British-trained nannies have a good reputation and can command decent salaries

Job prospects for nannies have never been better. It's no longer just the twinset-and-pearls types living in the country and driving a Range Rover who employ them, says Oliver Black, director of childcare agency Tinies. "More working parents are choosing to have their children cared for in their own homes because of the flexibility it offers."

The Ten Best: Children's shows

Nikki Spencer rounds up the best shows to entertain the kids this summer





Mary Poppins: The nanny of them all

The nanny was bewitching the British long before David Blunkett was in short trousers. And one nanny stands behatted head and straight-backed shoulders above the Leoncia Casalme generation. Seven decades after PL Travers immortalised her in print and 40 years after Disney gave her Julie Andrews' face, Mary Poppins is back

It Was 35 Years Ago Today `Mary Poppins' floats in

On 25 September 1964, the US public got the first sight of an umbrella-borne Julie Andrews as she flew through the air to 17 Cherry Tree Lane to rescue two children from harridan nannies and take them on a series of magical, musical adventures. Disney's Mary Poppins, adapted from a 1934 book by P L Travers, was ecstatically received, even though "passionate devotees" of the book might have found "Walt Disney's musical version - the very idea of it - an act of cultural vandalism". But "even when sentiment borders on the saccharine and Walt Disney's little pieties become more than a little sticky, it's a pleasure" (Newsweek). The New York Times urged viewers to be thankful for "the intrusion of Mr Disney and his myrmidons": "Praise heaven that there are such as they still making films". Variety thought that, though over-long, it was "a top-flight accomplishment".

Bewitching link to Children's Classics

HARRY POTTER is far from the first young hero of a favourite children's book to have enjoyed a more exotic education than the National Curriculum allows. The intrepid sorcerer's apprentice at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry - with his two mega-selling novels, thriving adult fan club and seven-figure Warners movie deal - has carried into the 1990s a long tradition in British children's writing of spellbinding yarns.

Sport on TV: A Berne offering that turned the stomach

"THE Swiss keeper," Ron Atkinson opined during ITV's highlights (sic) from Berne, "just doesn't look the part." Wrong. In fact, he looked very much the part - the only problem being that the part in question was that of Jeff Tracey, the plastic patriarch who used to dispatch Scott, Virgil and the rest about their planet-saving business in Thunderbirds.

Football: Task Force get tough over racism

Players and managers face contract clauses, Refs may show red cards, Government can enforce action

The strangest relationship: nannies and working mothers

Conflict of expectations

Jobs for all, Gordon, but not as you know them

Gordon Brown's vision of full employment is all very well but the future of work is about more than reducing the dole queue. Ann Treneman says that perhaps a woman's place is not in the workplace we know.

THEATRE The Censor Royal Court, London

With just a desk separating them, a young woman challenges a man in authority and the effect on him is devastating. It's a classic situation. We could be talking about the seismic encounters between Isabella and Angelo in Measure for Measure, or about the catastrophic collision of professor and PC-crazed student in Oleanna. Anthony Neilson's The Censor - deservedly revived now for a further run at the Royal Court's Theatre Upstairs - gives this set-up several unsettling twists. Not least of the puzzles in this powerful, deeply enigmatic work is the precise function of the woman who comes across as both wrecker and redeemer, at once a healing projection of the man's own "anima" and a femme fatale sent to him by some inscrutable fate.

Ban on feeding the pigeons puts tourists in a flap

Trafalgar Square was reminiscent of a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds yesterday, as hundreds of speckled pigeons gathered to protest against an attempt by Westminster City Council to have them removed.

Six of the best umbrellas

The rainy season is upon us again and the ultimate investment has to be a good umbrella. The cheap brolly you were forced to buy from the market has spokes poking through everywhere after its debut in a torrential downpour.We end up making do because it hardly ever rains, does it? Get smart, choose from our selection of luxury brollies - and come out of the rain for good
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
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As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
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Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

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David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
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Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
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Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
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Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

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The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

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How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star