Arts and Entertainment On the cutting edge: Johnny Vegas, from the Face of Satire exhibition at the BFI

On 26 February, Spitting Image will celebrate its 30 birthday. BBC Four will mark the occasion with a special episode of Arena which promises to tell the “vexed and frequently hilarious story” of the sketch show which ran for 21 series between 1984 and 1996 and marked a high point in British satire.

London's film locations: Time for some new ones?

From its dystopian underpasses to the leafy avenues of Notting Hill, London has always offered evocative backdrops for film. But must we keep seeing the same old places?

Terence Blacker: When politics takes the fun out of comedy

As the political parties square up to one another during conference season, we can expect the usual sugaring of carefully scripted political jokes among the policy statements. The Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather set the tone this week with a rather odd comic routine at the expense of Mark Oaten, the MP whose political career was ended after stories involving a rent boy. To understand the punchline, one apparently had to know the full unpleasant gossip about the affair.

Pandora: Harman's history gets a last-minute rewrite

Whoops! Embarrassment over at the Equalities Office, following Harriet Harman's booklet celebrating "women in power".

On the Front Foot: World Cup, Twenty20 and now the Ashes - that's multi-tasking

In case it gets overwhelmed by imminent events, let's hear it please for the England women's team. To their triumphs in the World Cup and the World Twenty20, they have now added a spanking one-day series victory against Australia. So magnificent was their achievement in taking an unsurpassable 3-0 lead that it prompted their former captain Clare Connor to say: "This is surely one of the greatest teams this country has ever produced, in any sport." That is a big claim to make – wait for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year team award – but it bears close scrutiny. The measure of any good side is to win when it gets tight and that England did last week. Chasing 151 in a match reduced to 29 overs, they eventually needed two to win from the last ball. Horror of horrors, Laura Marsh hit a full toss in the air to mid-wicket. But the catch was spilled; she and Jenny Gunn scrambled the necessary. Lucky, perhaps, but everybody knows about luck and good sides. After the one-day series, England will defend the Ashes they regained in this country four years ago. It will receive a hundredth of the attention of the other contest – and victory for the men may preclude that BBC award – but another twin triumph cannot be ruled out. Women's cricket in England is beginning to mean something important.

Clement Freud on Just a Minute: a Celebration, Radio 4

Just a minute ... did you just set me up for a gag?

Silent Comedy, By Paul Merton

A master of verbal humour obsessed with the comic constructions of the silent era, Paul Merton celebrates the gags of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd with expert insight and a fan's enthusiasm.

Tony Hancock, By John Fisher

If Tony Hancock hadn't killed himself in 1968, what would he be doing today? Would he still be on peak-time television, like his variety contemporary, Bruce Forsyth? Or would he be enjoying a well-earned rest, like his old pal Eric Sykes?

'Italian Job' final twist revealed

Forty years on, Michael Caine solves mystery of what happened next on the Alpine precipice

Armstrong turns down 'Countdown' job

In a sudden change of heart after receiving his contract, Alexander Armstrong has told Channel 4 executives that he does not want to host the flagship conundrum show Countdown.

Fury as Paxman says middle-class white men have no chance in TV

A war of words between two of the nation's best-known news presenters has erupted after the BBC's chief interrogator, Jeremy Paxman, said it had become impossible for middle-class white men to make it in the television world.

The Write Stuff, Radio 4<br/>The Archers, Radio 4

Photogenic literary types wanted for erudite quiz

Merton earns 11th Bafta nomination by going to China

Paul Merton is best known for the dry humour he brings to Have I Got News For You, but his talent as a tour guide to a hidden side of China has now caught the eye and earned him a nomination for a prestigious television award for the 11th time in his career.

You hum that theme tune, we'll exploit it ...

Cost-cutting in TV production companies isn't just affecting people's jobs &ndash; it may spell the end of the catchy theme tune. Chris Green meets one composer who is now fighting for his rights
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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
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