Arts and Entertainment
 

Jack Whitehall was crowned King of Comedy at the ceremony in London

TELEVISION / Personal services: Of course, things have never been the same since That Was the Week that Was . . . Oh yeah? Jim White says satire is alive and spitting

The comedian Victor Lewis Smith once reduced the production staff at That's Life to a pool of gibbering liquid with a particularly savage telephone gag. Posing as a disabled trombonist, Lewis Smith rang to ask if he might be auditioned for the show. A member of Esther Rantzen's team showed growing excitement as Lewis Smith played the trombone passably. But the mood altered dramatically as he pretended to collapse out of his wheel-chair in a death swoon.

CINEMA / On Cinema

British film comedy is usually thought of as cosy; an old cardigan you can't bear to be parted from, no matter the stains, rips and moth holes. Ealing and all that, you know.

Growing pains: Who needs the hassle of a garden?

For all the hype about how gardening is becoming the fashionable pastime, few people under the age of 40 will admit that they enjoy it. This is perfectly natural. Gardening is tedious, time-consuming and ultimately soul-destroying, especially in London.

Bunhill: Generosity lies in the eye of the receiver

AN upcoming biography of former Private Eye editor and Pressdram chairman Richard Ingrams makes an astonishing claim. According to the book, Lord of the Gnomes, the Eye solicited and received a substantial amount of money from Lord King - he of British Airways. Strange bedfellows, you may think. And you'd be right.

New DJs fail to halt Radio 1 slide: Audience now 3.5 million down on same time last year

THE BBC's controversial decision to axe many of its most famous Radio 1 broadcasters for a young generation of disc jockeys and an assortment of news, comedy and religious programmes, has led to a decline in audience figures.

Bunhill: From our mailbag

WELCOME to the corner reserved especially for you, the reader. And, following my interest in the BBC's political editor, this from John Webb of Tottenham: 'Re: this Robin Oakley chappie. Am I the only person who thinks that he is actually Harry Enfield?' Next, a Mr C D Powell of Southsea contacts me about Graham Greene's four nipples: 'Your comments remind me of the character Scaramanga in the James Bond story, The Man with the Golden Gun, whose extra nipple was supposed to suggest great sexual potency. Does anyone know if Alan Clark is thus endowed and what colour weapon he uses?' Thank you, Mr Powell] And keep those letters coming, everyone]

Dear Harry Enfield: A fond farewell to the comedian's rib-tickle-tabulous DJ characters, Smashie and Nicey. Now maybe it's time to disconnect the ubiquitous Mr Cholmondley-Warner ..

The news has finally percolated out of the offices of Radio Fab FM that Smashie and Nicey have spun their last disc. You have announced to a quite literally gob-smacked nation that you are to kill off this pair of toupee-tastic broadcasting jocks.

Style: Best-distressed man about town: You've got the cast, now find the cast-offs. John Windsor meets the man behind television's wardrobe

Really, Mr Grayson] Your moustache may be immaculately clipped, but I happen to know your dapper three-piece, chalk-stripe suit was bought secondhand in Brick Lane, east London, for a paltry 20 quid. I saw it last week on a rack of costumes reserved for your mentor, Harry Enfield, behind the counter in an industrial unit containing the country's biggest collection of contemporary men's hire costumes.

Half-smile on show for the cameras: Director-General of the BBC re-emerges in public as support for his position strengthens despite continuing controversy over his tax affairs

JOHN BIRT had his back to the wall yesterday as the controversy over his tax arrangements continued. But it was by choice; indeed it was by prior arrangement.

Four-minute opera cracks the record

IT IS the world's shortest opera: from overture to curtain call in the time it takes to boil an egg.

Profile: It's such a laugh being somebody else: Harry Enfield, Mr I-don't-think-I'm-funny-as-myself

Rod Stewart was re-united with the Faces; U2, the world's most popular group, turned up in force; and kd lang, the world's most wonderful singer, belted out a number. There was no disputing, however, who was the star turn at last month's Brit Awards, the rock business's annual junket of self-congratulation. And he wasn't even a pop singer.

TELEVISION / Talking out of his arias: Giles Smith on Harry Enfield's Guide to Opera

Harry Enfield said his interest in opera was awoken like any other ordinary punter's: he caught a few bars in the adverts; he dabbled at home with some arias and highlights on record; he started to experiment with the harder, full-length operas on CD; he began going out to score at concerts. And from there it was just one inevitable slow slide into presenting his own Channel 4 series on the subject. (Ordinary punters may find this last stage of the addiction less easy to get to.) So, here's Harry Enfield's Guide to Opera, dedicated to popularising Puccini and his chums, but more importantly (let's face it) dedicated to popularising Harry Enfield, which, after the brilliant Harry Enfield Television Show, hardly seems necessary.

Newman and Baddiel. What a joke]: Girls scream, students queue, tills ring. But who's really laughing at this pair of comedians, and do they care anyway?

WHO ARE the most successful comedians in Britain this Christmas? Whose current video will be popped into more stockings than those of Harry Enfield, Rowan Atkinson and Bernard Manning combined? Who sold out more shows at the 3,500-seat Hammersmith Odeon on their recent British tour than Bob Dylan managed the last time he was in Britain? And who were described by a well- known comedy figure as 'a right pair of arrogant little smart alecs?'

RADIO / Goodbye to the House of Fun?: The BBC is talking about developing 'services of distinction and quality': could this mean the end of Radio 1 disc jockeys as we know them? Martin Kelner worries

APPROACH Broadcasting House from the south, but instead of entering the prow of that stately liner through the great brass doors, take a sharp right into Langham Street. The first building you come to is Egton House.

'Executive game' helps BBC chiefs learn to compete

FOR THE past two days 50 senior BBC executives, holed up in a hotel near the Dartford tunnel, have spent pounds 1.5bn on two and a half years' worth of television programmes.
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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen