Arts and Entertainment

With stand-up dominated by the one-comic-and-a mic-form of observational humour, it's little wonder that some comedians are seeking more alternative modes of expression to set themselves apart. The Boy with Tape On His Face distinguishes himself with a joyously retro presentation of silent, performance-led humour, while the bestowal of the Edinburgh Comedy Award on Phil Burgers last year, for his mute, sexualised and playfully scary bouffon Dr Brown, echoed and endorsed the stand-up circuit's burgeoning interest in clowning.

Steve Richards: The coming 'Yes' vote will be explosive

I cannot see voters rejecting the chance for change in a referendum when the anti-politics mood is so strong

Firth expected to reign at BAFTA awards

The final preparations for today's Baftas presentations are under way with more than 1,000 canapes being prepared, 540 magnums of champagne on ice and some of the biggest names in showbusiness getting ready to walk the red carpet.

Terence Blacker: The upstairs, downstairs society

Pin-striped and in a chauffeur-driven car, Andrew Neil has been driving around Britain in search of privilege. In this week's BBC documentary Posh And Posher: Why Public School Boys Run Britain, he argued that, after a couple of decades of relative classlessness, meritocratic Britain is pretty much dead. It was the closing of grammar schools which caused the problem.

Culture Club: Readers review The King's Speech

Readers review this week's big film

'King's Speech' tops UK box office

Colin Firth film The King's Speech has notched up another victory by topping the UK box office.

The King's Speech (12A): The IoS review

Firth's stammering monarch is a sh-sh-shoo-in for an Oscar nomination

King's Speech carries British indie film awards

Colin Firth's new film, The King's Speech, scooped five gongs at the Moet British Independent Film Awards last night.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1: Mixed cauldron from critics

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1, the latest instalment of the blockbusting series, attracted mixed reviews from the nation's top film critics today.

Meet Oscar, the misogynist

Hollywood's leading women say movies tipped for Academy Award success are biased towards male actors

DVD: The Gruffalo (U)

A ridiculously starry cast – including Helena Bonham Carter, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, James Corden and Robbie Coltrane – voice this witty adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's children's tale of a shrewd little mouse who outwits a ravenous snake, owl and a fox with the threat of a gruffalo, a creature with terrible claws, orange eyes and purple prickles all over its back. In the old days, one voice – Bernard Cribbins, say – would have voiced the whole lot, no trouble, but this was the centrepiece of the BBC's Christmas schedule so they threw the kitchen sink at it.

Helena Bonham-Carter

In an item in Amy Jenkins's column last Saturday, 'One big happy family three separate houses' (27 February 2010) Amy Jenkins wrote that Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton live in two separate houses next to each other and that the nanny and two children live in a 'third house in the same street'. In fact the entire family live together in a single home that is fashioned from three adjacent former artist's studios.The comment that this arrangement is 'not so much eccentric as chilling', is unfounded and we accept that Helena Bonham Carter is a caring mother and apologise to her for suggesting otherwise.

Curiosities of Literature, By John Sutherland

Though every page testifies to the well-stocked mind of Sutherland, it is particularly revealing of his chain of thought.

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Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
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Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
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Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
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Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
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Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
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Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
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Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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