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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Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture