News Game of Thrones series four

BSkyB has signed a new five-year deal for exclusive rights to HBO shows including 'Game of Thrones', 'Girls'

Avenging his way around the world : PATRICK MACNEE

The latest stamp in Patrick Macnee's passport is for Bangkok, where he's been filming for his weekly show Mysteries, Magic and Miracles which can be seen on satellite television in this country.

NO PAIN, NO GAIN

Judging by the latest exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, there is very little the human race has not toyed with in the pursuit of beauty. Indeed, is it any wonder that we have become obsessed with implants and uplifts when you consider that, even in the Elizabethan era, women were painting veins on their skin in an effort to make it appear transparent?

A hat of his time

Patrick Macnee, aka John Steed, quintessential Englishman, cult hero of `The Avengers', tells Leise Spencer about his lesbian mother, bowlers, brollies and the joy of being a one-part wonder

Letter: `Avengers' facts

May I put the record straight. The title of The Avengers was not originally Police Surgeon: that was a different series. Ian Hendry played the lead in The Avengers for 26 episodes; the title was not changed because he was not available after the actors' strike. Honor Blackman never "played a man's part", and Dave Rogers's description of her "rather butch, heavy-handed" playing of Cathy Gale is an insult to her excellent talents (" `Avengers' girl ... was meant to be a man", 27 April).

'Avengers' girl Emma Peel was meant to be a man

She Was the sexiest woman on television: the female member of The Avengers, leather-clad, kinky-booted, and ever ready to land a knock- out blow. Now the secret behind bowler-hatted Steed's sidekicks Cathy Gale and Emma Peel can be revealed: the part was meant for a man.

Why are they famous?; Anna Ford

Main Claim: Newscaster. Woman. That kind of thing.

Obituary: Ronald Fraser

The pompous, blustering tones of Ronald Fraser brought to television and films for 40 years an actor invariably cast as an upper-class gent, not of the David Niven variety, but often prone to seediness and self- deprecation.

SOCIETY: Accent on Scotland

A Scottish accent is the nation's favourite, according to a poll conducted by Cellnet, the mobile telephone network. Eighteen per cent of people found a Scots accent the most appealing. But when asked whose telephone voice was the most trustworthy, nearly half voted for the traditional English counties accent.

Arts: Hold on, let's try that again

With the aid of three assistants, Eddie Izzard gives the ailing art of improvisation some eclectic-shock treatment. By James Rampton

Watch out for the BBC's next offensive

Unlikely as it seems, I have been praying for the BBC. I have been praying that the BBC will come to its senses and not put out offensive material to poison our minds. And now it seems, after a period of despair, that my prayers have finally been answered. First of all, there was the glad tidings that Radio 4 had decided not to broadcast a new "comedy" programme called Eamonn, Elder Brother of Jesus, for fear that it might offend people. The controller of Radio 4, Mr James Boyle, did not say whom it might offend, but I think I can suggest who. Everyone! Elder brothers, Christians, Irish people, relations of Jesus, people called Eamonn, the Christian Brothers - almost everyone. James Boyle said his decision had nothing to do with his being a Catholic, but it was plain that Catholics would also be offended by the suggestion that Jesus had an Irish brother, so I think we can take it that James was telling a little white lie there. And if he wasn't, then he should have been.

Profile: Jennifer Saunders - Absolutely the Last

JENNIFER SAUNDERS talks with James Rampton

Sisterhood, Hollywood style

The First Wives Club Hugh Wilson (PG)

Betjeman honoured

The actress Joanna Lumley (above) led readings of Sir John Betjeman's poetry at the unveiling of a stone tablet to the late poet laureate in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

HOW WE MET: SERENA GORDON AND JANE HORROCKS

Serena Gordon, 33, was born in London. She studied at RADA and has worked in theatre, television and film ever since. Her film and TV work includes Golden Eye, Maurice, The Bill and Kinsey. She lives in south- west London with her husband and their baby son.

Joanna Lumley launches pounds 42m BT payphone investment

A pounds 42m investment by BT was launched yesterday by the actress Joanna Lumley (above) to revitalise and modernise more than 60,000 payphones and usher in a new generation of phonecards.
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Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?