Arts and Entertainment

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

Mr Bean turns the handle of money-making machine

The pathetic comic character has a serious side, writes Chris Blackhurst

Mr Bean goes to Hollywood

Rowan Atkinson's new film, The Ultimate Disaster Movie, starring his alter ego, the gormless Mr Bean (pictured), has already taken Australia, New Zealand and Holland by storm and looks set to do the same in the United Kingdom.

Four weddings and a sequel

Hugh Grant to play himself again in a film called Notting Hill

Mother defends helping her son buy heroin

A 62-year-old Women's Institute member and school governor yesterday defended making daily trips to buy heroin from back-street dealers to feed her son's addiction.

Crazy for Herodotus

A Greek classic gets a walk-on part in The English Patient: suddenly it's a hot item. John Lyttle on the trend-setting power of the movies

Books you listen to

Humour is the best-selling category of audio books. Talkies Best Comedy Award went to The Long Johns (Laughing Stock, c 1hr, pounds 5.99), John Bird and John Fortune's brilliant mock interviews satirising political cynicism and expediency from the Rory Bremner Show. Blackadder's Christmas Carol (BBC, c 1hr, pounds 5.99) turns Dickens's story on its head with predictably hilarious results.

Profile: Ben Elton: Older, wiser quieter?

Writer and comic BEN ELTON talks with James Rampton

Media: Serious about funny business

Is BBC comedy stale? No, says its new head, Geoffrey Perkins. Well, he would, wouldn't he? By James Rampton

An albatross named Thatch

In the 1980s, he was too political. Now, he's not political enough. In a frank interview, Ben Elton tells Nicholas Barber about the pressures of life as a 'one-person genre'

Nye's work

Simon Nye, author of Men Behaving Badly, is back with a new sitcom set in an office. He's not interested in plots, and he thinks the best comedy happens in real life. Modest or what? James Rampton met him

CINEMA / The British are coming (again)

A year after `Four Weddings', another charming British comedy is a hit. Sue Summers meets the director of `Jack and Sarah'

Something of a comic relief

Blackadder (left) established the writer Richard Curtis (below) as a funny guy. Four Weddings and a Funeral (right), nominated for an Oscar last week, established him as a funny thing: a British boffo box- office success. Plenty to talk about, then, in his

I've been on the telly, so I know all about politics

BERNARD LEVIN once wrote in praise of Paul Eddington after the latter had refused to divulge how he voted. The gist of Levin's argument was that we showbiz types have done nothing in life except prance about on the boards, but we all think this g ives usthe right to ram our politics down everyone else's throats. This from a man who has done nothing with his own life except prance about on TW3 before settling down to a life of self-righteous pontificating. Well, Bernard Levin can shove off. I've had my own comedy series on telly and I know the truth about politics. So here's how we ought to run the world. First, we should spend a lot more money on the arts, especially small theatres that encourage new playwrights. Second, we should stop eating v eal and set all the little calves free to scamper over hill and dale. Third, um, that's it.

Why `Four Weddings . . .' was nearly `Toffs on Heat'

THEY called it Four Weddings and a Funeral and it became the most successful film ever made in this country, grossing $200m ( pounds 125m) around the world. But at the last minute, a new book reveals, the producers had a ``title crisis'' and nearly called it a lot of other things - including Toffs on Heat.

Four weddings and a circle of poetry

THE RADIO announcer reviewing the day's papers last Wednesday morning sounded half-amused, half-baffled. There is a new craze for Auden's poetry in the United States (and an incipient one here), and it comes as a by-product of the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. So much so that Vintage Books has rushed out a popular edition of Auden lyrics, to sell alongside memorabilia of the film. To cash in, that is.
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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
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
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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
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

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
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

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?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor