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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Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable