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

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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss