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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