Arts and Entertainment On the cutting edge: Johnny Vegas, from the Face of Satire exhibition at the BFI

On 26 February, Spitting Image will celebrate its 30 birthday. BBC Four will mark the occasion with a special episode of Arena which promises to tell the “vexed and frequently hilarious story” of the sketch show which ran for 21 series between 1984 and 1996 and marked a high point in British satire.

Frankie Boyle: I Would Happily Punch Every One of You in the Face, New Theatre, Oxford

Who better, I thought, to shake us out of credit-crunch fatigue and the cuts commotion than the scything Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle? It's a last act of "kindness" before his early retirement from live performance, announced two years ago and which finally begins at the end of this tour.

Inside Lines: Doomsday Delhi boosts Aussie hopes for 2018

If Delhi is a disaster, who would want to stage a future Commonwealth Games (apart from Glasgow in 2014)? Step forward Hambantota, a tiny port on the south-east coast of Sri Lanka, with a population of 15,000, as one of only two bidders for the 2018 Games. A tad ambitious, surely, for a place still recovering from the effects of Sri Lanka's civil war and the 2004 tsunami. Yet it has surprisingly declared itself as the other candidate alongside Australia's Gold Coast, where the mayor, Ron Clarke, is one of the world's finest former distance runners. Hambantota has the dubious backing of India, but more significantly of China, who have invested £973 million in its redevelopment as one of the region's economic and sporting hubs, with a 37,000-seater cricket ground being built for next year's World Cup. The Commonwealth Games Federation will choose between the two bids at their West Indies gathering in November 2011, but after Delhi's doomsday scenario the Aussies must be feeling rather chipper.

A new Eagle has landed, hopes the British creator of Kick Ass

Judging by the nine-picture deal which Samuel L Jackson has apparently signed to reprise the Iron Man films' eyepatch-wearing superspy Nick Fury, the appetite for US superhero films isn't expected to die down soon, with outings for Kenneth Branagh's Thor, Captain America and The Avengers also in the pipeline.

Funny money: Britain's jokers are cashing in

Comedians – not rock stars – are selling out some of the biggest venues in the country. Andrew Johnson reports on a joke boom

Richard Herring: On the offensive

Richard Herring grew a Hitler-style moustache for his last stand-up show. When it comes to comedy, everything is fair game, he tells Simon Hardeman

Terence Blacker: Censorship is in the ascendant

The reaction across the political spectrum to the South Park saga has added to its grim comedy. As a culture, we increasingly prefer to play safe and to avoid trouble

BBC Trust apologises over Frankie Boyle's Jew joke

The BBC Trust's editorial standards committee (ESC) has apologised over a joke made by Frankie Boyle which compared Palestine with a cake being "punched to pieces by a very angry Jew".

Last Night's Television: Welcome to Lagos, BBC2, Outnumbered, BBC1

Rich pickings in the waste land

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: If we close our borders, we close our minds

A fear creeps up on me. I hear my late mother's exhortative voice, her frequent warnings: "Don't show your anger to them. They will take away your passport. Then where will you go?" They are those faceless men and women with the power to decide who may enter this country, who has citizenship, who can be incarcerated, handcuffed and thrown back to their sad badlands. The millions of migrants in this country have ingested the message. We are here on sufferance and must never forget that. Capricious new regulations could whip away our hard-earned rights at any time. As the uber-patriot Norman Tebbit once told me on the Today programme, we may have British passports but can never really belong. Last year at Heathrow airport, for reasons that remain unexplained, I was escorted away for a long interview with two non-uniformed men whose tone and manner left me feeling so afraid and helpless I wet myself. All my brio dissolved into piddle. Not funny.

Dom Joly: I'm a man. Why would I want to visit a spa?

"For God's sake Dom, stop looking at the prostitute and keep your eyes on the road." My wife had a point. Our two right-hand side wheels had briefly skirted the deep ditch on the side of the Tuscan country road.

Toby Flood: Wales will be dangerous, but we have to believe we can win this tournament

Starting today, and ahead of every Six Nations weekend, the highly talented fly-half takes us inside the England camp in an exclusive column

Bellamy's People, BBC 2<br/>Horizon: Pill Poppers, BBC 2

Paul Whitehouse returns to form with a gentle spoof of the celebrity road trip that's packed with glorious loons

Our culture critics&rsquo; picks for 2010

From Picasso&rsquo;s politics to &lsquo;The Prisoner&rsquo; and Beethoven to Big Boi, our experts choose their cultural highlights for the next 12 months

Popular fiction eclipses ghost-written celebrity biographies in book charts

His novels have been described as "the literary equivalent of painting by numbers, by an artist who can't even stay within the lines".

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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness