Arts and Entertainment

Laugh out loud new shows on the road this autumn

Lloyd Langford

My Edinburgh: Lloyd Langford on playing Russian roulette with luck at the Fringe

Upon arriving in Edinburgh for the Fringe, my show aside, my main concern is my accommodation. For performers, finding suitable accommodation for the festival is often a mixture of trial and error, following tip-offs and plain dumb luck.

The City Diary: Loose cash

I'll begin with a curious case involving Christo Wiese, one of South Africa's most prominent businessmen and a former chairman of our own Instore (Brown & Jackson as was), erstwhile owner of discount retailer Poundstretcher.

Big trouble at BBC2? The controller is calm under fire

It can't be easy for Janice Hadlow just now. She is the woman who made television stars of Simon Schama and David Starkey. She is ready to enthuse about plans to broadcast underwater images of a submerged Mycenaean city, to make a landmark series on the classical world, and to reveal the home-decorating secrets of the Victorians.

Diary: Angelina's local point

It's at least five days since I last wrote about Angelina Jolie and, fresh from her publicity tour for the broad Cold War stereotyping of her spy thriller Salt, the star has revealed she's to make a more nuanced movie next.

Edinburgh Festival Diary: 15/08/2010

Frank Skinner and the Assembly are at loggerheads over his last-minute withdrawal as host of The Talk Show at its new venue in Princes Street Gardens.

Diary: Throwing the book at Blair

The preparations for Tony Blair's book signing at Waterstone's Piccadilly sounded a tad over the top when they were announced yesterday morning. The former PM will sign copies of his memoir, A Journey, on 8 September, reported The Bookseller. However: "Customers cannot be photographed with Blair, there will be no personal dedications and all bags, backpacks and briefcases must be checked in, along with cameras and mobile phones... Blair will sign a maximum of two books per customer." The security rigmarole seemed slightly more salient by the afternoon, however, when the Stop The War Coalition set up a Facebook page calling on its members to stage a "mass protest" at the event, and announced plans to arrest Blair for alleged war crimes. "We will be asking people to boycott Waterstone's completely and shut the chain of shops down if this event goes ahead," warned activist Andrew Burgin. Mr Burgin also works as a second-hand bookseller, but far be it from me to suggest he might have an ulterior motive.

My Edinburgh Sean Hughes, comedian

I've been coming up to Edinburgh for almost 25 years – with a seven-year gap in the middle. The Fringe has totally changed in that time. You used to turn up on the day and do your show. Now you're doing interviews about your show in March.

Stephen K Amos: Non-whites should get organised and join the party?

I would love the opportunity to join the British National Party – and set up a new wing.

The School for Scandal, Pleasance, Edinburgh

Among the many morals one can draw from Sheridan's comedy of manners is a stark warning of the perils of speaking ill of others. Try telling that to a bunch of comedians.

Benjamin Zephaniah: 'I'm just a normal bloke who writes poems'

He survived a turbulent upbringing and stints in prison to become one of Britain's best-loved poets – now Benjamin Zephaniah wants to find his soul mate

The Comedy Store's 30th Birthday, The Comedy Store, London

The old ones are still the best

E Jane Dickson: Darwin can teach Vatican a useful lesson

Well, it's a start. By admitting that Darwin may have been on to something after all, the Vatican has dragged the Catholic Church slap bang into the middle of the 19th century. Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, declared this week that not only is the theory of evolution compatible with Christian faith, but has impeccable antecedents in the theology of Saints Aquinas and Augustine. "In fact," said Ravasi, "what we mean by 'evolution' is the world as created by God."

Harry told me 'you don't sound black' claims comic



A comedian has said he was told by Prince Harry: "You don't sound like a black chap."

My Week: Stephen K Amos

The London comedian recalls a week in which he performed for the Prince's Trust's gala in honour of Prince Charles's birthday
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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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there