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.

Ricky Gervais - Directing is no joke

As Ricky Gervais's new film, Cemetery Junction, opens, James Mottram asks what it takes for TV comedians to be successful at the movies

Spain's EU website hijacked by Mr Bean

A hacker hijacked Spain's official website for its presidency of the European Union, inserting a large smiling picture of the comic character Mr Bean.

David Prosser: The Bank sticks to its guns on QE

Outlook We will never know for sure whether quantitative easing has worked, says Charlie Bean, the deputy governor of the Bank of England. Well, in one sense, that's a statement of the obvious: the British economy might be in a much worse state had we not had QE – as Mr Bean says, we simply cannot know.

DVD: The Pink Panther 2, Retail and rental, (20th Century Fox)

As Rowan Atkinson demonstrated in his second Mr Bean film, buffoonish man-children are only funny up to a certain age, at which point they become creepy.

How Blackadder changed the history of television comedy

The screenwriter and director Richard Curtis talks to Ian Burrell about his enduringly popular creation

Leading article: Comic timing

The French do things differently from us in the Anglo-Saxon world. And comedy is no exception. The cinematic work of Jacques Tati has been likened to that of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, even Rowan Atkinson, whose Mr Bean recalls many of Tati's mannerisms.

The Pink Panther 2, Harald Zwart, 92 mins, PG<br>Friday The 13th, Marcus Nispel, 97 mins, 18

Do you remember the first time? Then give these a miss

Oliver! Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London

Well, is it a great musical? Yes. Is Rowan Atkinson any good as Fagin? Fairly good, fairly funny, but he can't sing very well, and keeps missing the beat. And what about Jodie Prenger, the people's choice as Nancy on the BBC television talent show I'd Do Anything? Oh dear.

Pandora: Scandal follows Ramsay to America

If Gordon Ramsay thought that last year's lurid revelations about his private life could be brushed under the carpet in 2009, he'd better think again.

How We Met: John Lloyd & Griff Rhys Jones

Griff Rhys Jones, 55, is a writer, comedian and television presenter, who came to prominence through his performances in Not the Nine O'Clock News. His latest series, Greatest Cities of the World, aired earlier this year. He will be appearing in a new edition of Three Men in a Boat over Christmas. He lives in London with his wife

Christmas comeback for Blackadder

Blackadder is to make a one-off comeback this Christmas - with the first in-depth interview with Rowan Atkinson about his character and involvement.

Battle at the bank

A row over the appointment of a new deputy governor reflects growing tension over reform of financial regulation. By Sean O'Grady

Why being funny is no joke

As a 'melancholy' John Cleese's third marriage comes to an end, Oliver James wonders what is it about comic geniuses that seems to make it so hard for them to be happy?
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links