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
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tvBut something’s not quite right
News
scienceIg Nobel Prizes announced
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