Arts and Entertainment

Shearsmith suggests new series would be with different characters

Dicks, right, with his writing partner Myles Rudge; they met after Dicks saw Rudge in a production of ‘Salad Days’

Ted Dicks: Co-writer of 'Right Said Fred' and 'Hole in the Ground'

The songwriter Ted Dicks wrote "Hole in the Ground" and "Right Said Fred", comic songs whose humour and vitality reflected his own personality and interests. He was a very pleasant and gregarious man with a passion for writing about the working man.

Jason Orange's feelings fizzed for Catherine

Jason Orange and Catherine Tate had "real sparks" between them from the moment they met.

Little Britain given a whole new meaning

I've spent more of my life playing music than speaking. If I ever really wanted to express an idea, emotion or even a storyline, music has always been my first choice. But having released eight albums, I was keen to find a fresh approach for my ninth so this album started as something quite different – a script.

Invisible Ink: No 91 - Charles Dickens

There was once a comedy sketch from the Monty Python precursor At Last the 1948 Show in which the annoying bibliophile Marty Feldman tried to buy a copy of Rarnaby Budge by Darles Chickens.

Comedy Rules, By Jonathan Lynn

Jonathan Lynn may be best known as the co-writer of Yes Minister (Margaret Thatcher's favourite sitcom, allegedly) but he has also turned his hand to comic acting, directing and screenwriting. Who better to ask, therefore, if you want to write, perform or direct comedy? Surely he'd know what to do and what not to do? Yet this compact and cheerful book isn't just a user's manual. It's also a charming memoir, full of amusing and insightful anecdotes about the many entertainers Lynn has worked with.

Idiots of Ants (4/5)/Late Night Gimp Fight (2/5)/Sheeps (4/5), Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

If anyone has come up with a better beginning and ending to a sketch show on the Fringe this year than Idiots of Ants, I haven't seen it. Model Citizens opens with a tricksy Truman Show-inspired skit and ends with... well, that would be telling. Suffice to say it's a high-energy, feelgood finale to a high-energy, feelgood show.

Toby (4/5)/Lady Garden (3/5), Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Just when you think you've seen every possible permutation of sketch comedy – troupes of boys in suits or girls in matching frocks, sketches performed at super high-speed, to rock music or in gimp masks – the Fringe throws up another possibility. Toby are Sarah and Lizzie Daykin, real-life sisters who perform surreal sketches while barely keeping a lid on their sibling bickering. Having been spotted by the relentlessly innovative production company The Invisible Dot on the Free Fringe in 2010, they're one of the most refreshing and exciting new acts at the Pleasance this year.

Double Feature, Paintframe: National Theatre, London

This is the first time I have heard a version of "The Girl from Ipanema" in which the percussionist sports goggles and paint-spattered white overalls and provides a beat by sawing at a plank of wood. But then this is the first time the National has opened its Paintframe, a hangar of a workshop next to the Cottesloe, for a sort of mini-Fringe comprised of two double bills of hour-long plays by young dramatists.

Richard Herring: What Is Love Anyway?, Udderbelly's Pasture, Edinburgh

At the end of his Fringe show Christ on a Bike last year, Richard Herring usurped the atheism of the majority of his audience when he asked them if they believed in one true love. That concluding flourish in turn has laid the foundation for this discourse, one that has a simple mission; "to destroy love".

Whatever Happened to Benny Hill? Tron Theatre, Glasgow

The tragicomic circumstances of Benny Hill's life and death are familiar to anyone who remembers the comedian, and there's a narrative arc to them which doesn't require undue forcing. From wide-eyed young wannabe variety performer to internationally famous television superstar to unmarried and far out-of-fashion pensioner dying alone in his rented Teddington flat, the glory and the sadness of his life speaks for itself.

Beyond the Edinburgh Fringe: Meet the young comedians taking the internet by storm

The Edinburgh Festival is now so crowded that many comedy acts are instead taking to the web in their attempts to break through. But is it any easier – and are the results worthwhile? Matt Chorley asks YouTube's big hitters

This is a Book, By Demetri Martin

Life with the wolfman, and other sketches

Vic and Bob raise a cheer with Afternoon Delights

Following on from its partnership with Steve Coogan, which produced some acclaimed internet shorts featuring Alan Partridge, corporate comedy sponsor Foster's is about to unleash Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer's Afternoon Delights on the web.

Pajama Men: In the Middle of No One, Soho Theatre, London

With its American basement club vibe, it was apt that this excellent US duo were chosen to be the inaugural act for Soho Theatre's new downstairs venue. Assembled around tightly packed cabaret tables, tonight's audience faced a curtain backdrop on to which the Pajama Men's name was projected, something almost too fancy for this pretty no-frills (yet high-octane) act whose only props are their expressive voices and bodies.

The Sketch: Irritating Eds finally succeed in upsetting Cameron's composure

That may be the end of the PM's lordly ease at the dispatch box. It was a lovely act while it lasted. Week by week we had an exhibition from another era as Cameron showed us the upper-class skill of manners being the art of making other people feel uncomfortable.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Panama
Languedoc Roussillon
Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains
Bruges
The Jura Mountains
Dubrovnik & the Dalmatian Coast
Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week