Arts and Entertainment

"I must go to bed now as we have an early start in the morning," wrote 12-year-old Joyce Henderson in her diary on 31 Aug 1939. "Tomorrow, I become an evacuee and it's all because of something called war."

Julian Knight: In the name of charity, get rid of chuggers

You do see some sights in Hammersmith, where I live. Just yards from my front door this morning was someone dressed as Pudsey Bear, holding a big bucket.

Monster success: The Gruffalo is best bedtime story

Didn't you know? ... the nation's favourite bedtime story was yesterday revealed to be The Gruffalo. Although the black tongue, orange eyes and poisonous wart on the end of its nose might be enough to induce nightmares, Radio 2 listeners declared it was the best story for children heading to the Land of Nod.

The Week In Radio: Keep taking a trip down memory lane

There are times when the whole of BBC radio seems in the grip of one vast, unstoppable wave of reminiscence, like some garrulous granny of the airwaves whom no one likes to interrupt. Nostalgia is the order of the day. Here's just a small list of things people have been nostalgic about this week. The Berlin Wall. The M1 motorway. The BBC's Maida Vale studios. Victorian photography. Izal lavatory paper. Yes, lavatory paper! The nasty, hard, shiny kind. Incredibly there was an entire programme about this on Radio 4, Now Wash Your Hands, which examined how Izal was made, how it was good for writing on and playing with a comb. What it actually felt like on the skin. What feelings were aroused by its coal tar aroma. You can keep your madeleines, Marcel Proust. Here in Britain, we get misty-eyed over medicated loo roll.

Passed/Failed: An education in the life of broadcaster Jeremy Vine

'I wore loud shirts and wide trousers'

The feral beast: All aboard the BBC jobs train

Much grousing around BBC water-coolers about the appointment of Will Gompertz as arts editor.

Amy Jenkins: Let me decide when it's the time to go

An elderly acquaintance of mine went to the trouble of arranging to see his local MP the other day, something he'd never done before. He's not ill – he's in fine fettle, in fact – but still he fears the legalisation of assisted suicide.

Fiona Sturges: Does gender explain my immunity to Bruce Springsteen's songs of cars, bars and women called Mary?

He is the working-class hero, the champion of the underdog, the everyman in search of the American Dream. His place in the pop canon is irrefutable, his name mentioned in the same breath as Tom Waits, Neil Young, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. He's a born showman, a consummate storyteller, a principled poet. So why is it that Bruce Springsteen leaves me cold?

Simon Calder: Air France tragedy calls for real risk assessment

By Tuesday morning, media intrusion of grieving relatives at Paris's main airport had become so intensive that Air France felt obliged to send a message to editors: please keep reporters and camera crews away from the hotels around Charles de Gaulle.

Allotments: A patch of your own

Home-grown produce and plenty of fresh air – no wonder demand for allotments is soaring. Graham Norwood investigates

Sexual bullying: thousands of pupils suspended

A "shocking new trend" in bullying was revealed today as figures showed more than 3,000 children were suspended from school for sexual misconduct.

Simon Calder: Child-free flights... and why not end free alcohol, too?

Say what you like about Radio 2: it remains consistently the best listen of the BBC's national radio networks, not least the excellent Jeremy Vine programme on weekday lunchtimes. On Thursday, his 1pm debate was on the concept of child-free flights. It soon morphed into a tirade against inconsiderate flyers who recline their seats without regard to the passenger behind, nor their meal/drink/laptop. But the central question posed by Vine – "Could child-free flights be a popular and profitable venture?" – set me thinking about whether, and how, it would work.

The woman who sexed up Radio 2

Lesley Douglas, who resigned last night from the BBC, was not only the most powerful woman in British radio, she was also, in the view of some, the most influential person in this country's music industry.

Andrew Grice: Tories haunted by Hague and Howard failure

There has been a touch of Corporal Jones about the Tories this week

Donald Trelford on The Press: The Mosley ruling is not the final word on our lives' private parts

Mr Justice Eady, whose verdict in the Max Mosley privacy case has cast the whole of our red-top press into limbo, guards his own privacy pretty well. His Who's Who entry doesn't mention any recreations (presumably not S&M) or even his address. Yet, the Mosley decision could have a devastating effect on papers like News of the World, which rely on sexual disclosures as a large part of their raison d'être. Isn't there a public interest in knowing more about the man who has cast such a gigantic shadow over the commercial fortunes of our popular press?

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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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there