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.

Hattie Morahan is instantly enthralling in 'A Doll's House'

A Doll's House, Young Vic, London
Dandy Dick, Richmond Theatre, London
St John's Night, Jermyn Street Theatre, London

Ibsen's marital drama still feels palpably radical in an imaginatively staged production

There But For The, by Ali Smith

Where Smith's previous novel, The Accidental, saw a charismatic chancer barging her way into the affections of a middle-class family, here, a guest at a dinner party quite literally barges his way into a family home by excusing himself during desert and barricading himself into their upstairs en suite room.

Tara Lynne Barr is mesmerising as Roxy in this cheerfully vicious satire

God Bless America, Bobcat Goldthwait, 104 mins (15)

A middle-aged man and a crazed teen wade through the shallows of modern America

Jonathan Church on his strategy, borrowed from Olivier: 'You choose three for the audience and one for yourself'

The irresistible rise of Jonathan Church

Fiona Mountford on the man who's transformed the fortunes of Chichester Festival Theatre

Simon Day, ex of 'The Fast Show', makes his audiences laugh - and shudder

The Simon Day Show, Radio 4, Thursday
A Straight Question, Radio 4, Wednesday
Saturday Classics, Radio 3, Saturday

Welcome back, Mr Day. It's never less than a bracing ride

The New Republic, By Lionel Shriver

We need to talk about terror

The Day is Dark, By Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Reykjavik lawyer and under-age granny, Thora Gudmundsdottir, isn't usually fazed by the dark. But finding herself in remotest Greenland, investigating the disappearance of mining company employees, she finds herself listening out for unexplained creaks.

Sacha Baron Cohen: UN was scared of my 'dictator'

An unmasked Sacha Baron Cohen has revealed that the United Nations barred him from shooting The Dictator at its New York headquarters because his comic portrayal of a Middle East tyrant would embarrass the heads of member states.

Tyrant: Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Kingsley star in the comedy ‘The Dictator’

The Dictator: Satire doesn't quite hit despot

The first laugh comes before the film has even started. "In loving memory of Kim Jong-il" reads the dedication title. It pretty much sets the tone for The Dictator, a broad, hit-and-miss satire about an Arab tyrant's indulgence of his capricious – and murderous – will.

The Dictator, 83 mins (15)

It doesn't quite hit despot...

Stars of Moonrise Kingdom, Tilda Swinton and Bill Murray

Cannes opens with Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom

The sunbaked Cannes Film Festival got under way with Wes Anderson's “Moonrise Kingdom,” whose carefully composed whimsy stood in stark contrast to the zoo-like atmosphere at the annual French Riviera extravaganza.

General Aladeen, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, will grace our cinema screens this week in The Dictator

General alert: From Staines to Wadiya, I is da man!

North African despot General Aladeen hates the West and is just weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade plutonium. No laughing matter - unless you're a Sacha Baron Cohen fan

You might die laughing – Sacha Baron Cohen's Dictator stages comedy coup

Sacha Baron Cohen brought guns, girls and the expected dose of controversy to the red carpet

Terence Blacker: I can't see much 'class' in Pippa Middleton

There is, sad to report, a new reason for national embarrassment. Unusually, it has nothing to do with Jeremy Clarkson, Julian Fellowes or Simon Cowell; indeed, unlike those Britons, this source of shame can be relied upon never to say anything controversial. Time magazine has just announced its annual Time 100 list of the world's most influential people. No British politicians appeared on the list, but the Middleton sisters – one a new princess, the other the sister of a new princess – are included, heralded as "avatars of aspiration".

Sacha Baron Cohen as his alter ego Borat

Kazakh champion's golden moment is tarnished ... by a rendition of Borat's anthem

Spoof from Baron Cohen's film played by mistake at medal ceremony

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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire