Arts and Entertainment Tamsin Greig as Varia and Iain Glen as Kolia in Anton Chekhov's Longing directed by Nina Raine at Hampstead Theatre in London

Chekhov is amongst that very rare breed of author who is a genius in two distinct forms – the play and the short story. Michael Frayn, not un-incidentally a fine translator of Chekhov, is another such.

The Weekend's Viewing: Me and Mrs Jones, Fri, BBC1
Friday Night Dinner, Fri, Channel 4

It's an odd thing, comic exaggeration – absolutely essential to comedy but also potentially lethal if you get the dose wrong.

Joe Penhall's new play, Birthday, will open at the Royal Court a record-breaking six months after his last new play, Haunted Child, opened at the theatre
Nominee: Hugh Bonneville

The kings – and undisputed queen – of British comedy are...

Miranda Hart is set to consolidate her position as one of the biggest comedy stars in Britain after scooping four nominations at the British Comedy Awards.

Jumpy, Royal Court, London

Painfully funny portrayal of a woman on the verge of a breakdown

Green TV star joins race to unseat Sarkozy in 2012

A popular television environmentalist, Nicolas Hulot, has joined the rush of candidates for next year's presidential election – further complicating Nicolas Sarkozy's route to winning a second term.

DVD: Episodes: Series One (15)

The latest sitcom from Friends co-creator David Crane stars Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig as a British couple who write a hit BBC TV show. They move to LA to recreate their sitcom for a US audience, but realise the studio execs have no intention of sticking to their original concept. Enter the great Matt LeBlanc (Friends' Joey), playing a caricature of himself, who is horribly miscast as the show's protagonist, much to Mangan and Greig's vexation. Frequent laugh-out-loud moments and a host of endearingly awful characters make this series feel like a very promising start, but Americanised one-liners fail to capitalise on Mangan and Greig's distinctly British delivery.

Episodes, BBC2, Monday<br/>Zen, BBC1, Sunday<br/>Human Planet, BBC1, Thursday

It's a comedy about a comedy with precious little comedy &ndash; but just maybe, the joke's on us

Last Night's TV - Episodes, BBC2; Shameless, Channel 4; Baking Made Easy, BBC2

Atlantic crossing's not that smooth

Episodes: The one where Matt LeBlanc plays himself...

Matt LeBlanc became a hermit after Friends and Joey &ndash; but the chance to send himself up in a new sitcom was irresistible, he tells James Rampton

C4's Inbetweeners plan their final act

Having discovered comedy gold in the shape of one of the funniest series to hit the small screen in the past decade, Channel 4 has had to face an unpalatable truth: inbetweeners do not stay inbetweeners forever.

Culture Club: Tamara Drewe (15)

Readers review this week's film

Tamara Drewe, Stephen Frears, 111 mins, (15)<br/>Cyrus, Jay and Mark Duplass, 91 mins, (15)

A quintessentially British tale of passion and folly &ndash; with a touch of darkness too

Tamara Drewe (15)

A crackling pocketful of Posy
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried