Arts and Entertainment

The Week in Radio: Williams was quick on his feet, and willing to cover mishaps with self-deprecating humour

Julie Burchill: We still love a joke, it's just that the real funnymen left the building long ago

The ignorant bigotry of Bernard Manning has been replaced by the cowardly, preening, calculated bullying of comics as different as Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle

The Horne Section: Songs in the key of silly

It's the perfect match. The improvised musings of the country's best comedians combined with the free-form noodlings of a five-piece jazz band. When The Horne Section debuted at Edinburgh this summer, it quickly became the talk of the Fringe. Punters clutching pints queued round the block for the occasional, lightly shambolic midnight shows. Jimmy Carr dropped by to rap out 10 one-liners over 10 different beats, Tim Minchin improvised a song about cheese and Tim Key performed a track by the Russian punk band Leningrad. There were burlesque dancers, shared bags of chips and 2am Bon Jovi singalongs, led by Josie Long with Mark Watson on drums.

Brand wins major comedy award

But Russell is not there to collect it - unlike namesake Jo, who also triumphs

First Night: 10 O'Clock Live, Channel 4

They had the big stories, but where were the big laughs?

Matt Gatward: A harsh light shines on Sue and her new friends

View From The Sofa: A Question Of Sport/Freddie Flintoff: Ashes Warrior, BBC1

Croydon – from concrete hell to cutting edge?

A new arts and entertainment initiative aims to do for the unlovely borough what the Guggenheim did for Bilbao

Fringe Notes: 25/08/2010

* Tim Key called on a few friends to launch his "unnecessary poetical album on vinyl" at Avalanche Records this week. Alex Horne played French horn and Nick Mohammed the violin. Album tracks include such hit poems as "Bob and the Pipe", "Janet/ Gannet" and "The Date" read over a string quartet.

Gary Delaney: Purist, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Sustaining a one-liner oriented show for an hour or more is a tricky business. Even the best practitioners, like Jimmy Carr and Steven Wright, have found it a stretch.

A little less conversation, a little more action

Jonathan Ross is moving to ITV with a new chat show – but it’s time to retire this tired, old format, says Gerard Gilbert

TV panel shows - I'm sorry they haven't a clue

The same few hackneyed comedians keep cropping up on TV panel shows. Fiona Sturges doesn't see the funny side

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.

Observations: Aczel is a shambles of a comic success

"There will be some mild amusement and a little boredom," says the comedian Ed Aczel, introducing his act. It's hardly the ringing endorsement that you would expect, but that's the way Aczel rolls. Coming to comedy late via an evening course (he continues to hold down a regular job as an account manager for employee benefit schemes), Aczel, 42, graduated from it as bemused as he came in, a state that dictates his style. Slightly embarrassed, awkward and deliberately lacklustre, his shtick has won him second place in the BBC New Comedy Award within 18 months of starting out and a leg-up from Jimmy Carr's Comedy Idol competition, in which he came second in 2006. Carr went on to declare Aczel's 2007 Edinburgh show "the funniest thing on the Fringe" on The Culture Show.

Jimmy Carr found guilty of speeding

Comedian Jimmy Carr was convicted of speeding.

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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

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Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
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Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker