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.

Big laughs: Why do we turn to stadium comedy whenever the economy becomes a sick joke?

Russell Brand and Al Murray are packing out London's 15,000-seat O2 Arena

<a href="http://julianhall.livejournal.com/3496.html">Julian Hall: Zadie on comedy post-mortems</a>

It is customary at this time of year to suggest stocking fillers - or should I say sack-fillers given that the most prized gifts from the comedy world will be the plethora of stand up DVDs currently available. Frankie Boyle, Michael McIntyre and Russell Howard spring to mind as good buys.

<a href="http://julianhall.livejournal.com/2341.html">Julian Hall: Loony bins and 'rubbish' jokes</a>

It goes without saying that someday you will be offended by a joke. You might have been one of those 30,000 recruits to the Brand/Ross complaints bandwagon, you might well have cringed when Billy Connolly made his infamous Ken Bigley joke a few years ago or you might hide behind the sofa when Frankie Boyle is in full swing with Madeleine McCann jokes to the right of him, paedophile jokes to the left of him.

Russell Howard, Wembley Arena, London

"If I pull back this curtain you can see the rest of the venue. It's massive, and at the end of it there's a big picture of Lee Evans." So went Russell Howard's self-deprecating take on a concertinaed Wembley Arena and previous comics who filled the full version. Nevertheless, the gig rounds off a sold-out 70-date tour that has included a number of nights like this where Howard's audience has topped 3,500.

Stephen Glover: A new battle between generations threatens to undermine the BBC&rsquo;s values

Last week’s row concerning Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand could be described as a culture war between those who respect traditional standards of decency, and those who don’t. It could be more precisely represented as a culture war in which the over 45s and the under 30s are pitted against one another.

You write the reviews: Benefit for Macmillan Nurses and Multiple Sclerosis Society, Comedy Store, London

There was a 10 per cent drop in ticket sales at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival box office, possibly due to a lack of public interest or thriftiness as recession looms. But this gig at central London's world-famous Comedy Store was sold out.

You Write The Reviews: Frankie Boyle, T5 Club, Derby

Regular viewers of Channel 4's Mock the Week tap into a rich vein of humour from some of the sharpest knives in the comedy drawer, including the presenter, Dara O'Briain, Andy Parsons and the young pretender Russell Howard. But one of the keenest blades is Frankie Boyle, the caustic one with the spectacles. So it was with high hopes that I went to see the scathing Scotsman on the Midlands leg of his first national tour.

Last Night's TV: The ice man cometh and melts the heart

Polar Bear Week With Nigel Marven, Five; Live At The Apollo, BBC1

Edinburgh Festival: So who are the jokers in the pack?

Stand up and be counted: Mark Wareham checks out the talent at this year's comedy contests
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor