Frank Muir, a king of comedy, dies

Frank Muir, one of the great post-war television and radio comedy writers, died yesterday. David Lister reviews the career of a humorist who became disillusioned with the humour of today.

Books: Christmas books

Funny books

Paths of glory and a clockwork ego

STANLEY KUBRICK by John Baxter, HarperCollins pounds 20

25 years on, the Goons are back

Twenty five years after the last Goon Show was made, a new generation of listeners is being given the chance to familiarise itself with a comedy legend.

Austin maestro

Brought up on a diet of Goons, Monty Python and Carry On films, Mike Myers was born to be Wayne. And Austin Powers - secret agent and all-round sex machine - is his way of saying thank you to his father for giving him the gift of comedy.

SHE'S NOT GETTING ANY OLDER

A subject that was acceptable on film in 1962 is proving too hot to handle 35 years later. That's the paradox at the heart of the controversy over the new screen version of 'Lolita', Vladimir Nabokov's classic tale of forbidden love

The ultimate good will

Matthew Harding, the Chelsea FC vice-chairman who died in a helicopter crash, has left both his wife and his mistress happy with his will. A miracle? Almost.

Latter-day Saint

Val Kilmer is the third actor to play Simon Templar. How does he measure up? Is he himself saint or sinner?

MORE RHYME THAN REASON

PROFILE: SPIKE MILLIGAN

Perfect landing for the flying troubadours

Where the Stones meet Neil Young you'll find Wilco.

Wilde at heart

As if 'Being an Actor' wasn't enough, Simon Callow is now set on being Oscar too. Courtesy of a one-man theatrical tribute to his stage mentor, Micheal MacLiammoir. By Dominic Cavendish

Where Alec Guinness meets his end

Castles and churches come and go, to be replaced by car parks and Arndale Centres. Changing Places is an occasional series which will draw on old paintings, maps and photographs to show the fleeting face of Britain. The first is the King's Cross railway bridge, famously featured in the Ealing film The Ladykillers. By Andrew John Davies

Crematorium 'cashing in'

MPs have accused a company of "cynically" cashing in on a crematorium's celebrity status. Golders Green crematorium in north London is the last resting place of the remains of Sigmund Freud, Peter Sellers and Rudyard Kipling, among other notables.

Obituary: Dennis Main Wilson

Dennis Main Wilson was an enthusiast; one of the breed of producers who emerged, or rather exploded, into the BBC after the Second World War.

Veteran comedy producer dies

The producer Dennis Main Wilson, one of the guiding spirits behind BBC comedy classics like the Goon Show (left), Hancock's Half Hour and Till Death Us Do Part, died from cancer yesterday. Mr Main Wilson, 72, whose showbusiness career spanned 50 years, also worked on Citizen Smith, The Marty Feldman Show, and The Rag Trade. He helped launch the careers of Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Eric Sykes, Kenneth Williams and more recently, Stephen Fry.
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The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
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Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
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Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

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11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
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