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.

Quiet please. We will now observe radio silence

Radio: Peace broke out on Radio 1 last week. Just for an hour, mind you . Martin Kelner was there to record the unlikely sounding event

SUPERSELLERS OF 1994 BEST OF THE LOT: THE 30 TITLES THAT JUMPED OFF THE SHELVES THIS YEAR

HARDBACKS 1 Writing Home by Alan Bennett Faber £17.50

Lord Crudwick insists on savouring the moment

Today I bring you the closing moments of this year's Moment Of The Year Award Ceremony, the glittering occasion at which the most significant single moment of 1994 is given its due.

How to cook up caviar on a desert island with a pair of royal pains

Baffled by the mind-boggling array of Christmas books on offer in the shops? Boggle no more! Here is a handy cut-out-and-consult-in-Waterstone's Christmas '94 Good Book List! How to Survive Life Alone with a TV Film Crew Joanna Lumley BBC Spin-Offs, £9.99

TELEVISION / There's no beef in a Yorkshire pud

IMAGINE you were one of the country's most experienced and popular media personalities. Your last vehicle has finished a 21-year run and you are given a new four-times-a-week talk show. You'd want the first sentence of your first programme to be a cracker. This is how Esther (BBC2) begins: 'Well, we live in violent times these days, the violence of war, the violence of crime in our streets, but since time began there's been another kind of secret violence that happens in families, and that's the violence between husband and wife.' Whoa, there. Are our times more violent and war-torn than others? Has domestic violence existed since the Big Bang? And why should the ChildLine chairwoman think only of adults when she talks of 'the secret violence that happens in families'? Another mystery is Esther Rantzen's summary of her new series: 'The difference between Esther and Oprah's show is the difference between Yorkshire pudding and pumpkin pie.'

Television (Review): When loose ends slip through sweaty palms

WE'RE MAKING a film which is very much a travel film,' explained John Sweeney to the man who runs Osijek, a character recently described by another journalist as 'a serial killer in fatigues'. This was not exactly candid, although you couldn't really blame him for it. The man behind the desk was responsible for setting up the International Brigade, a nasty assemblage of foreign adventurers and mercenaries who fought on the Croatian side, and Sweeney was investigating what he believed were two murders - the death of a Swiss journalist, Christian Wertenberg, and of the photographer Paul Jenks.

TELEVISION REVIEW / War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Bob is funny

I DON'T know what George Orwell would have made of it: in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Room 101 was the epitome of a tyranny's ability to break down all moral resistance, a site for the abject surrender of the human will. Faced with a rodent face-pack - the thing he most fears in the world - Winston Smith gibbers out his final betrayal: 'Do it to Julia.' In 1994, Room 101 (BBC 2) is a parlour game, in which celebrity guests nominate their particular pet hates. Last night Bob Monkhouse started the series off by saying, 'Do it to Cilla.'

RADIO / An unpleasant twitch: Robert Hanks' patience is tested by Maureen Lipman's wit

There are two kinds of twitcher. The first kind is the birdwatcher who has tipped over the edge into obsession, and will go anywhere, offend anybody simply to have a new species on his personal list; this is the kind discussed this week by Maureen Lipman in a new series of 'social investigations', The Lipman Test (Radio 4, Thursday). The other kind is the person who has been irritated into minor spasms by 30 minutes of listening to Lipman's laboured quips.

Rushdie on TV quiz

The author,Salman Rushdie, 46, still in hiding over a fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 over 'The Satanic Verses', is a surprise guest on tonight's edition of the BBC 2 comedy quiz, Have I Got News For You. The show was recorded in London last night.

How Paul's wife scored with Gary: World Cup football bored Caroline Quentin out of her mind, but it brought her a hit and Paul Merton for a husband. Jim White met her

Like 20 million other English people, Caroline Quentin knows exactly where she was on the night of 4 July 1990. As England played their World Cup semi-final against Germany, the actress was in Majorca, in a hotel room full of English comedians watching the event on television.

SHOW PEOPLE / Wife in the fast lane: Caroline Quentin

CAROLINE QUENTIN is a woman on the move. From straight drama (The Seagull), to improvised radio comedy (The Masterson Inheritance), to TV drama (All or Nothing at All), to sitcom (Men Behaving Badly). She assures me that sometimes she sits around 'like a great big cabbage', but it must be the kind of cabbage that presents a DIY decorating programme (Home Front) before popping out for an impro session at The Comedy Store. At the moment she is on the move from a photo-shoot to the BBC's rehearsal studios in Acton. Half an hour by taxi and she talks, giggles and jokes to me via mobile phone all the way, breaking off now and then to shout directions to the driver. I only hope he doesn't drive as fast as she talks.

Production Notes: Andy Parfitt, R1's commissioning editor, mixed in poetry with the pop last week. Here, he explains how

THE ACTUAL week was to do with the New Generation Poets, but we didn't want just unfamiliar poetry. So we did go for the McGoughs, Hegleys and Zephaniahs, then we also put in Shakespeare and Shelley.

Long Runners / No 30: Have I Got News For You

Age: 4. It began its TV life in 1990, and there have been 59 episodes so far.

COMEDY / From Morecambe to Merton

'MY HAIR'S got a life of its own,' says Paul Merton, live at the London Palladium. 'Last week I found it in the kitchen making itself an omelette.' 'Oh excellent,' exclaims the man in the row behind me, 'excellent.' He is still repeating the second half of this (admittedly excellent) joke to himself as Merton, ursine as ever even in a low-slung double-breasted suit, ambles on to the next.

Children's Books: Wanted: the best children's story

The hunt is on for the best new short stories of 1994, stories that no six- to nine-year-old will want to put down. The reward? A pounds 2,000 prize and publication in the Independent for the winning entry. Two joint runners-up will receive pounds 500 each, and the top 10 entries will be printed in a specially produced anthology by Scholastic Children's Books, making these the top awards in this country for unpublished work for children. The invitation is open to professional writers, but we want especially to encourage new talent.
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