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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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own