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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Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

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Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

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Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

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Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

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The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

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Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

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Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
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Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

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Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

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General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

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