Life and 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

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.

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.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore