Arts and Entertainment Paul O’Grady, best known for his drag queen comedic alter ego, Lily Savage, has strong views on benefit reform

Viewers complained the comedian's strong opinions were not challenged

Frank Skinner: Frank and fearless

Frank Skinner's new sitcom is full of gags, as you'd expect from the king of earthy humour. But he has a darker edge too, he tells Gerard Gilbert

Benn vs Davis: politics meets the music hall

Public Services Debate, Royal Festival Hall, London

Wit loses its working-class heart

The repertoire included "You only sing when you're fishing!" and an obscene numberinvolving Captain Birdseye

Perrier winner signs with Sky

SKY TELEVISION has paid pounds 3m to sign the Perrier Award winning comedian Al Murray.

Behind the scenes of British comedy, two hard men fix the funny money

AVALON, THE comedy company at the centre of the storm when Frank Skinner fell out with the BBC this week, admitted yesterday that it is "ruthless and will stop at nothing" in pursuing its clients' best interests.

Now Baddiel joins queue of talent leaving the BBC

SKY ADDED David Baddiel to its collection of BBC deserters yesterday, paying pounds 5.5m for a new sitcom written by, and starring, the comedian.

Skinner makes a sky-high demand so BBC walks out

THE BBC has walked away from contract negotiations with the comedy star Frank Skinner because of his "ridiculous" demands for money, it said yesterday.

Profile, Frank Skinner: A bloke for all seasons

Something dark lurks behind the loutish charm of the lad who is now at the centre of a multi-million TV bidding war

Banned pub landlord in last chance saloon

THIS YEAR'S race to win the Perrier Comedy Award entered its final stage yesterday when five acts were named in a shortlist. The winner will be declared on Saturday.

A play for three characters, a cast of thousands

Soon after Yasmina Reza's play Art opened in Paris in 1994, the French playwright received a telephone call from a woman she had never met. "I am in Paris," said the voice. "I am the wife of Sean Connery and I want to meet you immediately." Micheline Connery had seen the play, loved it, and told Reza when they met at the Paris Ritz that she wanted to buy the film rights. To Mrs Connery's surprise, Reza was not interested. Her dream was to put the play on in London.

Sport on TV: Age of nostalgia in close-up and super slo-mo

HOW MANY great sporting moments have you witnessed in the flesh? Not many. How many have you seen on the telly? Every single one, I bet. Most people's recollections of such occasions are framed by the TV screen. It's nostalgia in close-up and super slo-mo, embellished with opera scores, indy bands and techno beats.

Comedy: Gig Of The Week - Frank Skinner

Frank Skinner Tue

Fashion: Is it worth it? Return to sender

Fancy making a few bob? Write to someone you think will be the next Elvis, wait for a reply, then flog it
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scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
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David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
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techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
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peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
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food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
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Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
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Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
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Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape