Rita Rudner, Leicester Square Theatre, London

On her last visit to London, 19 years ago, Rita Rudner appeared in the Royal Variety Show at the Dominion Theatre. Tonight, she played the more modest, 420-seater, Leicester Square Theatre. However, the American has not lost her lustre and in-between time has become Las Vegas's most successful comedians.

The marriage of Figaro and footie

I'm working-class, tattooed and a football fan. I also run an opera venue. So don't call me elitist, says Michael Volpe

The Business On: Stephen Billingham, chairman-elect, Punch Taverns

Can he pull a decent pint?

Tuilagi should be banned – but let the punishment stop there

In the muddy world of rugby, the centre's punch on Chris Ashton was no worse than nicking the beer kitty and shouldn't affect his England chances, argues Chris Hewett

Deborah Ross does DIY: Can the hapless homemaker become a practical woman-about-the-house?

When I am first called by this magazine and asked to attend a couple of "You Can Do It" DIY classes at B&Q I say: "No, but thanks for thinking of me. I am always thinking of you. Bye, now".

The most scandal-ridden government ever known?

The Labor government of Australia's largest and most populous state is facing an epic defeat tomorrow after 16 years in power, following a string of scandals possibly unrivalled in the Western world.

Punch to sell thousands of pubs after debts soar

Punch Taverns has unveiled a radical plan to sell off up to 2,650 pubs over the next five years and split the debt-laden group into two listed companies, one for managed and one for leased pubs.

Jon Hamm - It's all started to ad up...

After starring in one of TV's great series, Mad Men's Jon Hamm is moving his pitch to the big screen. Kaleem Aftab meets him

Matt Prior: Siddle annoyed me but I didn't challenge him to a punch-up

Ashes Insider: Losing is a hammer blow of course but we will leave the defeat in Perth

Album: Saint Etienne, A Glimpse of Stocking (Foreign Office)

Without bells on – the atheist's guide to Christmas music

The business on...Ian Dyson, Chief executive, Punch Taverns

The new head barman?

Mr Dyson is indeed new to the post, having replaced Giles Thorley, the pubs group's colourful ex-boss, only three months ago.

Pubs serve up success story on a plate

Food is one of the 'Five Fs' that pumped up the profits for a trade that many said was sunk

Dom Joly: Fit? Me? I'm like a pot-bellied pig with a punchbag

Trying to get fit is not as simple an affair as I would have thought. I've been here before, of course – keen visits to the local gym, multiple purchasing of revolting sportswear and then, three weeks in, I get bored, the visits tail off and the sportswear joins the collection abandoned in the bottom drawer.

Pub landlord reveals his literary side

Al Murray, the bar-room comic, is making a documentary about his ancestor William Makepeace Thackeray

Thea Gilmore - Motherhood and the rebirth of a songstress

One of Britain's most under-appreciated songwriters tells Chris Mugan about the unexpected theme of her new album
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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 Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future