News Unspoken: Netmums’ Siobhan Freegard says child mental health is a taboo subject

Parents are often wide of the mark when it comes to their youngsters’ fears

Rise and fall of a newspaper empire in express decline

MARIANNE MACDONALD

I cycled four miles to take Granny a bunch of buttercups. 'Thanks for the weeds,' she said

"If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life," says Jonathan, "what would you choose?"

Angus Deayton with moon-dried tomatoes

Well, you have waited long enough for the answers to our grand Christmas Quiz, and here they are today. Hope you all did well!

Man about the set

Inhabitants of Bethnal Green's Quilter Street found themselves at the heart of a film set when Mike Leigh's crew moved into number 76.

PRIZE CHUMPS

A wallchart of past winners, judges, shortlists and panels, kindly sent to us by organisers of the Booker Prize, makes fascinating reading. In 1969 Rebecca West, Stephen Spender and Frank Kermode were on the panel and Iris Murdoch, Muriel Spark and Nicholas Mosley on the shortlist. Sir Alfred Ayer chaired the year that Murdoch won with The Sea, the Sea (1978), fighting off Bernice Rubens, Jane Gardam, Penelope Fitzgerald, Kingsley Amis and Andre Brink. See, it wasn't always the post-colonial book prize with a token woman who never wins! How wonderfully readable these old lists are: 1980 alone has Golding, Burgess, Desai, Julia O'Faolain, J L Carr, Barry Unsworth and Alice Munro. So when did it all start to go so terribly pear-shaped? (This year, remember, that great literary lion George Walden MP is judging.) Was it 1985 when Joanna Lumley helped Norman St John-Stevas anoint the tediously worthy Keri Hulme? Salman Rushdie, 1981's winner, for sowing the seed of the idea that the prize should be determinedly multi-cultural? The paradox is, of course, that the more down-market and/or controversial the panel, the more obscure and worthy the winners seem to get.

PM condemns `offensive' Manning

Bernard Manning was yesterday condemned by the Prime Minister for his "offensive" remarks at a police charity dinner, while the television company which broadcast his performance said a majority of calls it received supported the comedian.

Ice couples lose their cool

AFTER a nervous start in previous competitions, the doubles pairing of Alan "91/2" Weeks and Barry Davis was in good shape for the World Figure Skating Championships (BBC2). Holding his less experienced yet opinionated partner in a powerful grip, Alan guides him through round after round, trying to steer clear of sticky areas such as biased judges and unmanly outfits. Early in the Men's Free Programme, Alan apprised us of the vital particulars of Alexei Urmanov, wearing a figure-hugging - nay, crotch- molesting - white snuggle suit with- bouffant voile sleeves in wistful shades of grey and silver. Alexei had set himself the task of communicating Swan Lake to the packed Birmingham auditorium. His arms were flung wide to embrace the full horror of the tragedy. Or was it to plead for new batteries in the bathroom tranny that was murdering Tchaikovsky? "He's a vairry good, sooperbly stylish skater," said Alan, pouring out those cream sherry vowels

My secret love for the golden girl of the BBC

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold

THE GOOD, THE GREAT & THE UGLY No 96. Ned Sherrin

I see Ned Sherrin is presenting the "Nibbies" this year. What on earth are they? They're awards for people in the book trade: booksellers, publishers and so on. They're spiffing little objects in the shape of a nib, hence the name.

QUOTES OF THE YEAR

"Any parent wants the best for their children. I am not going to make a choice for my child on the basis of what is the politically correct thing to do."

Woodman, spare that tree: A draft plan to change the face of Hampstead Heath has eminent residents shooting from the lip. Helen Nowicka reports

It seemed reasonable enough - the Corporation of London, owners of Hampstead Heath, asked the public to comment on its proposals for the 800-acre estate's future.

TELEVISION / Personal services: Of course, things have never been the same since That Was the Week that Was . . . Oh yeah? Jim White says satire is alive and spitting

The comedian Victor Lewis Smith once reduced the production staff at That's Life to a pool of gibbering liquid with a particularly savage telephone gag. Posing as a disabled trombonist, Lewis Smith rang to ask if he might be auditioned for the show. A member of Esther Rantzen's team showed growing excitement as Lewis Smith played the trombone passably. But the mood altered dramatically as he pretended to collapse out of his wheel-chair in a death swoon.

British Association for the Advancement of Science: Children aged 3 'care for disabled' disabled parents'

CHILDREN as young as three are forced to help care for disabled or terminally ill relatives, the association was told yesterday.

Man jailed for pool sex assault on girl

A MAN who sexually assaulted a girl of five in a swimming pool at Esther Rantzen's country home was jailed for 18 months yesterday.

Man convicted of sex assault on girl, 5, in swimming pool: Guest at holiday home of child abuse campaigner claimed ideas were put into his victim's mind

A GRANDFATHER who repeatedly molested a five-year-old girl in a swimming pool at Esther Rantzen's country home was convicted of indecent assault yesterday.
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