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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How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue