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Rolf Harris, the royal artist and television entertainer, has denied sexually assaulting four girls - the youngest aged seven - in a string of alleged attacks said to have spanned nearly two decades.

Where are the women on children's TV?

Every day, Ben Walsh watches CBeebies with his daughter, yet finds there are precious few female role models for her

The Knot of the Heart, Almeida Theatre, London

Won over by a woman on the edge

Leading article: A mouse that roared

Does David Cameron approve of Rastamouse, the Jamaican-patois-speaking, crime-fighting, rodent?

Tings is good for Rastamouse, the TV cult hero

He’s the skate-boarding, Rastafarian felt mouse who solves crimes with a chilled-out mantra of “makin’ a bad ting good”. Yet it's parents and students who are helping to turn Rastamouse into the biggest childrens’ television cult hit since Teletubbies.

New name for BBC's Radio 7

BBC station Radio 7 is being given a new name - Radio 4 Extra - in an attempt to attract more listeners.

Horrible Histories: The best laughs are on children's TV

CBBC's Horrible Histories triumphed over its adult counterparts at the British Comedy Awards – and rightly so, says Gerard Gilbert

Bagpuss, Soho Theatre, London

This season's crop of Christmas shows proves that most inner-London venues are seriously under-used in the rest of the year. There is a plethora of under-age party fun in the West End and now the Soho, home to right-on drama and cutting-edge comedy, has cleared the decks for Bagpuss.

How toys took over kids' TV

The Zingzillas ... Peppa Pig ... Ben & Holly ... did you really think they were just cuddly TV characters loved by your two-year-old? Gerard Gilbert investigates the ruthless – and fearsomely lucrative – world of brand licensing

70 years in the making, the Disney cartoon that's bigger than Potter

It is the most expensive animation ever made and the 50th work to be produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Now Tangled, a re-telling of the Rapunzel fairy tale, could knock the latest Harry Potter film off the top of the US box office.

End of the Rainbow, Trafalgar Studios, London

Watching End of the Rainbow, it's hard to believe that Judy Garland is dead, so closely does Tracie Bennett resemble her, bodily and in spirit. In Peter Quilter's play – a depiction of the one-time Dorothy's final fight for the limelight in the months before her death from an accidental drug overdose – Bennett nimbly rasps and cackles, seeming to speak and sing with the late actress's voice. Her triumphant performance shows Garland wrestling with a medley of addictions – to barbiturates, Benzedrine, Ritalin and other "adult candy" as well as to alcohol, men and applause. Her characterisation is at once alluring, in its dizzy abandon, and terrifying, as you watch a fragile person heading for the brink.

A gay icon on Sesame Street? Bert comes out of the closet after 31 years

The clues were always there. Bert and Ernie have been living together for 31 years. They like to wear flamboyant "his & his" pyjamas. And (here's the clincher) they tuck themselves up together each night in the same bed.

Leading article: Coming out of the closet?

Is Bert gay? Bloggers on a number of gay websites have recently become seized with the conviction that two of the characters on Sesame Street, the muppet show for pre-literate children, share their sexual identity. Apparently Bert, who has a roommate called Ernie, recently used the word "mo", which is US slang for homosexual. The show's producers immediately rushed out a refutation.

Floella Benjamin: From Big Ted to the Big Society

Samira Ahmed meets the Baroness of Beckenham. Since 'Play School' she has become a champion of children's rights, and has just told the story of her own traumatic youth

Katy Perry's cleavage proves too much for 'Sesame Street'

Producers of the hit children's television show Sesame Street yesterday cancelled an appearance by the cleavage-baring pop singer Katy Perry following feedback from parents.

Children's TV presenter bitten by crocodile

Wildlife presenter Steve Backshall has revealed how he was bitten by a crocodile while filming a children's BBC series.

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newsBurt Reynolds, once among the most bankable actors in Hollywood, is set to auction his memorabilia
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game