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.

Season's !*@!* greetings

Books Of The Year: Humour: Here's proof that comedy has survived Python

In the last, dying weeks of the second millennium of the Christian era, you'd have thought that at least one publisher would have been low and venal enough to cash in on this unique marketing opportunity for "humour" books. A Thousand Years of British Poo Jokes or A Thousand Apocalypse Gags or even TV's Maureen Lipman's Millennium Schmillennium. Anything, in fact, to allow that doughty army of British publishers to do as they do every year, and flog opportunistic crap to an undiscriminating public and then roll about in money and party like it's 1999.

Radio: Imagine there's no costumes

There is an advert, running on a commercial station whose name escapes me, which is one of those desperate attempts by the medium to drum up advertising custom. "That's the power of radio," it concludes - although as I can't remember the examples it chooses to illustrate that, and I really have been racking my brains, it cannot be that powerful an ad. Most depressing is the implicit suggestion that radio is an inferior and overlooked medium that needs to squawk about itself to be heard. (You get adverts for individual television programmes, but you don't have adverts that say, in effect, "Hey! Companies with money to burn! Try flogging your stuff on the telly. Who knows? It might even work!")

Architecture: A smart house to take care of you? Coming up

Will electronic sensors make your home hell? Nonie Niesewand looks to the future

BBC releases Peter Cook's last radio show

CHRIST PRACTISING resurrection by dropping dead regularly as a child and an ice dance extravaganza with Esther Williams swimming under the frozen surface are the more lucid topics covered by comedians Peter Cook and Chris Morris in Cook's last radio performance.

BBC releases Peter Cook tape

CHRIST PRACTISING resurrection by dropping dead regularly as a child and an ice dance extravaganza with Esther Williams swimming under the frozen surface are the more lucid topics covered by comedians Peter Cook and Chris Morris in Cook's last radio performance.

Obituary: Agnes Bernelle

ANYONE WHO ever met the actress and singer Agnes Bernelle could not fail to be impressed by her courage, energy and dedication, qualities which she showed all her life; it was these qualities which enabled her to make the transition from a comfortable and highly cultured upbringing in Berlin to a new life in Ireland, where she created a special place for herself in artistic Dublin.

Football Interview: George Graham, Fear is the spur for the mythical hard man

Image is now a tool for tough-guy trouble-shooter who judges only by results.

Words: lava, n.

HAGGERTY ENTERPRISES Inc's complaint about my innocent quoting of Lorrie Moore's brilliant reference to somebody's blood moving "around his face and neck like a lava lamp" brings to mind Peter Cook and Virginia Woolf - an odd couple, who would be sure-fire clients for Relate.

Cheltenham festival of Literature: Weekend Highlights

BIG NAMES discussing even bigger subjects abound this weekend. Today's highlights include a rare appearance by the much-loved children's illustrator Quentin Blake, who talks about his 50-year career (10am); the controversial novelist and biographer DM Thomas lecturing on the work of the Nobel prizewinner Alexander Solzhenitsyn (10am); the writer and journalist Patrick Marnham discussing the turbulent life and art of Diego Rivera (1pm); and the editor of The Oldie, Richard Ingrams, talking to Harry Thompson, TV producer and creator of Have I Got News For You, about his old friend Peter Cook (5.30pm). Tomorrow will see, among others, the actor Steven Berkoff "perform" his latest short stories (12noon); Jeremy Paxman discuss what it means to be English (2.30pm); and Judi Dench in conversation with her biographer, John Miller (5pm).

The Independent Recommends: Edinburgh 98 - Theatre

TONIGHT SEES the unveiling of New York Theatre Workshop's much- admired staging of Eugene O'Neill's More Stately Mansions, a rough draft that survived against his wishes. Part of an unfinished epic historical cycle about "a far from model family" embarked on during the Thirties, the play receives an appropriately Expressionist treatment from Flemish director Ivo van Hove.

Accidental Heroes of the 20th Century: 2: Peter Cook, Comic Actor

HARRY THOMPSON'S magisterial biography of Peter Cook runs for 500 pages. Cook's version of the story - produced at the suggestion of a publisher in 1993 - was a few sheets of writing-paper covered in rough scribble. "I thought we might flesh it out with a few photographs," suggested Cook typically.

The Independent Archive: A short upper cut from a cowering position

19 August 1989 In the latest instalment of William Donaldson's weekly column, he takes up the art of restaurant-critic reviewing

Comedy: The men who like to say `Boosh'

Like you, James Rampton gets tired of the Edinburgh hype. But Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding just might be all they're cracked up to be

Theatre: Blood simple

BLEEDING ARTS JERMYN STREET THEATRE LONDON
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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

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Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

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Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

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Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
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‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

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Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

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History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
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Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes