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.

The Top 10 Christmas book chart

Dan Brown's record-breaking mystery thriller The Lost Symbol has topped the book charts for Christmas.

Best showbiz books for Christmas

During the last decade, show-business autobiographies have monopolised the Christmas bestseller lists, and in December it's hard to see beyond the LightEnt memoirs that clutter up booksellers' front desks. Most are pap of course, but there are usually few gems amid the dross, and this year's haul includes several remarkably good books by TV entertainers. The pick of this bunch is My Shit Life So Far by Frankie Boyle (HarperCollins, £18.99). As you might expect from such a self-deprecating title, Boyle is supremely disparaging about virtually everything, from his Spartan Scottish upbringing to his comedy career. His main claim to fame is as a panellist on Mock The Week, a pretty flimsy premise for a full-length autobiography and his healthy contempt for television ("a shiny bauble used to distract morons while they're having their pockets picked") makes this a refreshing antidote to the usual feelgood books by TV stars.

The Stefan Golaszewski Plays, Bush Theatre, London

A bold head on young shoulders

DVD: Michael McIntyre: 'Hello Wembley!', (Universal)

McIntyre has at last found his métier: playing arenas where the audience wants to be entertained and non-believers stay away.

Letters: Organ donation

Organ donation: just ask people what they want

Q. When is a joke not a joke? A. When it's offence

The nation's stand-ups can barely open their mouths these days without causing outrage. So have they gone too far – or has Britain lost its sense of humour, asks Ian Burrell

Terence Blacker: The heroic career of an unserious man

Someone surely should commission a biopic based on the bizarre life of Gyles Brandreth, that Zelig in the world of contemporary celebrity. For more than 50 years, Brandreth has played the fool in one way or another, modifying and varying his act and career as the culture around him changed.

Rebecca Adlington slams BBC over Frankie Boyle rebuke

Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington's agent said the BBC did not take tough enough action against a comedian who joked on TV about her appearance.

Outside Edge (25/10/09)

So Aussie Jessica Watson, 16, begins her attempt to break British 17-year-old Mike Perham's record as the youngest person to sail around the world solo. Well beat this, Sheila. Sail Chapman may have nothing to do with sailing but he has become the youngest to climb all 214 of "Wainwright's peaks" in the Lake District – aged five years and 22 days. He began at the age of two, and his brothers Eire, eight, and Evan, six, had achieved the feat a fortnight before. Sail appropriately finished on Sale Fell, his father David saying: "It's a joke really, it's only a grassy little hill." Surely a case of "competitive dad". Brother Coel, two, has just started his own attempt too. These lads are peaking far too early.

Frankie Boyle: Fierce, fearless... and (expletive deleted) funny

The foul-mouthed Glaswegian comedian is in trouble with the BBC over his joke about the swimmer Rebecca Adlington. Does he care? Andrew Johnson meets Frankie Boyle

Mock the Week rapped over Adlington joke

A "bad taste" joke made by comedian Frankie Boyle on Mock The Week about the Queen did not breach editorial guidelines, the BBC Trust found today.

Terence Blacker: National service: just what's needed

There are skills 18-year-olds should learn. This would be their chance

For the record: 07/09/09

’By going out on the road for a week we are trying to thank as many people as we can,’ Chris Moyles celebrates becoming Radio 1’s longest-serving breakfast DJ by going on tour

Bestival: This year's festivals boast an array of non-musical delights

Everything's on offer, from dance at Womad to comedy...
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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
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