Arts and Entertainment

Cutie and the Boxer (E) Zachary Heinzerling, DVD (82mins)

Stars take on 24 Hour Plays gala challenge

Some of the biggest names in theatre descended on London’s Old Vic over the weekend to write and perform six plays from scratch as part of the theatre’s seventh “24 Hour Plays” celebrity gala.

Dominic Lawson: Kill a schoolchild. How hilarious

Richard Curtis will have his latest film hanging round his neck like a stinking fish for as long as he is successful enough to be worth mocking

Climate change film blows up in Richard Curtis's face

When it comes to galvanising support for the fight against climate change, many methods have been tried, from switching out the lights in London skyscrapers to handing out free low-energy bulbs. Until now though, no one had thought of detonating two schoolchildren in front of their blood-smeared classmates.

David Flatman: My Blackadder accent is mocked but cunning plan now is to rest

A meaty, fun tour rounds off a long, hard season – and smiling at the haka is a perfect way to bow out

IRB to seek solution to rising injury toll and excessive kicking

Rugby's governing body to host conference in Dublin next month in attempt to address major problems afflicting the sport

Film in 2009: Cheers for sink-estate misery. Jeers for a boat that plopped

'Fish Tank' by Andrea Arnold dazzled, but Richard Curtis seemed to have lost his golden touch

Is this a magic formula to attract young people back to television?

E4's hit teen shows include Skins and Misfits but it's still criticised for making 'vacuous pap'. The controller Angela Jain argues her case to Ian Burrell

The Merry Gentleman (15)

Michael Keaton's directorial debut is a low-key character study which just about survives its odd shifts of tone.

For the record: 14/09/2009

"I'm out! I'm free!" Stephen Farrell calls the New York Times's foreign desk after being rescued from Taliban kidnappers by British special forces

DVD: The Boat that Rocked, For retail & rental (Universal)

Four Weddings: funny. Notting Hill: not bad. Bridget Jones: decent. Love Actually: barely passable. Mr Bean's Holiday: oh dear. And so to TBTR, Richard Curtis's latest, which continues the plummeting trajectory.

Midsummer, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Only in Edinburgh might you find a rom-com which has ditties about the worst hangover in the world, a mist-wreathed Ikea car-park and a night of Japanese rope bondage gone wrong. For all that, though, Midsummer, "a play with songs" written by David Greig and Gordon McIntyre from the indie band Ballboy, remains desperately romantic.

Observations: A chance for Rhys Darby's growing fanbase to see the man behind Murray

It doesn't seem that long ago since, crammed into one of the smallest, stuffiest rooms of The Pleasance venue in Edinburgh, I watched a slightly nerdy-looking, curly-mopped comedian act out an entire comedy play using mime and sound effects.

How Blackadder changed the history of television comedy

The screenwriter and director Richard Curtis talks to Ian Burrell about his enduringly popular creation
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Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
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The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
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Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
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Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
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An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
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Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own