Student

Eleanor Doughty is dismayed at the news that some universities and colleges are offering rewards like fee reductions or laptops to students with good grades

Noddy goes to the Trocadero

MARIANNE MACDONALD

Sooty sweeps the board in race for rights

Children's favourites: Historic characters up for auction as technology develops multi-million pound profits

i was a baby bible basher

THE suzi feay COLUMN

AN EARFUL OF STORIES

An earful of stories

LETTER: Picnic in the dunes

From Mr Kenneth Riley

Three cheers for Enid Blyton

Famous Five caps and mugs? Super, says Julie Myerson, if kids still read the books

Party on Parnassus

John Walsh discovers who's in and who's out at the literary gathering of the century; The Reader's Companion to Twentieth-Century Writers ed. Peter Parker Fourth Estate, pounds 25

A drama worth waiting for ...

About 30 years ago I conceived a great desire to write a play like one of Tom Stoppard's plays. I know exactly when it happened. It happened just as I was coming out of the first Stoppard play I had ever seen. It happened again the next time, just as I was coming out of the second Stoppard play I saw. It grew to be a habit after a while - in fact, eventually I started getting the urge to write plays like Stoppard's just before I went into new plays by Stoppard.

Obscure origins of a thirtysomething crush

AS MIDDLE AGE approaches (I was 34 last week, at last, and promise this will never be mentioned again), I am in the grip of two different cultural obsessions. The first is the obvious one: that all of a sudden, however much I struggle to understand, I don't have a clue about teenage style, let alone the pre-teen variety that my five-year-old is so confident about.

When PC gives equality a bad name

In the aftermath of the Islington childcare scandal, it is easy to deride political correctness. Polly Toynbee warns against a backlash

`I'm not keen on Roald Dahl'

Story of the Year 3: Dinah Hall talks to a mother and daughter about what they read. Below, our short story competition

BOOKS FOR CHILDREN Turning back the page

Some people never grow out of children's books, says Suzi Feay Some adults have developed a "Chalet School mentality"

BOOK REVIEW / A taste for indigo linen

THE BEST OF FRIENDS Joanna Trollope Bloomsbury £15.99

OBITUARY:Donald Baverstock

Around the table at the weekly meeting of the BBC Television Talks department in the Fifties and early Sixties, when I was the departmental head, there was a profusion of production talent. Grace Wyndham Goldie, Huw Wheldon, David Attenborough, Paul Fox, Alasdair Milne, Michael Peacock and many others were later to provide the leadership of British television. The most voluble, usually the most stimulating, and often the most exasperating, was Donald Baverstock, the Editor and begetter of Tonight. That programme pioneered the transformation of the BBC away from mandarin broadcasting, several years before Hugh Greene was hailed as the liberating Director- General.

BOOK REVIEW / The way we talk now: Zoe Heller explores the blather and hokum that spoil the argument over political correctness: The War of the Words - Ed Sarah Dunant: Virago, pounds 7.99

The life-span of most catch-phrases follows the same pattern; a felicitous moment of coinage when some social trend is 'caught' for the first time; a period of popularisation during which the term enters into common language via the media; a high point of ubiquity (often heralded by hearing your grandmother use the phrase); and finally saturation, when the term, grown baggy and vague, starts to function as a generalised form of abuse.
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