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
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect