Arts and Entertainment London comic Chris Coltrane held up a photo of Putin’s naked torso and joked that if the Russian President wanted to stop the promotion of homosexuality 'maybe he should stop posing for photos like this'

Semi-naked photos of Vladimir Putin and a blast of Tchaikovsky played on an iPad formed parts of comedy protest against homophobia in Russia, staged outside the Russian Consulate General in Edinburgh today.

Joking apart

Mark Lamarr presents a serious side as the versatile host of a new big-issue series

Open Eye: Where you can find truth, beauty and big ideas

Simon Newton previews the OU on TV

The left is having a bad war

One day last week, I was cited on an anti-war website (www. antiwar.com) as a critic of the Nato bombardment of Yugoslavia. I have also been attacked in the New Left Review as a representative of "the new warmongers" and "Tomahawk liberalism". So which is it? Well, according to Tariq Ali, those of us on the left who favour intervention in Kosovo are "liberal warmongers" who "think nothing ... of violating national sovereignty". In the same issue, Edward Said characterises the Balkan crisis as an opportunity "for the US to assert its will and to show the world who is boss".

Focus: Memo to the BBC...

Wanted: a Director-General with a record of visionary leadership. That was how the ad for John Birt's successor read last week. As the battle with commercial rivals heats up, how can a new DG put the Beeb back on course?

Comedy gig of the week: The Bib and Bob Show

Bib and Bob (played by those two incorrigible scallywags, Jerry Sadowitz above, and Logan Murray) aim to shock - and generally they succeed all too well. They have been known to bound on stage promising sketches "which make Nazi war-time atrocities seem like Mr Kipling cakes". They have fulfilled that promise by performing unprintably rude routines about such subjects as George Michael, Gary Glitter, cancer, child abuse, homelessness, Asian shopkeepers, IRA terrorists, Jehovah's Witnesses and piles. They have even risked gags on the taboo subject of the death of Princess Diana.

Comedy: Ardal O'Hanlon

Ardal O'Hanlon's material is never going to topple the Government. No one is going to storm the barricades because of a joke about how unfit he is: "Fun Run - those two words should never be seen in the same sentence. Running is something you do when there's another man chasing you with a knife." But the comedian best known as the holy fool, Father Dougal Maguire in the Channel 4 sitcom, Father Ted (right), wins audiences over with his sheer charm. His national tour opens this Friday at the Norwich Theatre Royal (01603 630000).

BOX OFFICE: FIRST CALL LAST CALL

Booking has just commenced for the opening show of the RSC's autumn season at the Barbican, The School for Scandal. Sheridan's comedy of manners, which sees an uncle disguising himself in a bid to test the virtue of his nephews, is directed Declan Donnellan, and designed by Nick Ormerod, both formerly of Cheek By Jowl. Add a cast that includes Kenneth Cranham, Emma Fielding and Celia Imrie, and you can be sure that tickets will not hang around.

Television: It's a state of total Dianarchy

Diana TV; The Dianaphobes are beginning to get tiresome.

This is the week that is

As politicians court satirists in the hope of being seen as one of the good guys, Peter Keighron questions the value of political satire

The anarchist in your living room

Like Noel Edmonds, but with an added anarcho-political conscience, comedian Mark Thomas is out to `Gotcha!' - and the people he wants to get are now in government. Light entertainment it's certainly not, says James Rampton.

Comedy: A newsworthy stand-up

The wacky humour of Eddie Izzard or Harry Hill is not Kevin Day's cup of tea. This self-confessed puritan aligns himself with political humourists like Jeremy Hardy or Mark Thomas, though he can't say that he doesn't crave a little fame and fortune...

COMEDY: Arjy bargy

Arj Barker is a funnyman with plenty of punchlines as well as a nice line in self-deprecation. And, because he's a foreigner, he can get away with saying things about the British that a native would be excoriated for. As a matter of fact, we love him for it

Comic Mark exposes 'tax dodge toffs'

Stately home owners pay less if they 'open to the public'. But some keep it quiet, writes Millie Jenkins

Letter: Max Miller: fashion icon for the Nineties

Sir: The "Aristocrat Deluxe" collection by Paul Smith, featured in The Long Weekend (12 July), with its upholstery fabric suits for men, is not a new look. Max Miller, the comedian, was wearing exactly that on stage in the 1940s, always with a snappy white hat.
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