News Fortune was at his best in the Long Johns' sketches that poked fun at authority

John Fortune was the comedian and satirist best known for his work on the long-running television comedy series Bremner, Bird and Fortune, together with fellow comics Rory Bremner and John Bird, that ran for 16 series from 1999 to 2010.

John Fortune (right) with John Bird after they received their 1997 Bafta awards for Best Light Entertainment Performance

Farewell to the satirist whose comedy exposed uncomfortable truths: Bafta-winning comedian John Fortune dies aged 74

Not fame but curiosity drove Fortune to the peak of political satire

Interesting object: The speech balloon

From 18th-century caricaturists to Desperate Dan, the art of talking in picture-form has a long and (mostly) distinguished history

Invisible Ink: No 194 - The Three Johns

It’s odd how many collaborative teams wrote sparkling comedy together but not drama; John Wells teamed with John Bird for a series of inspired political duologues called “The Long Johns”, which managed to predict the seriousness of the banking crisis, while John Fortune and John Wells found common ground to produce a now-forgotten surreal comic masterpiece.

The 'Not the Nine O'Clock News's team (left to right), Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, and Griff Rhys Jones carrying Pamela Stephenson in 1980

Mel Smith, the man who made me howl with laughter

As so many people have said, Mel Smith, who has died at the age of 60, was a comedy giant. And his talent was evident – obvious – when I first saw him 40 years ago. I was then trying to make my way in comedy at Cambridge, and he, then president of the slightly loftier Oxford University Dramatic Society, had agreed to take part, rather to amuse himself, I suspect. He was by a mile the best thing in it. Clever, and very, very funny, as he always was subsequently.

The Chancellor's attempts to solve our housing crisis are unhelpful and unworkable

Let's build our houses for the way we live now

George Osborne's attempts to solve our housing crisis are heading in the same direction as Parliament's attempts to hijack press freedom – destined for the pending tray, criticised on all sides as unhelpful and unworkable.

A picture left at the scene in Hanham, near Bristol, in tribute to Ross and Clare Simons, who were killed yesterday when their tandem bike was struck by a car

Tandem couple killed in Bristol 'hit-and-run' crash 'were trying for children'

A Bristol couple killed after being knocked off their tandem bicycle in an alleged hit-and-run had been given the go-ahead to start IVF treatment shortly before the crash, it has emerged.

Andrew Lawrence

Review of 2012: Comedy

Remind me who I am again?

The Olympics minister, Hugh Robertson, got angry with London 2012 security operatives on Wednesday. He tried to get into the Games' Media Centre without his security pass and the doormen refused to admit him. Mr Robertson, whose face is more E-list than A, was annoyed, affronted even, not to be recognised. And so he demanded: "Do you know who I am?"

Corporate managers are being encouraged to unleash their inner air guitar and learn leadership skills from heavy metal luminaries at a seminar titled the Monsters of Rock'n'Roll Business

Rock stars re-form as business gurus (well, they can wield an axe...)

Corporate managers are being encouraged to unleash their inner air guitar and learn leadership skills from heavy metal luminaries at a seminar titled the Monsters of Rock'n'Roll Business.

Pointing the way: Russell Brand at the Secret Policeman’s Ball at Radio City in New York

Secret Policeman's Ball: Stand-up and be counted

Russell Brand stole the show as American and British comics vied for laughs in New York

Somali security forces take part in a detention of mock pirates during a training drill in Mogadishu

World leaders plan crackdown on Somali pirates

As David Cameron hosts summit to tackle threat to trade on the Indian Ocean, Britain is accused of soft-pedalling the issue

Kiss Me Chudleigh: The World According to Auberon Waugh, By William Cook

Oddly, many of the obituaries for Auberon Waugh claimed that his most significant achievement was the "Diary" he wrote over 13 years for Private Eye. The quote marks are required because it was a pungent combination of fact and fiction. One of his milder musings dates from 1975: "Rather unexpectedly, I found myself in Kathmandu with Prince Charles for the coronation of King Bihendra... the Prince looks particularly fetching in a yashmak with blue paint on his eyelids."

48 Hours: Graz

Now a Unesco 'City of Design', this Austrian gem is full of handsome medieval and striking modern architecture. Chris Leadbeater explores

Leaders urged to co-ordinate against piracy threat

World shipping leaders have been urged to co-ordinate the fight against piracy better.

Perry Pontac: A man of infinite jest

Not many of us have heard of playwright Perry Pontac. More's the pity, says Alan Bennett – his Shakespeare spoofs, now in print, are perfect parodies
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea