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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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'