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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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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine