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.

ARTS / The chat host from hell: Radio Programme of the Year

THE BEST programme is also the worst. Knowing Me, Knowing You (R4), which runs for two more Tuesdays, is the hilarious nadir of chat shows. Its host, Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan), is a great comic creation, a Frankenstein's monster assembled out of Jim Rosenthal's gaucherie, Mike Morris's blokishness, Alan Titchmarsh's slime, Michael Parkinson's chippiness, and the research skills of Terry Wogan. Alan's guests are spot-on parodies of the 'personalities' that swill through chat schedules: American psychobabblers, egomaniac entrepreneurs, child prodigies.

Yes, I do believe in good eggs. Pass the bacon

IT ISN'T every day I am called to the Park Lane Hilton to sit at the top table in the ballroom, squeezed between magnates and lords, to make speeches and give prizes. But there you are, the companies that run Britain's landfills - a calling which is not glamorous but so necessary that someone ought to celebrate it - sent me around the country at speed to help pick the best of the holes in the ground that we call rubbish dumps and into which is disposed everything we'd rather forget.

TELEVISION / News retorts: Jim White on the return of Angus Deayton's quiz Have I Got News for You

It has been a tough week to be funny about. Fortunately, Have I Got News For You (BBC 2) returned from a summer recess almost as long as the one MPs enjoy. If anyone could lift the gloom, these boys could.

ARTS / Have I got a newcomer for you: Show People: 47. Angus Deayton

WHAT CAN have been going through Angus Deayton's mind when he stood up to accept the Best Newcomer prize at last year's British Comedy Awards? Wasn't this the man who sold his first sketch (to Dick Emery) in 1978? And hadn't he been hanging around the fringes of celebrity - as a member of pop parody act the Heebeegeebees, as Rowan Atkinson's straight man, as writer-presenter of a slew of radio shows including the long- running Radio Active, as a player of bit parts in TV series like One Foot in the Grave, Mr Bean and Alexei Sayle's Stuff, and not least as the man in the life of singer Stephanie de Sykes - ever since?

TELEVISION / Pink and droopy

THE first couple of weeks you just thought it would improve. Here was one of our most appealing comedians delivering scripts written by the funniest man on British television. Surely, between them Julian Clary and Paul Merton would be able to raise a titter. But three weeks on Terry and Julian (Channel 4) shows every sign of getting worse.

Tell us another one. Or just tell us the same one all over again]: Paul Merton, the comedian with the dry, South Circular delivery, is probably the funniest man on television. Where did he come from?

AT Private Eye magazine's 30th birthday celebrations earlier this year, Paul Merton, slightly the worse for drink, stood up in front of perhaps the most cynical collection of people ever gathered in one place in England and, in the lugubrious South Circular Road delivery that is his trademark, told this joke:
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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
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
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Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
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