Toy-maker bids to take over West Coast line

The traditional civil servant, with his bowler hat and rolled umbrella, might not have seen the joke.

Thomas the Tank Engine

From 'Thomas the Tank Engine' to 'King of the Railway': Mattel plans global push for franchise

Marketing push will see a range of new toys created and the release of a one-hour film as it attempts to make inroads in Asia and Latin America

The Mouse and his Child, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

This is a brave and ambitious choice for an RSC family Christmas show.

The people of Newtown face Christmas after the tragedy

In Newtown, tragedy tinges holiday tradition

The night Andrei Nikitchyuk came home after 20 young students had been killed at his son's school, he pulled out the family's Christmas tree.

Andrew Mitchell: The former chief whip wants an inquiry into allegations that police fabricated evidence

Monday diary: Has Jon Gaunt loved the Police Federation to death?

This PR maestro, hired to advise the police over Plebgate, has questions to answer

Paragon gets its teeth into horror

Dracula, Frankenstein and the Mummy in all their Hammer House of Horror glory are set to be the stars of a themed attraction venue in central London.

The Insider: Last-minute gift inspiration

You don't need to spend a fortune on a present from a glossy design store to satisfy your interiors-mad friends…

Warhammer to get Total War treatment as license passes to Creative Assembly?

Sega and Creative Assembly announce partnership with Games Workshop

Hamleys proves its worth to the French as profits leap to £2.3m

Hamleys has shown why a French company paid £60m in September for the Regent Street-based toy chain by posting a huge leap in profits.

Full stream ahead as Netflix and Disney give a vision of the future

Multi-year deal will see online movie provider become exclusive US subscription service for the legendary studio. By Tim Walker

Character blames Zhu Zhu Pets for profit fall

Character Group, the maker of Peppa Pig toys, has blamed unloved Zhu Zhu hamsters for a sharp fall in annual profits, as it warned of a "disappointing" Christmas.

How Marty made a mouse roar

The RSC has drawn inspiration from Scorsese's Goodfellas for its setting of a cult children's classic. Arifa Akbar looks forward to a real Christmas drama

Last night's viewing - The Dark Ages: an Age of Light, BBC4; Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, BBC4

For a while now, Dan Cruickshank has been television's paramount Reverential Whisperer, his voice dropping series by series until it has become a rasping shadow of its original form. He does have some competition, though, if the first episode of Waldemar Januszczak's new series The Dark Ages: an Age of Light is anything to go by.

Fourteen disabled people die in fire at German workshop

Police said that the victims died from burns and smoke inhalation in the blaze

Breastfeeding dolls for little girls? They're both creepy and sexist

Little girls don't need to "learn how to breastfeed" any more than little boys do. They're far too busy playing

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

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
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

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

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices