Issue 1216

01 Jan 2018
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About this issue: Overview

Shobna Gulati is drawing on her past for her role as the voice of Kari in a new CBeebies programme, which explores values such as generosity, empathy and honesty in a child-friendly way. From her father it was the importance of offering a welcome, from her breakthrough role in Dinnerladies it was enthusiasm for life – and the childlike voice.

The rise in prescriptions of powerful opioid painkillers over the past decade may be due to an ageing population, doctors’ greater sympathy when it comes to treating pain or drug company marketing. But for all their worth in treating short-term serious pain, they are also causing more addiction and overdoses. Ciara Leeming reports.

A mixture of new plays, adaptations and collaborations is coming to the north this year. Saskia Murphy looks ahead to see what’s in store for theatre in 2018. Elsewhere in arts and entertainment, we assess how 2018 will shape up for the big film studios eager to match 2017’s box-office success.

On the news pages we report on research showing that high school pupils in the north have less access to high-performing schools than in the south. Shockingly, Blackpool and Hartlepool have no high-performing school places, and 11 out of the 12 worst performing areas are in the north.

Plus, columnist Roger Ratcliffe, Letter to my Younger Self 2017 highlights, crossword, Sudoku and more.