News

Tom Daley has broken his silence on his alleged gay relationship with screenwriter Dustin Lance Black for the first time

TV review: Crackanory will struggle to have one tenth of the lifespan of its role model

In January 1966, a 17-year-old model, Lesley Hornby, had her hair cut short by celebrity Mayfair stylist Leonard – and Twiggy and her gamine crop went on to become an icon of the Swinging Sixties.

Josh Widdicombe

Josh Widdicombe: The Further Adventures of...,Soho Theatre, London

Rosy-cheeked Devonian Josh Widdicombe is a young man in the pink. The 29-year-old is currently enjoying exposure on Channel 4 in The Last Leg with Adam Hills and his stand up continues to go from strength to strength.

Thomas Sutcliffe: The comedy guide to anti-Islamic prejudice

Social Studies: Comedians know that you can take a short cut to a laugh by way of a received opinion

Last Night's TV: Child Genius: Five Years On / Channel 4<br/>Monte Carlo or Bust / ITV1

Whizz-kids who just want to be normal

Sun, sea, sand, sensation: Page-turners to transport you away from it all this summer

As the glut of politics, sport and reality TV filters away from the news to make way for silly season, it's novels that will provide the thrills for the next month or so. And this year there is no shortage of gutsy, gripping page-turners.

Last Night's Television: Bruce Forsyth: A Comedy Roast, Channel 4<br />Embarrassing Bodies: Charlotte's Story, Channel 4

The point about a comedy roast – spectacularly missed by the newspapers who indignantly reported on Jonathan Ross's insulting remarks about Bruce Forsyth recently – is that the guest of honour is on the spit. An essentially American institution, in which showbiz entertainers gather for what the Scots would call a flyting – or an insult contest – the whole idea is that you let them have it with the best you've got. Offence and embarrassment don't have an invitation, since the only breach of good taste at such events would be to serve underarm because you thought the recipient couldn't handle anything tougher. What's really interesting about them, though – apart from the occasional pre-prepared aces – is that embarrassment is always lurking about there somewhere, waiting to pounce on the possibility that a friendly insult might have strayed just a little too close to a nerve. And in the first of Channel 4's Comedy Roasts it looked to me as if embarrassment was spending quite a lot of time near Jimmy Carr and Jonathan Ross.

The feral beast: Pearson's Telegraph return?

She came from the Daily Telegraph: could Allison Pearson now be going back? Excited chatter reaches me that the Daily Mail columnist may be leaving after four and a half years.

Frank Skinner to front new BBC2 show

Frank Skinner has signed up to front his first BBC2 series since Fantasy Football in the 1990s.

Best showbiz books for Christmas

During the last decade, show-business autobiographies have monopolised the Christmas bestseller lists, and in December it's hard to see beyond the LightEnt memoirs that clutter up booksellers' front desks. Most are pap of course, but there are usually few gems amid the dross, and this year's haul includes several remarkably good books by TV entertainers. The pick of this bunch is My Shit Life So Far by Frankie Boyle (HarperCollins, £18.99). As you might expect from such a self-deprecating title, Boyle is supremely disparaging about virtually everything, from his Spartan Scottish upbringing to his comedy career. His main claim to fame is as a panellist on Mock The Week, a pretty flimsy premise for a full-length autobiography and his healthy contempt for television ("a shiny bauble used to distract morons while they're having their pockets picked") makes this a refreshing antidote to the usual feelgood books by TV stars.

Jack Dee: the BBC&rsquo;s populism is no joke

Jack's back with a new series of 'Lead Balloon', an autobiography, a job hosting 'I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue' &ndash; and gripes about BBC management. Ian Burrell meets the deadpan Mr Dee

Clued-up for a new start

The 'antidote to panel games' is back on air next week &ndash; this time without Humph. Alice Jones assesses the show's new hosts

Stand up and be counted: 30 years of the Comedy Store

When the Comedy Store threw open its doors, it rewrote the joke book. Julian Hall celebrates 30 years of mirth - and 10 comedians recall their first, nerve-wracking, appearances there

Terence Blacker: Reggie Perrin, still a hero 30 years on

As with this great character, people are still bored and yearn for change

DVD: Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 6, (Warner)

The trick played by this hit semi-improvised sitcom is to make you sympathise with a character who should make you sick.

Sport
Lionel Messi pictured after reaching the final
world cup 2014
Sport
Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller have shone brightest for Argentina and Germany respectively on their way to the World Cup final
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?