News

While politicians agonise over the size of the Government’s debt, one of the most expensive publicly funded projects in recent years is quietly getting under way.

Wild? A National Park warden sits with an orphaned mountain gorilla

Mike Unwin: Too late to be a purist over The Not-Really-WildShow

Something to Declare

Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson in Blackadder

Baldrick bites back: Sir Tony Robinson calls Michael Gove 'irresponsible' over criticisms of Blackadder as propaganda tool for the left

Actor says comments by Education Secretary amounted to 'slagging off teachers'

Inside television: Why the battle is not just for ratings

This year marks 100 years since the start of a four-year war which claimed 16 million lives around the world. In October, the BBC laid claim to this anniversary announcing an ambitious slate of over 2,500 hours of First World War programming. Clearly, Adrian Van Klaveren needn't worry whether he's commissioned enough programmes, but if anything keeps the BBC's Controller of the World War One Centenary up at night over the next four years, it will be the tone of these documentaries and dramas.

Labour adviser turned stand-up comedian Matt Forde

Acerbic Ed Miliband jokes have Jack Straw rolling in the aisles

The Labour adviser turned stand-up Matt Forde came face-to-face with one of his subjects when Jack Straw showed up at his show this week. "I was just kicking my shoes off in my dressing room after the show and the former Foreign Secretary popped his head around the door", he said.

Dan Carter was named Player of the Year for a second time, at the IRB's annual awards

New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter to follow Richie McCaw in taking six-month sabbatical

Carter will take time out from the game after the Kiwi's November European Tour

David Walliams and Lara Stone have had their first child, a baby boy.

David Walliams says sexuality 'can change for people over the years'

Funnyman David Walliams says sexuality "can change over the years".

John Lloyd: The Liff of QI

Edinburgh 2013: John Lloyd's The Liff of QI does exactly what it says on the tin

The comedy producer and QI founder John Lloyd does exactly what he sets out to do with this show - at least according to the blurb on his flyer: to take the audience on a journey via The Meaning of Liff (the spoof lexicon he co-wrote with Douglas Adams) and his constant search for quite interesting facts.

The 'Not the Nine O'Clock News's team (left to right), Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, and Griff Rhys Jones carrying Pamela Stephenson in 1980

Mel Smith, the man who made me howl with laughter

As so many people have said, Mel Smith, who has died at the age of 60, was a comedy giant. And his talent was evident – obvious – when I first saw him 40 years ago. I was then trying to make my way in comedy at Cambridge, and he, then president of the slightly loftier Oxford University Dramatic Society, had agreed to take part, rather to amuse himself, I suspect. He was by a mile the best thing in it. Clever, and very, very funny, as he always was subsequently.

Rowan Atkinson in his Comic Relief sketch as Archbishop of Canterbury

Rowan Atkinson's brother slams 'adolescent' comic relief sketch

Rowan Atkinson’s Archbishop of Canterbury sketch for Comic Relief has received another complaint-this time from his own brother.

Tony Robinson, presenter of 'Time Team'

Tony Robinson 'frustrated' after Channel 4 axes Time Team

TV star Tony Robinson has admitted Channel 4's decision to axe its archaeology series Time Team has left him "frustrated".

2013's red nose - Comic Relief has raised £75m so far

Red faces: Not everyone sees the funny side of 'lewd' Comic Relief

It has raised over £800m in all, but this year's pre-watershed language wasn't funny, say furious viewers

Rowan Atkinson as St John Quartermaine
and Conleith Hill as Henry Windscape in Quartermaine's Terms by Simon Gray at the Wyndham's Theatre

First Night: Quartermaine's Terms; Wyndham's Theatre, London

Atkinson gives a masterclass in awkward for return to the stage

Bean downplays Bank QE move

Charlie Bean, the deputy governor of the Bank of England and key interest rate setter, has poured cold water on the chances of an imminent expansion of the £375bn quantitative easing programme.

Blackadder in Bethlehem: ‘Lost’ Christmas special from 1988 revealed

We’ve seen Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder going forth in the First World War, ruffed-up and ruffled as a courtier to Elizabeth I and trussed up in a wig as a stroppy Prince Edmund in the middle ages. But a ‘lost’ episode due to be revealed this week presents the character as we’ve never seen him before: Edmund Blackadder the Bethlehem innkeeper.

Ben Elton: Live From Planet Earth, has ended after a mere three
episodes

Ben Elton pens new sitcom about local government

Ben Elton has written a new sitcom set in the dysfunctional world of local government.

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Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried