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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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee