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
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Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific