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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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project