Review: Tom and Clem Aldwych Theatre, London

"So you're an agnostic?" Tom Driberg asks Clement Attlee in Tom and Clem. "Haven't made my mind up yet," replies Attlee, quite unconscious of the joke. It's an exchange that recalls the celebrated line in Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist: "I'm a man of no convictions - at least, I think I am." Indeed, that's one of the problems with Stephen Churchett's play. It continually reminds you of other much better pieces - the Burgess and Blunt plays of Alan Bennett, say, or even Simon Gray's Cell Mates. The author's first full-length drama, it has made the unusual (and I fear unwarranted) leap from unsolicited manuscript to the West End stage, where it comes over as reasonably entertaining, reasonably thought-provoking and unreasonably derivative.

A victor, in spite of everything

John Walsh meets... Richard Wilson

Labour pledge to ban news price war

Labour has promised to outlaw predatory price wars - the cut-price attempts by big business to crush competition in industries as far apart as daily newspapers, buses and bread.

One foot on the accelerator lands Victor in court

Victor Meldrew may have one foot in the grave, but Richard Wilson, the actor who plays him, had managed to put the other one down hard on the pedal - and found himself with both feet in the dock, charged with speeding. He then proceeded to insert another foot into his mouth.

American TV lightens up the miserable Meldrew

The BBC hit comedy One Foot in the Grave has been sanitised by the Americans - following fears that its television viewers would not watch a series featuring pensioners.

pick of the week:EXHIBITIONS

Paresh Maity The recently opened ARKS Gallery showcases this 31- year-old watercolour artist, whose roots reach back to the Bengali school of watercolour landscape artists. His recent work is more abstract, however, reflecting one of the most prevalent aspects of Indian art. ARKS Gallery, 16 North Audley Street, London W1, to 9th Sept

The time is out of joint

Paul Taylor applauds two powerful new plays in which the central characters cannot break free of their pasts

Prisons watchdog 'stripped of power'

Britain's first prisons ombudsman has been so stripped of power and independence by Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, that he should no longer carry the misleading title, angry MPs said yesterday.

IN BRIEF : Believe it

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Jails called to account for pounds 1.6m overspend

The Prison Service faced fresh embarrassment yesterday when independent auditors found it could not balance its books - allowing governors to overspend their budgets by more than pounds 1.6m, writes Heather Mills.

Ken is and Hugh isn't. Says who?

The new edition of Who's Who has just been published, an event which is always greeted on BBC news bulletins as if it were another version of the honours list, instead of just a list of curricula vitae. Solemnly we were told yesterday that among the new additions to the list of distinguished people were the athlete Sally Gunnell, the actor Richard Wilson, the comedian Lenny Henry, though presumably if Sally Gunnell were that well known, we would not have to be told that she was an athlete...

We don't believe it

James Rampton meets Richard Wilson, aka lovable, long-suffering Victor Meldrew

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

Sir Duncan's letters in full

These are extracts from the letters Sir Duncan Nicol sent to the Home Office
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