Arts and Entertainment Laughing all the way...: Michael McIntyre's latest tour raked in £21m

The comedian says he is 'overwhelmingly excited' about the show

John Bishop, Underbelly<br/>Kevin Eldon, The Stand<br/>Paul Foot, Underbelly<br/>Loretta Maine, The Caves

It could be a lot worse, John &ndash; you could have a dipsomaniac angst rocker on your case

Funny money: Britain's jokers are cashing in

Comedians &ndash; not rock stars &ndash; are selling out some of the biggest venues in the country. Andrew Johnson reports on a joke boom

To Hell (but not back): Recreating the epic Hellespont crossing that sent Leander to a watery grave

Greek myth had it that Leander would swim the Hellespont to his lover every night, then return before dawn. When Byron followed in his wake, the swim &ndash; albeit a one-way trip &ndash; became arguably the world's most iconic. Two hundred years later to the day, Robert Epstein set out to recreate the poet's epic journey from Europe to Asia &ndash; and immediately encountered the waves that had sent Leander to a watery grave...

Bafta nod for Quentin Crisp actor John Hurt

John Hurt has been nominated for a TV Bafta for reprising the role of Quentin Crisp - 34 years after he received the award for playing the flamboyant gay writer in The Naked Civil Servant.

Channel 4's Comedy Gala, The 02, London

There was a curious mix of something old, something new, something borrowed (such as BBC stars Catherine Tate, Rob Brydon, James Corden and Ruth Jones) and plenty of blue for this mammoth charity gig housed by a venue that was once itself a standing joke when it was the Millennium Dome.

Dom Joly: Parliamentary immunity is handy on trains

Listening to Sir Nicholas Winterton on Five Live, as he described his fear of the sort of people that sat in "standard class", was a peculiarly enjoyable experience. There can be nothing more satisfying than hearing a politician making an arse of himself in public. Stephen Nolan knew that he was on to a winner, and rightly milked it for all he could. "Whinerton" is not standing at the next election, and so was freed of the usual shackles that increasingly bind MPs. He was only saying what all MPs really think – they loathe the general populace, the smelly, tattooed masses who hold their careers in their ignorant hands. Alan Clark was perhaps the most voluble in his disdain of his Devon constituents, but you can tell that many MPs would prefer it if annoying things such as the electorate would just disappear and allow them to carry on with important things such as lunch and decorating their country houses.

My Secret Life: Michael Winner, writer & film-maker, 75

My parents were ... My father was an angel. My mother was dangerous and mad, but adorable.

Herbalism: Kill or cure?

Line after line of colourful cardboard boxes hug the edges of a stack of shelves. Sitting inside a herbal remedy store in west London, the containers' evocative images of plants, bark and berries are emblematic of the natural world's healing properties.

Review of the Year 2009: Our culture critics' top-fives

Violence, vampires and vignettes

Funny business: Rob Brydon on the ups and downs of life as Gavin & Stacey's Uncle Bryn

So, off to meet Rob Brydon, actor, writer, comedian – yes, there are still a few around who aren't Michael McIntyre – and, of course, everyone's favourite man-child, Gavin and Stacey's Uncle Bryn.

Who needs a script? How ad-libbed shows are taking over the schedules

Ad-libbed shows are taking over the schedules &ndash; and they did pretty well at the British Comedy Awards, too. Victoria Richards reports

Will the real Michael McIntyre please stand up?

From out of nowhere, he became Britain's biggest comedy star. But who is Michael McIntyre? And what exactly does he want?

Dominic Lawson: Can we please stand up for Michael McIntyre?

Comedy shows based on shocking us carry the seeds of their own destruction
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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen