Life & Style

Meza, 70 Mitcham Road, Tooting, London

Portrait Artist of the Year, Sky Arts 1

TV Review: Portrait Artist of the Year, Sky Arts 1

Sky Arts' random-presenter-generating machine has thrown up an interesting pairing to front their new television competition show. Portrait Artist of the Year will be presented by veteran broadcaster Joan Bakewell and that er... renowned expert in fine art Frank Skinner. It's Bake-Off, but with painting, because apparently there is no hobby or artistic pursuit that won't do as the basis for a TV talent competition. Whatever next? A show about competitive stamp collecting presented by Kerry Katona and Alan Yentob? A taxidermy tournament with Mary Beard and Peter Andre? Let's hope so, because on the evidence of last night's episode these marriages of high and low culture can be surprisingly successful.

Butt, centre, with production manager Sue Bysh, receives a Bafta from Ronnie Barker for ‘Just Good Friends’ in 1987

Ray Butt: Television producer best known as the guiding force of 'Only Fools and Horses'

A smart and meticulous comedy maker with a common touch, Ray Butt was absolutely the right man to orchestrate Only Fools and Horses, voted Britain's Best Sitcom in a nationwide poll in 2004.

John Sullivan: Writer who created the classic sitcom 'Only Fools and Horses', as well as 'Citizen Smith' and 'Just Good Friends'

If he had only ever written Only Fools and Horses...John Sullivan would have ensured his place among the creators of classic television sitcoms.

'Only Fools and Horses' writer John Sullivan dies

Scriptwriter John Sullivan has died at the age of 64, the BBC announced today.

BBC to evict 'My Family' in favour of new comedies

The long-running sitcom My Family is to be axed by the BBC after 11 years. The series, which stars Robert Lindsay and Zoe Wanamaker as Ben and Susan Harper, has run for more than 100 episodes.

In from the cold: Alan Bleasdale on his return to television after a decade in the wilderness

He proved himself the finest TV writer of his generation. So why has it taken more than a decade for Liverpool's finest, Alan Bleasdale, to make his way back to our screens?

Onassis, Novello Theatre, London

Did Aristotle Onassis really conspire in the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in 1968? And did he do so out of cultural envy, sexual jealousy, business tactics, in deference to the PLO (with whom he safeguarded his commercial airline), or mere spite?

Interview: Citizen Lindsay turns megalomaniac

The actor best known for his TV comedies talks to Rachel Shields about his latest stage role – sinister tycoon Aristotle Onassis

Last Night's Television: Five Days, BBC1<br />Damages, BBC1

Best line of the week so far? No contest, I think, though obviously my survey hasn't been absolutely comprehensive. The scene was a brief and tangential one, a minor character in the drama staggering away from a heavy night on the ale and puking convulsively on to the pavement. After wiping his mouth he wearily takes a swig from the can of beer in his hand and says, in a scouse accent, "Can't wait till I've had enough." It was the last thing you saw in the opening episode of Alan Bleasdale's GBH, currently being repeated on the cable channel Yesterday, and it was a reminder that, at its best, British television drama can (or perhaps could) compete with anything the Americans can do. You'd have to have watched the whole episode to understand how good that detail was – how it gave a gleeful, sardonic flick to Bleasdale's theme of thirst – for revenge and power and gratification. And, regrettably it's the kind of thing we've learnt to expect from buy-in American drama rather than the home-grown product.

Electric Ink, Radio 4<br>David Attenborough's Life Stories, Radio 4

What's funny about the perilous state of the press? Quite a lot, actually

Arts: Keep your nose out of it

Alan Bleasdale advised Robert Lindsay to abandon the stereotypes for his television Fagin. This time, it's strictly by the book.

Don't deprive us of our best villains

ACCORDING TO a recent article about the BBC's Oliver Twist, due this autumn, the distinguished dramatist Alan Bleasdale has, for the most ethical reasons, decided to eradicate the more flamboyantly revolting aspects of Fagin, our second favourite villain (Shylock of course being the first).

Pop; Smash bang wallop

IAN DURY AND THE BLOCKHEADS BLACKHEATH CONCERT HALL LONDON

Last Call: First Call, Last Call

RICHARD III is one of Shakespeare's most bloody plays, ever popular with audiences for its portrayal of evil. It's a complex task for an actor to elicit any sympathy for the lead, as Richard represents a type of evil which cannot be easily explained. So, it is a tribute to Robert Lindsay's ability, taking the title role here in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre's production, that he doesn't just comes across as a soulless man intent on political domination at all costs. Directed by Elijah Moshinksy.

Lindsay accuses critics of vile plot

HELL HATH no fury like an actor in receipt of a bad review. In the case of Robert Lindsay the fury is accompanied by pain, paranoia, outrage and soul-baring. But then he did receive a stinker.
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