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.

Menzies loses out in paper chase

THE INVESTMENT COLUMN

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.

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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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003