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
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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high