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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In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
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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
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering