Arts and Entertainment Ben Affleck as Daredevil, a Marvel superhero. The character is being given a Netflix series

Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist will get their own 13-episode series

Bluebird blasts pounds 42m bid

THE takeover battle for Bluebird Toys, best known for its Polly Pocket range of miniaturised dolls, hotted up on Friday as chief executive Chris Burgin launched a scathing attack on predator Sir Ron Brierly's Guinness Peat Group, writes Richard Phillips. Chris Burgin, Bluebird's chief executive, blasted the all-cash pounds 42m bid for his company. "I'll be staggered if intelligent shareholders fall for this shabby ruse," he said.

Obituary: Jack May

Jack May, actor: born Henley-on-Thames 23 April 1922; married Petra Davies (one son, one daughter); died Hove 19 September 1997.

Obituary: Ronald Fraser

The pompous, blustering tones of Ronald Fraser brought to television and films for 40 years an actor invariably cast as an upper-class gent, not of the David Niven variety, but often prone to seediness and self- deprecation.

Bluebird profits dive as unsold stock builds up

Bluebird Toys, once a darling of the stock market, yesterday announced a 35 per cent drop in profits as a slump in the British toy market left the company with stocks of unsold goods.

Obituary: Andre Franquin

"The father of Gaston Lagaffe is dead!" "Franquin's last gaffe!" These were two of the huge headlines splashed across the front pages of yesterday's French press. The great Belgian cartoonist and humorist Andre Franquin, whose books sold by the million, an entertainer beloved of both young and old, had finally succumbed to a sick heart and chronic depression.

Obituary: William Rushton

Anthony Hayward's warm obituary of William Rushton [13 December] says that he was a "lifelong Labour Party supporter". I find this slightly odd, writes Michael Meadowcroft, since I recall meeting William Rushton in the very early 1960s when he was the in-house cartoonist on Liberal News, producing a splendid strip cartoon each week, plus other one-off efforts.

Is Dr Octopus in hot water?

Profile: Ronald Perelman: The ruthless owner of Marvel Comics is juggling massive debts. But that's nothing new, discovers Paul Rodgers

Flying solo

You don't have to sign up with a big publisher to be an internationally successful cartoonist

Wagner's 'Ring' cut down to size; MUSIC

Covent Garden's "developing" (their word) Ring cycle turned through 360 degrees again this week, and more emphatically than the first time round. At the end of Gotterdammerung what is always unknown is what happens next. Either it's the end of the world, in which case Wotan, Alberich & Co have passed on to some great, cathartic, Schopenhauerian nothingness beyond, or it's merely the end of a world, in which case the Ring is truly cyclic and about to start again, with new hope but a fatal disposition to the same mistakes.

Trocadero signs up new Marvels to add to its menu of entertainments in the West End

Trocadero, the leisure group demerged from Burford Holdings last November, has signed an agreement to lease 20,000 square feet on four floors at the West End's premier entertainment complex to a new company, Marvel Mania, and to receive a turnover-related participation in the venture.

Obituary: Dr Neil Smith

Neil Smith was a skin pathologist of international renown, a remarkable clinician, and the leading opinion in the UK on the diagnosis of malignant melanoma and the management of cutaneous lymphoma.

Obituary: Peter Hollinson

I would like to correct a minor factual error in your obituary of Peter Hollinson [by Tony Heath, 12 April 1996], writes John Hardman. His first employment was indeed Tillotsons, owners and publishers of the Bolton Evening News, but he began his newspaper career as a trainee on their weekly publication The Eccles Journal in the Lancashire town of his birth.

Bluebird nets Batman

Batman and Spiderman are to join Mickey Mouse and Polly Pocket in the miniature world of Bluebird Toys. The company has acquired the rights to use the Batman characters from DC Comics, a division of the US entertainment group Time Warner, and Spiderman from Toy Biz, part of Marvel Entertainment of the US.

Menzies loses out in paper chase

THE INVESTMENT COLUMN

Obituary: Jimmy Jewel

James Arthur Thomas Jewel Marsh (Jimmy Jewel), comedian: born Sheffield 4 December 1912; married Belle Bluett (died 1985; one son, one adopted daughter); died London 3 December 1995.
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Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

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The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

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The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

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Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

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Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

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From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

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A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

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Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

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Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

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Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

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Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

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