Arts and Entertainment On the cutting edge: Johnny Vegas, from the Face of Satire exhibition at the BFI

On 26 February, Spitting Image will celebrate its 30 birthday. BBC Four will mark the occasion with a special episode of Arena which promises to tell the “vexed and frequently hilarious story” of the sketch show which ran for 21 series between 1984 and 1996 and marked a high point in British satire.

Fortune was at his best in the Long Johns' sketches that poked fun at authority

John Fortune: Comedian and author best known for collaborations and sketches that poked fun at the powerful and self-important

John Fortune was the comedian and satirist best known for his work on the long-running television comedy series Bremner, Bird and Fortune, together with fellow comics Rory Bremner and John Bird, that ran for 16 series from 1999 to 2010.

John Fortune (right) with John Bird after they received their 1997 Bafta awards for Best Light Entertainment Performance

Farewell to the satirist whose comedy exposed uncomfortable truths: Bafta-winning comedian John Fortune dies aged 74

Not fame but curiosity drove Fortune to the peak of political satire

David Blunkett thinks shows that mock politicians should be subject to tougher libel scrutiny

'We need to watch that': David Blunkett calls for satirical TV shows such as Mock the Week to be reclassified as 'current affairs'

Programmes that mock politicians cross the line from satire to comment, he says

Facebook and Twitter top twenty: The Independent stories you've been sharing this year

From drunken nights out with a llama to testicle-eating fishes, it’s a mixed bag of stories you’ve been sharing on social media in 2013.

Among the top twenty Independent articles you’ve been tweeting and posting on Facebook this year, there are serious reports, ferocious comment pieces, astounding research and a fair few articles that pay tribute to the adage ‘the truth is stranger than fiction.’

Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile

An entire class of children was evacuated from a swimming pool after a prosthetic leg was mistaken for a paedophile.

This illustration from ‘The Eventful Voyage of HM Discovery Ship 'Resolute' to the Arctic Regions’ is one of a million-plus British Library images that have just been made available on the internet

Historic images brought into 21st century after being posted on Flickr by British Library

More than a million pictures have been scanned from texts published in the 17th to the 19th centuries

Crazy Rich Asians, By Kevin Kwan: Book review

Superficial but fun, this satire describes life for Chinese old money and nouveaux

Scarlett Strallen as Cunegonde in Candide at the Menier Chocolate Factory

Candide: Theatre review - 'At once spine-tingling and spiritually unearned'

Menier Chocolate Factory, London

Books of the year 2013: Poetry

The Selected Poems of Robert Graves (1895-1985) (Faber, £15.99), edited by Michael Longley, is a superb re-introduction to a vastly influential poet who has become almost a secret to the young. War poet, lover, servant of the pitiless muse, comedian – Robert Graves was all these, and blessed with the finest poetic ear of his time.

Andrew Marr, pictured here in his first appearance at a public event since he suffered a stroke, has said he wishes he had gone to art school instead of pursuing a journalism career

BBC’s Andrew Marr says ‘I regret going into journalism’

Successful presenter, writer and political commentator says he wishes he’d gone to art school instead – but has also signed a deal to write his first novel

Armando Iannucci puts The Thick of It to bed as Washington comedy Veep apes US government shutdown

Viewers are used to Whitehall scandals which appear to have been lifted from The Thick Of It. Now Armando Iannucci has repeated the trick with Veep, his Washington comedy, which returns with an episode depicting the catastrophic results of a US federal government shutdown.

Wallis, as Aldous Hooper, a dentist torn between two women, with Sharon Mughan in Yorkshire TV's 'Huggy Bear' in 1976

Bill Wallis: Actor who bloomed in the golden age of British satire

His diverse career took in ‘Beyond The Fringe’, Brecht, ‘Blackadder’ and Shakespeare

Review: Expo 58, By Jonathan Coe

back to the future, only in Belgium

Accidental Death of an Anarchist

Review: Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The New Theatre, Dublin

There are two kinds of classic: those whose themes are so universal they speak to every age, and those which are a canvas on which any age can write its own story. Accidental Death of an Anarchist is the latter.

Film review: Pain & Gain (15)

To call this the best movie of Michael Bay's career is to measure it against a pretty dire charge-sheet: Bad Boys, Pearl Harbor and the Transformers trilogy are enough to damn him to the Hades of Hollywood (quite a full membership). In Pain & Gain, he at least tries something different, a freakish black comedy based on a Miami Times reporter's true crime story from 1994-95.

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Day In a Page

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
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A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?