Arts and Entertainment

Shearsmith suggests new series would be with different characters

The Emperor's New Clothes (03/02/13)

The dead parrot! Mrs Sartre!! How did we manage before 'Monty Python'? Very well indeed...

Alexei Sayle

Alexei Sayle, Soho Theatre, London

Comedian-turned-author, turned-comedian again, Alexei Sayle was rather hoarse for his first proper standup show in seventeen years.

Television choices: New Yorker CK enjoys the sweet smell of success

TV pick of the week: Louie

Amy Poehler was great success on Golden Globes - but who is she?

Tina Fey and Poehler replaced Ricky Gervais as this year's hosts. But unlike Fey, her blond counterpart is relatively unknown this side of the pond

Miranda Hart replaces Alan Car as presenter of Chatty Man for Channel 4's Mash Up

Comedy actress Miranda Hart seems to be going on a new year health kick - and then undoing it with a cheeky tipple.

The foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) has new challenges ahead in the new series

Malcolm Tucker and the The Thick of It triumph at the British Comedy Awards

Peter Capaldi and Rebecca Front won best actor and actress gongs for their efforts in Armando Iannucci's Shadow Cabinet

John Lloyd: When the laughing has to stop

Not The Nine O'Clock News once announced on air that the TV picture of anyone without a TV licence would go black. It did so, then a phone number appeared and a voiceover invited culprits to call the Director-General and explain themselves. From that moment the phone in our production office started ringing. Stifling our laughter, each of us in turn fielded calls from frantic viewers promising to pay up. After 40 years in entertainment, I believe making people laugh is "a Good Thing". But – like power, money, science and religion – comedy is a powerful tool that can be used for good or ill. And, on rare occasions, it can be lethal.

Jacintha Saldanha, Kate Middleton, and how prank calls show comedy can be used for both good and ill

From Hogarth to Chris Morris, there is a long tradition in Britain of setting out to make people look foolish. Within that tradition, prank calls are the new lowest form of wit

Thinking of Ewe: Prime Minister David Cameron's drawing goes under the hammer

A signed doodle by Prime Minister David Cameron is going under the hammer for schemes run by the Cornwall-based Eden Project.

Picture of health: Helena Bonham Carter as a bonny Miss Havisham

IoS film review 2: Great Expectations
Sightseers
The Hunt

Mike Newell's 'Great Expectations' crams in the detail, but blink and you'll miss the drama

Heroines and Harridans: A Fanfare of Fabulous Females, By Sandi Toksvig

Wild women remembered with a smile

Glee for comedy-goers after Corden’s quick Cardiff turn

Alice Jones' Arts Diary

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
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Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
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Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all