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.

Arts: The pen is mightier than the needle

Edward St Aubyn's novels are the only therapy he needs. So what's this about New Age cures? By Clare Garner

Passed/failed: JULIAN PETTIFER

Julian Pettifer, 62, is a television and radio reporter whose work has ranged from the Vietnam war to the environment. His TV documentaries include `Diamonds in the Sky', `Automania' and `Missionaries'; `El Nino is Innocent' will be transmitted later this year. His Radio 4 series `Crossing Continents' goes out on Thursday mornings. He has been Bafta reporter of the year and has also received awards from Unicef and the Royal Geographical Society.

WHEN ARCHITECTURE WENT POP

Archigram were the Velvet Underground of building design - ultra- groovy Sixties rebels whose influence greatly outlasted their short life. As a long-overdue retrospective opens in Manchester, Charles Darwent talks to the original prophets of pod living

COMEDY: Arjy bargy

Arj Barker is a funnyman with plenty of punchlines as well as a nice line in self-deprecation. And, because he's a foreigner, he can get away with saying things about the British that a native would be excoriated for. As a matter of fact, we love him for it

Media: Cheers, Auntie! We knew you'd look after us ...

The story of how classic Peter Cook and `Doctor Who' tapes were wiped in the Seventies has passed into BBC legend. It couldn't happen again ... could it? The problem is that old recordings don't make money and the archive service must balance its books. Something has to go: 95 jobs for starters. By Paul McCann

TECHNOFILE 4

N"The culture-heroes of our liberal bourgeois civilisation are anti-liberal and anti-bourgeois; they are writers who are repetitive, obsessive, and impolite, who impress by force - not simply by their tone of personal authority and by their intellectual ardour, but by the sense of acute personal and intellectual extremity."

Sema defends rail inquiry line

Sema, the Anglo-French computer services company which supplies all the UK's train timetable and train fare information, yesterday hit out at a report in the consumer magazine Which? claiming that rail passengers telephoning the National Rail Inquiry Service were given inaccurate information on 41 out of 70 occasions.

Books: Biography - Brief lives

Peter Cook: A Biography by Harry Thompson, Hodder pounds 18.99. "I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war." This unforgettable moment from Beyond the Fringe appears in Thompson's lively and penetrating biography of the late lamented Peter Cook - one of the saddest of all sad clowns - to illustrate how much of Cook's humour was autobiographical. He came from a long line of colonial servants who neglected their children in the service of their sovereign, and, like Kipling, felt you should "bind your sons to exile / To serve your captives' need." This particular son, however, escaped with his emotional life in tatters but his talent intact: by the time he was 28 he had reached the zenith of his profession as comedian and satirist, but failed marriages and soured professional partnerships (notably, with Dudley Moore) led to disillusion and alcoholism. In detailing the bumpy path of this brilliant, compulsive, desperately insecure near- genius, Thompson's narrative is fresh with the intimate testimony of friends, ex-colleagues and family (right: Cook with his daughters Daisy and Lucy).

Book review / Laugh? He really died

Peter Cook: a biography by Harry Thompson, Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 18.99

Letter: Loss of TV archive programmes

Sir: Comedy producer Harry Thompson describes as "cultural vandalism" the loss of episodes from the Sixties Peter Cook and Dudley Moore series Not Only ... But Also (report, 21 August).

People: BBC erased classic Cook and Moore archives in favour of local news

Almost all of the classic Not Only ... But Also series by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore has been wiped by the BBC to make space in its archives for local news programmes it was revealed yesterday.

Invitation to let enemies on board leaves `Eye' unmoved

In a tale fitting for its own Street of Shame column, Lin Cook, widow of Peter Cook, says that she is going to sell the 40 per cent share of Private Eye magazine she inherited from her husband because people on the magazine have not been nice to her.

Happy Clappy Tony gets a `Private Eye' pulpit

`We didn't have to spend any time at all thinking this one up'

Funny ha-ha

THEATRE Then Again... Lyric, Hammersmith

John Walsh meets... The Long Johns

Last Friday, two men in suits walked onto the stage of the Hexagon theatre in Reading, and proceeded to tell the audience some news from their own backyard: that, unknown to most of Reading's citizens, one of its two hospitals, the Royal Berkshire, was about to be shut down. That, as an early warning of what was in store, the hospital had closed down its Accident & Emergency Unit on two occasions in the last two weeks (and if you rang the NHS's press office for confirmation, you'd hear them say, "Yes we did close down the A and E ward - but we didn't tell anyone," as if that made it more acceptable). And in place of the Royal Berkshire, the audience heard, plans are now afoot to build a huge public-service complex that will feature two multi-storey car parks, an office block, a restaurant, a shopping mall and a health farm, but nothing of any actual medical use at all...
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Day In a Page

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
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
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Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
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Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

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