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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Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis