News Jeremy Paxman announced what he thought the internet was really for during a segment on Wednesday night’s show

Jeremy Paxman announced what he thought the internet was really for during a segment on Wednesday night’s show

Obituary: Joan Maude

JOAN MAUDE was a true daughter of the stage. Born into an illustrious theatrical family, her great grandmother on her father's side was the famous Jenny Lind, the "Swedish nightingale". She was a cousin of the actor-manager Cyril Maude and daughter of the beautiful Nancy Price, another famed actress. Although she spent only 16 years of her long life on the stage, it is as an actress that she is remembered.

pounds 30,000 tag on childhood classic

A COLLECTION of classic first-edition children's books ranging from The Wind in the Willows to The Wizard of Oz is to be sold at auction next month.

The Critics: Theatre: Peter Pan really takes off

He is the best narrator we have. Alec McCowen enters in tweed plus-fours, lights a pipe and announces: "All children grow up, except one." Three hours of enchantment follow, reminding anyone who may have scoured too many critical-theory books that shows are at their most theatrical when most childlike. It's only dressing up and make-believe: on the first night of Peter Pan there was a child who wouldn't grow up inside every one of the audience.

Preview: Take a festive dip

In what has inexplicably become a self-flagellatory festive tradition, hundreds of Londoners will be diving into cold ponds of dirty water on Christmas morning. The most famous event is in Hyde Park where members of the Serpentine Swimming Club race for the Peter Pan Cup, donated by JM Barrie in 1904. It probably won't be too much of a disappointment to discover that this is a members-only event, but spectators (and TV crews) are welcome - the lunacy commences at 8am. The Lifebuoys Club on Hampstead Heath organises a 50-yard race for the foolhardy at 10.30am at the men's pool near Merton Lane. The event is free, open to all-comers and, although women are not officially allowed, anyone keen enough to turn up should be admitted. Finally, the open-air Hampton Pool (info: 0181-979 9933) offers a less masochistic alternative. Its waters are clean, heated to 82 degrees and the pool is open between 8am and midday with a smoked salmon and bucks fizz breakfast on offer in the cafe upstairs.

First Night: Smile high club

JM Barrie's classic is a jolly pastiche of children's adventure yarns; it's also a poignant study of the privileges and penalties of emotional retardation. Either way, Paul Taylor writes, the National's is a triumphant production.

National's Peter Pan has 'em Hooked

His Macbeth was great, his Iago memorable and his Richard III will go down in celluloid history. But how will Sir Ian McKellen tackle the challenging role of Captain Hook?

Video art: great when it's good

CRIES & WHISPERS

Theatre: Pan, who and what art thou?

As JM Barrie's evergreen classic returns to the London stage, Paul Taylor wonders: is Peter Pan just a boy who wouldn't grow up or a perennial symbol of reproach to all parents for never being there when they're wanted?

Theatre: No more turkeys for Christmas

Innovative family treats in Nolan-free surroundings. What more could you want for Christmas?

Theatre Review: A bad case of underage drinking

The Magistrate Chichester Festival Theatre, Sussex

CLUBBING With Alister Morgan

Don't worry if you missed the results of the recent London Club Awards 1997. Most of the LCA 97 winners were dubious choices, so we've compiled our own special EYE Awards for the world's finest clubbing city:

Leading Article: There's no future in a Peter Pan society

We are the Peter Pan society. We are fixated with youth and give, as a culture, less and less to age and experience. But unlike the sentimental Victorians, whose "boy who would not grow up" was forever 10, our cultural clock stops at 16, or soon afterwards. The cult of youth infects all aspects of our lives, from fashion to politics. Throughout the media, there is more interest in the views of Swampy and the Spice Girls than in those of the old - who may be wise.

Outings: Inside the giant doll's-house

Deborah Jackson and family visit the London Toy and Model Museum

Obituary: Edmund Caswell

Edmund Caswell settled on his profession via a quite unexpected route. It was not until the age of 38 that he committed himself to becoming a painter.

Put away childish things

Paul Taylor reviews alternative theatrical fare for younger people
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all