Arts and Entertainment

The form has changed but the impulses remain the same. The quickening of the heart can lie in an inbox too

Television comment: Fewer gags, but more laughs

At the end of last month, at the Edinburgh TV Festival, the comedy writers Marks and Gran (Birds of a Feather and many other hits) sought to explain why - among other things - British TV comedy is at a low ebb, and why American comedy is so often regarded as being better.

Comedy - it's a serious business; CINEMA

As Jacques Tati's `Jour de Fete' is re-released, David Thomson recalls the movies that have made him laugh the most

Theatre: Meet Europe's movers and shakers

Stunde Null QEH, SBC, London

CINEMA : An icon tested to the point of deconstruction

If you were watching the trailer with half your mind on something else, it would be easy to mistake Clint Eastwood's Absolute Power (15) for an uninteresting film. There's that title for a start. It has a nasty case of the John Grishams: seeming very macho and awe- inspiring (Men jousting! Testosterone overload imminent!) but actually saying something smaller and less meaningful than a stoat's capacity for remorse. Then there's the story.

Rugby Union: Wood primed for heavy duty forward conflict

Chris Hewett meets the Lions hooker relishing rugby union's front- row hell in South Africa

Auntie flexes her muscles in television's hard sell

Television executives from all over the world have been flocking to Brighton this week to snap up the best of the BBC's output and help Auntie supplement her licence fee income.

At last: a critic who really makes a mark; TELEVISION

"Thats all very well," said my partner last Sunday, putting aside my efforts at TV criticism with an air of slight exasperation, "but what readers want to know is whether a programme is any good or not." "That,"

TVEYE With James Rampton

COMEDY LESSONS FROM AN OLD MASTER

Marinated in gin...

also showing...; Trees Lounge Steve Buscemi (15) Conspirators of Pleasure Jan Svankmajer (nc) In Love and War Richard Attenborough (12) She's the One Edward Burns (15) Fierce Creatures Robert Young / Fred Schepisi (PG) Powder Victor Salva (12) Harriet the Spy Bronwen Hughes (PG)

QUEEN OF PARTS: PROFILE

Actress PRUNELLA SCALES talks with James Rampton

PARIS DAYS ; French TV zapped by the trash barons

I can date precisely the moment I decided Paris was a hardship post. It was a Saturday at around 5.30pm (or 4.30pm in Britain). I was listening to the BBC World Service coverage of the third round of the FA Cup. Fifteen minutes before the end of the commentary game, and the round-up of final scores, a smug, schoolmistressy voice, announced (with a tone of sadistic glee): "We are now going over to the world news in German..." Panic.

Serial killers

The creators of 'Shooting Stars' and 'Father Ted' may feel it is time to move on - but viewers may think otherwise. Untimely deaths or getting out while the going's good? By Thomas Sutcliffe

Women trouble

MUSICAL Nine Donmar Warehouse, London

No more Fawlty hotels

Tourists should be spared the trauma of staying in Basil Fawlty- style hotels when they visit Britain by being offered a national star-rating system for holiday accommodation, a cross-party Commons select committee said.

Profile: Ben Elton: Older, wiser quieter?

Writer and comic BEN ELTON talks with James Rampton
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Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea