen fronted punk act the Atoms in the 1970s.] One night it would feel like I was sleeping with 127 virgins; the next night I'd get my arse kicked after making jokes about the Army. I got knocked out by soldiers twice. I'd get my own back by walking over seats and pissing on people.
In order to practise the skill of persuasive writing, Year 11 pupils at Chew Valley school in Somerset were asked in early December to write to their favourite celebrity asking for an autographed picture.
Claude Miller didn't do lightweight. His best-known film, Garde à vue, an adaptation of the novel Brainwash by the British crime writer John Wainwright, is a dark thriller revolving around the police interrogation of a lawyer accused of raping and murdering two little girls. The viewer is never quite sure whether the inspector, played by Lino Ventura, should pin the ghastly crimes on the suspect, the wonderfully ambiguous Michel Serrault, who knows the law inside out but appears almost too willing to dig himself into a hole.
Ten years ago, Jon McGregor's first short story was published in Granta magazine. "In Winter The Sky" was about a teenager who, driving back home after a romantic tryst, is so distracted by the warm memory of the girl he has just kissed, that he runs over a man and kills him. He doesn't tell a soul. Having long since married the girl, the story ends as he confesses to her the secret that has burdened, and shaped, their relationship. The dead body, its furtive roadside burial, and the baleful weight it has exerted over the years, becomes a metaphor for the unmentionable secrets that couples carry.
Jon Ronson's book about the Pentagon's secret experiments in psychic combat has been turned into a film in the most unsatisfying possible manner.
Spirited thriller the Roman way
Bagpiper, ace golfer and now – at just 19 – the skip of Britain's curling team. Eve Muirhead tells Simon Turnbull why she has gold in her sights
He is one of the few photographers for whom the stars will let down their guard. Lorenzo Agius tells Melanie Abrams the stories behind his best shots
It is the world's longest-running police drama and synonymous with the grit and dark humour of Glasgow. It has featured nearly all of of Scotland's finest actors, and launched plenty of careers. Andrew Johnson rounds up 25 of the best