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

Restaurants: We were much amused

Victoriana in Birmingham and Frank Skinner, too. It is all a fantasy for Tracey MacLeod

Comedy: Surfing the comedy waves

His gift for ad-libbing has made stand-up Phil Kay the toast of Eddie Izzard, Bob Mortimer and his other comedy peers. Tonight, he is let loose for a benefit at the Hackney Empire

Advertisers stir up a war with BBC

A television ratings war is set to break out after powerful advertisers urged the ITV network to measure itself only against the BBC. Paul McCann, Media Correspondent, explains the background to the battle for our control buttons.

Skinner's power play

From a club full of anglers to a power station full of punters, Frank Skinner has come a long way in a decade. The secret of his success? Being funny about the great universals of life - football and sex

Television: ITV poaches Beeb talent

ITV's new bosses have raided the BBC's ideas cupboard for its 1998 programming season. New programming chief David Liddiment has poached comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel (pictured) to present a liver version of Fantasy Football League during next year's World Cup finals.

Comedy: Still feeling fizzy? Perrier's past winners

With a forthcoming Radio 4 series which will doubtless magically transfer to BBC2, the League of Gentlemen are in no danger of suddenly disappearing from public view. That has not always been the case with Perrier Award winners, however.

Comedy review: Frank: not a women's magazine

Frank Skinner Apollo, Oxford

Revelations; If I couldn't make 'em laugh it was curtains

The time: Summer 1987 The place: Birmingham The man: Frank Skinner, comedian

COMEDY: Reviews

Frank Skinner, Jersey Fort Regent (01534 500227), 3 Sept; Guildford Spectrum (01483 443322), 4 Sept; Southend Cliffs Pavillion (01702 351135) 5 & 6 Sept. Tour hotline on 0891 887766.

Funny business on the classroom circuit

I was up in London the other day, trying to find out which was the first train I could decently come home again on, when who should I bump into in the purlieus of Soho but my old friend Adrian Wardour-Street, doyen of British PR.

Comedy: We all like you, Jo. So why don't you?

In the 16th century, the prophet Nostradamus wrote: "The present time, together with the past, shall be judged by a great jovialist."

Comedy: Frank's friend left all on his testosterone

In the izzaland over the road from the St Albans Arena, a shy- looking father and his football-shirted son share a difficult meal. There is something touching about their awkwardness. If they could read their futures in the mozzarella, the long-term forecast might be anything, but the short-term would have a degree of reassurance about it. It would say, "You are going to see David Baddiel: a man who has no difficulty expressing his innermost feelings, even though sometimes it might be better if he did".

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