News

Patsy Palmer hopes her 'EastEnders' alter ego Bianca Butcher is "softer" when she is released from prison.

When the bubble bursts for soap stars

Why do EastEnders and Coronation Street actresses struggle to replicate their success on mainstream TV? By Gerard Gilbert

Ramsey's wife is crowned 'Mum of the Year'

The wife of television chef Gordon Ramsay was crowned celebrity mum of the year today and said "patience" was the most important virtue for a parent.

Last Night's Television: The funny guys go red in the face

Comic Relief Does The Apprentice, BBC1<br/>Red Riding, Channel 4

Blood and Guts: A History of Surgery, BBC4<br/>Pedigree Dogs Exposed, BBC1<br/>Who Do You Think You Are? BBC1

The history of surgery is gory viewing &ndash; not to mention what they do to dogs

Let's hear it one more time for Biancaaaaah and Rickaaaay

It is the most eagerly awaited reunion since Pink Floyd took to the stage at Live8: Ricky and Bianca are coming back to Albert Square. But the EastEnders couple, played by Sid Owen and Patsy Palmer, say the decision to return to our screens was not easy. Some aspects of soap stardom can prove a lasting headache. "For me, it's like a swear word, the shouting of 'Rickaaaay!'," said Palmer last week. "Not a day has gone by in nine years when someone hasn't shouted that from cars and even up at my bedroom window at night. Even my daughter said it... making fun of me." According to Palmer, the scriptwriters haven't been kind, so when the pair appear again, cover your ears. "Biancaaaaah!"

The Friary Newsletter: More words than trains from the Transport Secretary

Patient 73429 will be strapped to a chair and his eyes held open until several simple phrases are imprinted on his mind

WHAT'S ON AROUND THE UK: PC presents and a chocolate fest

It's the season of goodwill to all men - and animals (the turkey aside). The Christmas Without Cruelty Fayre at Kensington Town Hall in London today includes a celebrity auction and the chance to win a walk- on role in The Bill. A number of items will be donated by Van Morrison, Martin Amis, Peter Gabriel and Gary Lineker. Proceeds from the auction go to Animal Aid. It kicks off at 10am and you can splurge without guilt as you stock up on cruelty-free, ethically produced and politically correct Christmas presents. Admission: pounds 1.

Someone's Got To Do It: Keith Betton Is Head Of Corporate Affairs At Abta

How long have you been doing your job?

THE FRIARY NEWSLETTER: Our small part in making Michael come clean

I bet there's a lot of folks out there desperate to face up to youthful indiscretions in a healthy, positive, opinion-poll-friendly way

Film: Young persons guide to pitching

The ins and outs of a trip to the US with the First Film Foundation. By Hannah Lewis and Morag McKinnon

WHY ARE THEY FAMOUS?: Darren Day

Main Claim

Real living: We're just good friends. Honest

Boy meets girl. They click immediately. But they never have sex. It can happen, says Mike Gayle

Croydon cuts short film festival

A wealth of highly acclaimed UK and international films are being screened this weekend as part of the Croydon Cuts Short Film Festival. The two-day programme features more than 80 films, which are thematically arranged into eight groups which the organisers dub "Encounters", and in addition, there are masterclasses given by directors and producers. Martin Clunes, Sean Hughes, Patsy Palmer and Paul Nicholls all appear in the "urban" category, while Kathy Burke contributes her writing talent for another. Ewan McGregor appears in a "Bizarre Encounter" of weird and wonderful dimensions, and a "Sexual" film features Press Gang's Dexter Fletcher. Local film-makers such as Adam Whitehall and Keith Claxton also make their mark in the programme "Night and Day" section, which opens the Festival and provides a balance with the climactic finale; a multimedia cabaret and celebratory best of the fest vote.

They may be short, but they're perfectly formed

Some of our most imaginative film-makers are working within the confines of the short film format, as two new television slots show. By Meg Carter
Career Services

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
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on