News Jonathan Ross’ agent, Addison Cresswell, pictured here with his brother, passed away in his sleep on Sunday night aged just 53 years old

The representative worked with some of the comedy circuit’s best known stars, including Lee Evans, Jo Brand, Alan Carr and Jack Dee

Diary: Throwing the book at Blair

The preparations for Tony Blair's book signing at Waterstone's Piccadilly sounded a tad over the top when they were announced yesterday morning. The former PM will sign copies of his memoir, A Journey, on 8 September, reported The Bookseller. However: "Customers cannot be photographed with Blair, there will be no personal dedications and all bags, backpacks and briefcases must be checked in, along with cameras and mobile phones... Blair will sign a maximum of two books per customer." The security rigmarole seemed slightly more salient by the afternoon, however, when the Stop The War Coalition set up a Facebook page calling on its members to stage a "mass protest" at the event, and announced plans to arrest Blair for alleged war crimes. "We will be asking people to boycott Waterstone's completely and shut the chain of shops down if this event goes ahead," warned activist Andrew Burgin. Mr Burgin also works as a second-hand bookseller, but far be it from me to suggest he might have an ulterior motive.

DVD: The Infidel, For retail & rental (Revolver)

In this flat British indie comedy, a Muslim (Omid Djalili) discovers that his biological parents were actually Jewish.

DVD: The Infidel (15)

"You find out you're Jewish and suddenly someone in uniform is leading you away," cries Muslim family man Mahmud when he's escorted from an East End town hall, after learning he was adopted from birth and is Jewish.

Business Diary: Money where its mouthpiece is

The price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com has been singing the praises of Omid Djalili, the face of its new advertising campaign. The comedian has helped it to post a chunky increase in revenue during the first half of the year, you see. Strangely, Moneysupermarket.com said something very similar about Peter Jones, the star of Dragon's Den, and its previous campaign. So why didn't it stick with him?

The Infidel (15)

And talking of faith, David Baddiel's debut screenplay pitches Judaism against Islam in a potentially incendiary face-off.

Two new British film comedies dare to poke fun at religion

How about this for a comedy film pitch? It's early Christmas Day morning and a young wannabe terrorist boards a plane with a hefty load of explosives stuffed down his underpants. He's waited a long time for this day and worked hard to get there, sweating for months in some lonely desert valley learning how to build bombs and make a half decent martyrdom video in HD format.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Our asylum policy is a national disgrace

Fractured histories have inspired some of the most talented people on earth

Omid Djalili: 'I'm cast as the Arab scumbag'

The comedian and actor has a new film in which he plays a Muslim taxi-driver who discovers he's a Jew. But, generally, he says...

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Channel 4's Indian Winter is an insult to Asians

It’s all too typical of British television, from panel games to detective dramas

Baddiel courts controversy with film about 'Muslim Jew'

Comedian says his cinema debut will tackle material until now regarded as off-limits

Omid Djalili: Raw, risky, scary, and funny to the bone

The British-Iranian comedian dons the shabby mantle of Fagin and steps on to the West End stage to inject the role with his distinctive multicultural mischief

Refugees find their voice – will we listen?

In the debate on immigration, "refugee" is a term we hear little of now. Yet these are often the most vulnerable arrivals. Forced from their homes, they might well have undergone long-term persecution as well as the trauma of dislocation.

Tom Sutcliffe: Hope over experience in theatre of war

Addressing the annual dinner of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1908 Lord Curzon predicted that if the society still existed in "50 or a 100 years, Afghanistan will be as vital and as important a question as it is now". Well, the society does still exist and if Lord Curzon did too I don't think he'd exactly be feeling embarrassed by his prediction. Even he, though, might be surprised by how precisely his 100-year audit hit on a moment when the importance of the question has become obvious to everyone – not just Whitehall mandarins or foreign policy wonks. Afghanistan – temporarily a sideshow to Western adventures in Iraq – has been moving steadily back to centre stage.

Consider yourself a Muslim, Fagin

The British-Iranian comedian Omid Djalili is a strange choice to take over from Rowan Atkinson in the West End production of 'Oliver!'. He tells James Rampton how he'll make the role his own
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment