Arts and Entertainment

Shearsmith suggests new series would be with different characters

Magnificent Bastards, By Rich Hall

Rich Hall, an American-born, Perrier award-winning comedian otherwise known as his grizzled alter ego, Otis Lee Crenshaw, shows flair for conjuring up an assortment of characters in smart, playful vignettes that are told in a tone which crosses the comic with the absurd and wry.

How We Met: Dan Clark & Noel Fielding

'I used to say, "Dan, you're so funny at a party, you've got to try to get that into your comedy"'

The Sketch: Ed the ruthless now reveals his true colours

This "human" thing Ed Miliband's supporters have identified – now we can start to see what they mean as the spotlight lingers on him. Never mind the values and aspirations, the positioning and the policies – the first and most important question is: will they warm to him in Wells and Warrington?

The Armstrong & Miller Show Live, Hippodrome, Bristol

I can't recall yet seeing a stage show derived from a TV series that has ever been a wholly satisfactory venture, though perhaps, like the pile of Armstrong & Miller merchandise on offer tonight, a live arm is deemed a necessary accoutrement to a brand, as much as it is an exercise in going back to one's original roots.

Pappy's / Idiots of Ants / The Penny Dreadfuls / The Real MacGuffins, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Sketchy collection fail to deliver a knockout

The Fringe: Still crazy after all these years

Edinburgh wouldn't be Edinburgh without the annual offerings of creative lunacy. Alice Jones celebrates some of the maddest

Fringe Notes: 16/08/2010

*Nina Conti was a curious choice of headliner for the gimmicky 'Comedy in the Dark' at the Gilded Balloon. Somehow ventriloquism with the lights off loses a little of its magic.

Lady Garden: Top Secret Gig, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Returning for their third Fringe, the all-female sketch sextet Lady Garden (featuring the daughter of Jennifer Saunders and Adrian Edmondson, Beattie Edmondson) offer another mix of the clever and the cursory without achieving the perfect blend of their talents and ideas.

Dom Joly: I am the victim of a dastardly art heist

I used to love Belgium, the nation about which General De Gaulle once snorted, "Two provinces don't make a country." So many of my passions – Tintin, Jacques Brel, frites with mayonnaise – come from there. Last week, however, my love for the Flems and Walloons was severely tested.

The Sketch: Bercow was called a 'stupid, sanctimonious dwarf'. Nobody was that suprised

Speakers always have a moment when they have to impose their will on the mob

Bremner fears joke about Islam would mean death

The political satirist Rory Bremner has claimed that the "chilling" effect of fundamentalism means that every time he writes a sketch about Islam he fears that he is signing his own death warrant.

Album: The Divine Comedy, Bang Goes The Knighthood (DCR)

Unstrapping his shin pads after last year's success with The Duckworth Lewis Method, Neil Hannon returns to his main day-job with Bang Goes The Knighthood, an album on which the cast of familiar Divine Comedy characters are targeted with his usual precision and urbanity.

BBC Trust apologises over Frankie Boyle's Jew joke

The BBC Trust's editorial standards committee (ESC) has apologised over a joke made by Frankie Boyle which compared Palestine with a cake being "punched to pieces by a very angry Jew".

Broad comedy: A new wave of funny women

Forget French and Saunders. There's a new wave of funny women hitting British television screens. Gerard Gilbert introduces the best of the next generation

Between the Assassinations, By Aravind Adiga

Aravind Adiga wrote these stories before his 2008 Booker-winning novel The White Tiger, and they contain in miniature those themes which are his forte: corruption and injustice; the gulf between the rich and the poor; and portraiture of a cross-section of society. They are set in the fictional town of Kittur, a microcosm of India, between two key historical events: the assassinations of Indira Gandhi in 1984 and her son Rajiv in 1991.

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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine