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

Ed Richards: 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
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?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month