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?

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
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Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
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Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

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Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

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Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

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The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

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