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.

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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent