Voices

It’s day nine of my 10-day Italian detox, and I have to admit to feeling seriously blissed out. I’m so relaxed that it actually makes me uncomfortable, it being such a rare thing in my existence. I spoke to my wife and kids on Skype, and watched them bickering away back in my normal existence. I told them to calm down and not talk to each other in that manner. Something in my new spiritual persona jarred with them and they all stopped arguing with each other and stared at the screen.

Actor Richard E Grant was also among the invitees

Page 3 Profile: Richard E Grant, actor

A Withnail and I sequel on the cards? It was the lead role in the 1987 classic that put Grant, then a jobbing thespian, on the map. There are no plans to revive the alcoholic Withnail character, but Grant will star later this year in a Doctor Who Christmas special. It is believed he'll play the villain. It's not the first time he's been involved in the show. He played the Doctor in 2003 online animated series Scream of the Shalka, and starred as the unofficial "Tenth Doctor" in a 1966 Comic Relief sketch.

Grace Dent on Television: The Hoarder Next Door, Channel 4

Nigel is encouraged to tidy in a frock. It doesn't solve much, but we get to have a gawp

Diary: Starkey caught in Mouse trap

Readers keen to confront David Starkey about the views he espoused on Friday's Newsnight could do worse than book a seat for his afternoon speaking engagement on 11 September, part of the Thames Festival.

Last Night's TV: Polar Bear: Inside Nature's Giants Special/Channel 4<br />Dance! The Most Incredible Thing about Contemporary Dance/BBC4

How's this for a fact? Polar bears are so fat that even if they don't eat for eight whole months they'll still be fine. They're practically supermodels! Or this: their penises have bones in them. Huge ones. Giant white pieces of calcium.

Dom Joly: One moment, tweeting fun. Next, a cell with Piers Morgan

It's been a very weird week. I'm still on my never-ending tour of the UK, being driven from one place to another, one lonely dressing room to the next. I spend a lot of time on Twitter whiling away the solitary hours.

Cooper Brown: Laurence Llewellyn Bowen

The Celebrity Rally thing is really looking good. It’s going to get a lot of press and we’re getting some big names signed up now.

Diary: Prezza backs wrong Piers

As if a 100-foot billboard of Piers Morgan in Times Square wasn't sufficiently sickly, the rookie CNN interviewer's marketing team yesterday dispatched large boxes of resolution-busting CNN/Morgan cupcakes to newspaper offices across London, no doubt hoping to secure favourable reviews for their man's first outing with Oprah. (I poked it down with tea, sipped from my similarly bizarre Sky News/Adam Boulton mug, received a day previously.) The cupcakes were as nothing, however, to the surprise one loyal reader of this column registered upon learning that former Deputy PM John Prescott had joined the smug one's cheerleading squad: Prescott, it seemed, was tweeting that he planned to stay up until 2am (Morgan's live transmission time), to pull a "Piers All-Nighter". Of course, when said reader rubbed his/her eyes, they realised that Prescott's links led, instead, to live footage of the filibustering House of Lords debate on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – also known as the "Peers' All-Nighter". Sleep has never seemed so inviting.

Dom Joly: I had a spot of bother on the Didcot line

I associate Christmas with pressure mostly – pressure to see people I don't really want to see, pressure to buy things that people don't want for people you don't like, pressure to give your kids the full "Christmas experience", bah humbug.... This was why I found myself in the admittedly glorious Mandarin Oriental hotel in London – slap bang in between Harrods and the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. The last time I was at this hotel, I was outside as a paparazzo, waiting for Pierce Brosnan to emerge. When he eventually did, he stamped on my foot and called me an "annoying fat fuck" while still smiling sweetly for the camera.

Dom Joly: Drop in for my finest crocodile foot and smoky water

I have become totally institutionalised after my time in the Australian jungle and it's taking me quite some time to readjust. I find myself asking permission for everything – my kids look at me in amused disbelief as I ask them whether I can use the loo. At night, I have terrible dreams that involve Gillian McKeith sporting a set of pants made from tarantulas – she is screaming and demanding I wash a spoon so that she can eat some tofu .... I wake up sweating and frightened.

Mr Happy goes native: Dom Joly reveals what he learnt in the &lsquo;I'm A Celebrity&rsquo; jungle

For 20 days, Dom Joly withstood the tarantulas and tantrums of 'I'm a Celebrity', his moves controlled by a jungle army of 500. So what did he learn?

Dom Joly: Jungle fever!

Our much-reduced writer tells all about his longed-for release from a sodden camp, strange alliances, and a desperate quest for the Test score

Julie Burchill: Leslie Nielsen &ndash; the Hamlet who found wisdom as a clown

I was well-pleased to read in the obituaries of the actor Leslie Nielsen – who died this week at the age of 84 – that he had started out as a serious actor, but decided against it in later life. "I've finally found my home," he said, upon being cast in Airplane! in his fifties, when critics warned that he was being cast against type and bound to fail. Indeed, so much did he prefer the mask of comedy to the mask of tragedy that even in his own time he liked to stand in a crowded elevator, urge the palms of his hands to mimic flatulence and then apologise sheepishly. What a guy!

Diary: Do the decent thing, Gary

This column had been wondering when it could expect Gary Lineker's principled resignation from the BBC's Match of the Day over Panorama's FIFA investigation, given that he so quickly relinquished his Mail on Sunday slot when that paper's Lord Triesman sting put England's 2018 World Cup bid in jeopardy. "The story... and the actions of the Mail on Sunday in publishing it have undermined the bid to bring the World Cup to England," he said at the time. Yesterday, however, Lineker wrote in The Times that he was "unsettled" by Panorama's timing, but while there was "a lot of debate about whether media coverage has damaged our attempts to win... in terms of the bid, they are irrelevant." Lineker, 50 this week, glossed over his change of heart with a headline-grabbing birthday interview for BBC Sport, in which he confessed to having discreetly voided his bowels on the pitch during England's opening match at the 1990 World Cup. Meanwhile Manish Bhasin, after crying himself to sleep, dreamt once more of being trapped forever within the faux-warehouse walls of The Football League Show.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there