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Since the Second World War, when the BBC provided news and comfort for a nation in great peril, it has played a central role in British life and culture. That is why any proposals for radical change at the Corporation, or any sign that its standards might be slipping, deeply disturb its loyal admirers.

David Lister: One thing we can all agree on is that we can't agree on comedy

I've mentioned before that I have been wary of writing about comedy since I once said that the state of women's stand-up wasn't very good that particular year, and the comedy editor of the magazine Time Out wrote with a straight face: "David Lister should expose himself to more female comedians."

BBC's new pay policy 'could spark media war'

Corporation may never be the same again if it reveals stars' salaries

Yes, Prime Minister, Festival Theatre, Chichester

In the early days of a new hung parliament, the Prime Minister is beset by myriad problems: the cabinet is split, the national debt is rising, the Lancaster House convention is a catastrophe and the new oil pipeline deal with Kumranistan depends on the Turks joining the EU. There's worse to come: the pipeline deal, and a huge dollar loan, further hinges on the material whims of the Kumranistan foreign minister, a weekend guest at Chequers, being properly indulged. And his whim of choice is an under-age sexual partner for the night. "Is he gay?" asks an aide. "If only it were that simple," shoots back the PM.

Producer rejects Mastermind 'dumbing down' claim

Mastermind programme-makers defended the show against "dumbing down" claims.

Benitez refuses to give a straight answer after letting 'speculation' run

Rafael Benitez would give Liverpool fans no assurances last night that he would still be at the club next season as the saga over the manager's future descended into farce at Anfield yesterday.

Election Highlights of the Day: 01/05/2010

Show of the day

American TV audiences are getting a taste for "frumpy old English women."

Brown still sees his economic record as the way to electoral salvation

As Lord Mandelson's speech at Labour's latest "launch event" was abruptly punctuated by the sound of a Volkswagen Golf ploughing into a nearby bus shelter yesterday morning, the gathered journalists could scarcely believe they had been presented with such a ready-made metaphor for Gordon Brown's last week on the campaign trail.

Andrew Martin: Do I have to be ranked on life's league table?

Longing for a return to self-effacing modesty

First Night: University Challenge Final, BBC2

Guttenplan's star performance seals coveted trophy

Your starter for 10...Where is the student who taught politicians how to handle Paxman?

Tom Peck hunts for Alex Guttenplan, star of University Challenge

The Victorians: Britain Through the Paintings of the Age, By Jeremy Paxman

This enjoyable book, written to accompany the BBC series of the same name, doesn't challenge too many of our assumptions about the Victorians. We know now that a stuffy exterior hid many a seedy life, as Jeremy Paxman illustrates with the life of one popular and populist painter, William Powell Frith: he managed to father 12 children with his wife, and seven with a mistress he kept hidden in another part of London.

Jeremy Paxman apologises for using F-word on air during Newsnight

Veteran journalist Jeremy Paxman was forced to apologise after using a swear word during Newsnight.

For the record: 01/02/2010

"There are those I know who think we should be looking for a star broadcaster." ITV chairman Archie Norman defends the decision to appoint Royal Mail boss Adam Crozier as the broadcaster’s chief executive

'Restoration' saved, but BBC pulls down Griff Rhys Jones

Experts on heritage to replace celebrity front man as series on old buildings is revived for new series

Chain Reaction, Radio 4<br/>The Essay: Johnson Now, Radio 3

Success (noun): An entertainment with comedians but no leotards
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
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travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
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Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
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Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
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voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
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The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss