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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.

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?
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
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peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
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Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week