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.

Baron Cohen's angelic entrance to MTV awards brings out the devil in Eminem

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a British comedian posing as a gay Austrian fashionista landing on Eminem's face.

Eminem storms out of MTV Awards after Sacha Baron Cohen stunt

Eminem stormed out of the MTV Movie Awards after an incident with Sacha Baron Cohen's flamboyant alter ego Bruno.

Observations: Time to join the grouchy club

I have fond memories of watching Lewis Black record one of his television specials on Broadway in 2004. Among the many grouches of this grumpy old man of American comedy was the weather. "What is all this about the wind-chill factor?" growled Black. "Why do I need to know what temperature it could have been if it hadn't been for the breeze?" Now arriving here for a brief tour, Black may have to get used to Britain's favourite obsession.

The Sonnets: 100

By William Shakespeare

Book Of A Lifetime: The Way We Live Now, By Anthony Trollope

By rights, I ought to loathe The Way We Live Now. It starts with a withering portrait of a woman author writing begging letters to three different literary editors about her new novel. It's unremittingly racist about Jews and respectful to posh people.

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, by Geoff Dyer

If ever there was a book of two halves, it is this, Geoff Dyer's first novel for over a decade. His last fictional excursion (though for Dyer the division is largely artificial) was Paris, Trance, a druggy elegy for 90s romanticism that was partly a reworking of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.

Terence Blacker: Beyond the fringe – and wholly safe

Proving that life can sometimes come up with punchlines with which no satirists could compete, Dudley Moore and Peter Cook have both been in the news this week. Moore, who died in 2002, is being remembered by his rather odd-sounding last wife, Nicole Rothschild, who is reported to be writing a memoir in which Cuddly Dudley is presented as drug-addled sex addict.

Wannabe suicide bombers beware: Chris Morris movie gets go-ahead

He has persuaded MPs to campaign to keep the fictitious drug "cake" off the streets, and musician Phil Collins to warn children against paedophiles while wearing a "Nonce Sense" T-shirt. Now the satirist Chris Morris is tackling his most controversial topic yet: wannabe suicide bombers.

Win VIP tickets to the Erotica Ball & Erotica show

The Erotica show is the ulitimate adult lifestyle expo and takes place at Olympia London from 21-23 November 2008. This year the show is 11 years old, and to celebrate there are even more fabulous events taking place with everything from live burlesque and cabaret shows to an eclectic exhibition showcase.

Not In My Name, by Julie Burchill & Chas Newkey-Burden

Some immodest proposals

Album: The Tubes, Goin' Down (Cherry Red)

Since the deaths of Frank Zappa and Warren Zevon, satire has become a vanishingly small part of the rock music scene – though lord knows, there’s far more to be cynical about in the current music biz than ever before.

Trail Of The Unexpected: Lyon's answer to Punch and Judy

Extreme violence and misogyny are the last things you'd expect to find on a holiday in France, but that's what you get a dose of in the puppet shows of Lyon. This year marks the bicentenary of the birth of Lyon's most famous puppet, Guignol, the French equivalent of Punch, who for 200 years has been accompanied by his cantankerous wife, Madelon, and the endearing drunkard, Gnafron.

In Memory of My Father (NC)

Writer-director-actor Christopher Jaymes's comedy of familial meltdown tries for the taboo-breaking satire of TV's Curb Your Enthusiasm without understanding what makes it funny.

ITV Headcases: A new cast of computer-generated characters is satirising the media

Chris Green talks to the show's creator, Henry Naylor

Friction, By Joe Stretch

Friction is about six characters in contemporary-ish Manchester who've all been deadened after too much stimulation and by consumerism's false promises. (Even its narrator, who is in a cell somewhere in a totalitarian future, can't always be bothered to explain things. Peripheral characters are designated Boy 1 or Girl 2; he tells us that "they blah-blah for a bit", and to do the job of imagining it for ourselves.) Still, animal urges remain, so these characters embark on an adventure into libertinism and depravity. Justin, who formalises the plan, thinks of it as an experiment. He wants to save us all by discovering "brand new ways of having sex". He's young – early 20s – so doesn't realise that it's all been tried before: by Sade, obviously, but also in strikingly similar ways, by the characters in JG Ballard's 1960s and 1970s books such as Crash and The Atrocity Exhibition. Justin and his accomplices go to an event called "Fuck Power", a masked orgy wherein the masks are of famous world leaders. Carly discovers a new electro-mechanical sex toy and sets about pleasuring herself to death. The experiment that goes the most wrong – recreational abortion – is, though, so far as I'm aware, entirely of their own devising.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
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Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

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Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

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