And that's the way it is
On 2nd February the soundtrack from the 1974 film The Dove, featuring Lyn Paul's first solo single Sail The Summer Winds, is re-issued on CD in the UK.
Meanwhile Lyn embarks on a new project - a show to celebrate the New Seekers' 40th anniversary and to pay tribute to the band she had so much success with in the 1970s. Working with Ian and Gill Henry of Double Impact fame, Lyn begins rehearsals for the new show in February, backed by Steve Heald (drums), Nick Hollings (keyboards), Shuggy McDevitt (guitar) and Rowdy Willemson (bass).
At the end of February a report appears in the English language press in Spain confirming that the first airing of the show is to be on the Costa Blanca: "They will be called 'Lyn Paul and the Sound of the New Seekers'. The first show is at Le Cabaret, Cumbre del Sol on May 8 and 9." (Costa News, 27th February 2009).
In another newspaper article in April Lyn explains how the idea for the show came about:
When I first came over here, the last thing I wanted to do was sing it was the last thing I wanted to do. When someone first suggested singing some New Seekers songs I said no. But then the idea took hold, maybe because it is the anniversary." (Round Town News, Thursday, 23rd April 2009)
When the big day arrives, Lyn and the band take to the stage with Ian Henry replacing Nick Hollings on keyboards.
Lyn Paul and the Sound of the New Seekers
pictured with Ed Stewart
after the first show at Le Cabaret,
Friday, 8th May 2009.
Back in Britain, the Daily Mail publishes an article about Lyn and the New Seekers a couple of days before the first show. On 13th May journalist Jane Fryer flies out to Spain to interview Lyn for a follow-up article. When it appears, however, the article comes as a shock to Lyn. As she later explains in a radio interview: "A lot that was said wasn't actually printed correctly, which is par for the course when you talk to the press... They only wanted to drag up dirt from 30 years ago, rather than tell what was going on" (Ready Steady Sunday, Bay Radio, 7th June).
The shows at Le Cabaret are followed by appearances at the Moraira Music Festival on Sunday, 14th June and a charity evening in aid of EPDA, (European Parkinsons Disease Association) at Salon Canor, Teulada on Tuesday, 23rd June. This is followed by two return dates at Le Cabaret on 4th and 8th July.
On 13th July Universal release a CD, It's Been Too Long - Greatest Hits & More, which brings together for the first time the New Seekers' Polydor hits (featuring Lyn Paul, Peter Doyle and Eve Graham) and the group's more minor CBS hits (featuring Eve Graham and Danny Finn). Backed by a television advertising campaign, the CD enters the album charts at number 17 and spends five weeks in the Top 75.
In August, at the request of producer Bill Kenwright, Lyn returns to the UK to join the touring production of Blood Brothers for two weeks. While auditions are held to find a new Mrs. Johnstone, Lyn reprises the role in Bournemouth (18th - 22nd August) and Bromley (24th - 29th August). Lyn gets great reviews, even from a reviewer who "wasn't exactly jumping for joy" at the prospect of seeing the show again:
"Lyn Paul is astounding as downtrodden single mum Mrs. Johnstone, reprising the role she played in the West End more than a decade ago.
Its a role she obviously knows inside-out and is utterly believable, even if the plot is not at times.
Lyn steals the show whenever on stage and her vocals are as powerful and stirring as her acting." (Matthew Jenkin, News Shopper, 25th August 2009)
Lyn Paul and Paula Tappenden (Mrs. Lyons)
pictured backstage at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley
on Saturday, 29th August 2009.
Lyn flies home to Spain on Sunday, 30th August to join her sisters Mandy and Nikki, who had flown over the day before. A week later Lyn is back in the UK (in Llandudo), having been made an offer she "couldn't refuse" by Bill Kenwright to continue in the UK tour of Blood Brothers.
"Lyn Paul... carries the show on her shoulders from the guilt-ridden decision to give up one of her sons, to the crushing finale." (David Waddington, North Wales Pioneer, 9th September 2009)
From Llandudno the show travels to Sunderland, where Lyn gets more great reviews:
"Headlining the show is Lyn Paul... who has the ideal voice to provide a moving performance as the haunted mother, Mrs. Johnstone." (Rosalind Saul, The Northern Echo, 18th September 2009)
"Having starred in both the West End and several touring productions of Blood Brothers, Lyn was hailed, in December 2008, as The Undisputed Mrs. Johnstone of All Time by fans of the show on the Blood Brothers Online website. She is also rumoured to be producer Bill Kenwrights favourite Mrs. Johnstone, too. No pressure there to deliver the goods then, Lyn! Yet, from the moment she stepped out onto the stage, I felt certain that Miss Pauls performance would live up to - and perhaps even exceed my personal expectations.
She looks just right and is vocally impressive, too. Her voice is powerful without being harsh and it is strong enough to travel throughout the auditorium, raising hairs on the backs of necks as it goes. What differentiates Lyn Pauls performance from most of her peers is her decision to play Mrs. Johnstone as a much softer, more sensitive woman. This adds another dimension to the character and effectively stamps Pauls own personal trademark on the role." (Steve Burbridge, The Public Reviews, 22nd September 2009)
On Monday, 28th September, on the evening that Blood Brothers opens in Dunfermline, Lyn appears on STV's lifestyle show The Hour. Lyn gets more great reviews in Dunfermline and continues to do so as the show travels to Grimsby and Manchester.
"The star of show had to be Lyn Paul, a great singing voice and with her working class roots in the north west she seemed to have a natural feel and affinity for the role of the Mrs. Johnstone, at times feisty at others downtrodden...
Many in the audience may not have seen Lyn since her days in the limelight with the New Seekers in the '70s but with her fine acting talents she seems to be have found a home in musical theatre." (Gary Fitzpatrick, Dunfermline Press, 30th September 2009)
"The New Seekers' Lyn Paul... clearly puts her soul into it, belting out the well-known Tell Me It's Not True with more effect than a whole nation of X Factor auditionees." (Michelle Hurst, Grimsby Telegraph, 7th October 2009)
"Mrs. Johnstone, a character previously played by accomplished actresses and singers including Petula Clark and Barbara Dickson, is taken on by New Seekers star, Lyn Paul. Returning to the role (having starred in the London production numerous times and on tour), Paul is as strong as ever, delivering songs such as Bright New Day and Tell Me Its Not True with a passion that will indisputably give you goosebumps." (Rebecca Cohen, What's On Stage, 2009)
"Making a homecoming performance is Manchesters own Lyn Paul, who has already received the accolade of The Fans Favourite Mrs. J, and it is easy to understand why. Paul who first played the role in London over a decade ago brings a level of emotional depth that other actresses who have played the part fail to muster. Watching her perform you really connect with the pain and torment that the character is going through, and her singing voice is sublime with warm enveloping vocals you can't help feeling safe when she sings." (John Roberts, The Public Reviews, 2009)
Lyn's husband Alan and her son Ryan join her in Manchester. Lyn then completes the tour, travelling with the rest of the cast to Dartford, Lowestoft, Brighton, Leicester, Preston and Swindon. Wherever they go, Lyn continues to get great reviews:
"Her pitch-perfect singing, as well as her strong characterisation of the admirable Mrs. Johnstone through the years, are a highlight of the show." (Mary Kalmus, The Argus, 10th November 2009)
"... a heartfelt performance throughout, culminating in a goosebump generating rendition of Tell Me It's Not True." (David Hurst, Lancashire Evening Post, 25th November 2009)
"Lyn Paul was utterly captivating as Mrs. Johnstone... you can tell she is relishing every minute of playing the part." (Stephanie Tyet, Swindon Advertiser, 1st December 2009)
When the tour comes to an end Lyn returns to Spain for a couple of weeks before flying back to Britain for a family Christmas with her mum and dad.
Lyn Paul and her son, Ryan,
photographed in Swindon
on Saturday, 5th December 2009.
At the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards Winners' Concert, held at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London, on Sunday, 15th February, the audience gets a sneak preview of Moonshadow, a new musical by Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens). Coming five years after Lyn Paul had taken part in a workshop production, the musical features Cat Stevens hits such as Father and Son, Morning Has Broken, Oh Very Young, Peace Train and the song from which the show takes its title. On the evening of the concert Siobhan McCarthy, whose West End credits include Mamma Mia! and Blood Brothers, sings Wild World, a song originally featured on Cat Stevens' 1970 album Tea For The Tillerman.
On 5th May the Broadway production of Billy Elliot is nominated for 15 Tony awards. On the night of the awards (7th June) the show wins 10, a record for a British musical, including the Tonys for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Stephen Daldry) and Best Choreography (Peter Darling). Among the members of the creative team attending the awards ceremony is Lyn's sister, Nikki Belsher, who choreographed the tap dance sequence and the 'angry' dance.
On Monday, 26th October former Spice Girl Melanie C makes her acting début in the West End production of Blood Brothers. The headline in the Evening Standard reads: 'Spice Girl's stage début leaves us really, really wanting more.' In her review Fiona Mountford writes: "If we already knew she could sing, we might not have guessed she'd prove this adept at acting." (Evening Standard, 13th November, page 13)
Meanwhile Barbara Dickson, who had played Mrs. Johnstone in the original production of Blood Brothers, publishes her autobiography, A Shirt Box Full Of Songs. She characterises Mrs. Johnstone as "an indomitable, if much-put-upon, working-class Mother Courage from Liverpool" (page 171); she also admits to feeling "proprietorial" about the role: "Deep down, I felt I was the only person who could truly portray her." (page 224)
Gone but not forgotten...
keeps a watchful eye over the Phoenix Theatre
as Mel C makes her début.
|In the News - 2009
Helen Suzman, the South African parliamentarian who waged a 36-year battle against the injustices of apartheid, dies of 1st January, aged 91.
Israeli troops launch a three-week ground offensive in Gaza on Saturday, 3rd January. More than 4,000 buildings are destroyed and another 20,000 severely damaged, with tens of thousands of Gazans left homeless. More than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis are killed in the conflict.
The Broadway production of Hairspray closes on 4th January after
The last Woolworths stores in the UK close on 6th January.
Dave Dee (David Harman), singer with the pop group Dave Dee, Dosy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, dies in Alderley Edge, Cheshire on 9th January, aged 66.
On the same day Paul Serhal, medical director of the Assisted Conception Unit at University College Hospital in London, announces the birth of Britains first baby to be genetically screened to be free from hereditary breast cancer.
The UK transport secretary, Geoff Hoon, gives the go-ahead for a third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow airport on 15th January.
The barrister, author and playwright Sir John Mortimer, creator of Rumpole of the Bailey, dies on 16th January, aged 85.
Tony Hart, best known for his work with the BBC as a television artist in a variety of programmes including Vision On, Smart Hart and Hartbeat, dies on 18th January at the age of 83.
On Tuesday, 20th January 1.8 million people line Washington's National Mall to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the USA. After he and the Chief Justice fluff their lines on the big day, the President takes the oath of office again the next day.
Singer-songwriter John Martyn dies on 29th January, aged 60.
Johanna Sigurdardottir is sworn in as Iceland's first female prime minister - and the world first openly gay leader - on Sunday, 1st February.
Hillary Clinton is publicly sworn in as US Secretary of State on Monday, 2nd February.
Meanwhile in Britain the heaviest snowfall since 1991 brings the country to a near standstill: trains and buses are cancelled (in London all 700 bus routes are suspended for the first time in history) with the result that an estimated 20% of employees do not make it into work.
Following criticism from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 3rd February regarding his decision to rescind the excommunication of an ultra-conservative bishop, Pope Benedict XVI orders Bishop Richard Williamson to recant his denial that Jews died in gas chambers during the Holocaust.
In South-eastern Australia, following the worst heatwave in decades, wildfires - some of them started by arsonists - sweep through rural areas north of Melbourne. Visiting the affected areas on Sunday, 8th February, the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, says: "Hell in all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria " A National Day of Mourning is held on Sunday, 22nd February.
Estelle Bennett, a singer with the Ronettes, dies at her home in Englewood, New Jersey on 11th February, aged 67.
On 12th February the Dutch politician Geert Wilders defies a Home Office ban on him entering Britain, arriving at Heathrow airport on a flight from Amsterdam. He had been due to show his film Fitna, which equates Islam with Fascism, in the House of Lords but is sent back to Amsterdam on the next flight.
On Friday, 13th February a Continental Airlines commuter jet (Flight 3407) crashes into a house in Buffalo, New York. All forty-four passengers, four crew and one person on the ground are killed.
In a referendum held on 15th February Venezuelans vote to lift the 12-year term limit on the presidency, so enabling Hugo Chavez to stand for re-election in 2012.
On 17th February President Barack Obama travels to Denver to sign a $787 billion stimulus plan to breathe life into the failing US economy.
Allen Stanford, the billionaire who bankrolled English cricket, is tracked down by FBI agents in Fredericksburg, Virginia, two days after being accused of an $8 billion fraud.
Jade Goody, the Big Brother celebrity diagnosed with terminal cancer, marries her fiancé Jack Tweed on Sunday, 22nd February.
On the same day Slumdog Millionaire wins the Oscar for Best Picture at the 81st Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood.
Ivan Cameron, the six-year-old severely disabled son of the Tory leader David Cameron, dies suddenly on Wednesday, 25th February.
On the same day a Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 (Flight TK 1951) crashes on landing at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, killing nine people and injuring 84.
Wendy Richard, best known for her roles as Miss Brahms in Are You Being Served? and Pauline Fowler in EastEnders, dies of cancer on 26th February, aged 65.
A 48-hour mutiny by paramilitaries from the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), which left more than 140 people dead, is brought to an end on Friday, 27th February.
On Tuesday, 3rd March masked gunmen open fire on the Sri Lankan cricket team as the team bus approaches the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Seven players are injured; six of the police officers escorting them and one civilian are killed.
On 6th March Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is injured when his car is involved in an accident with a truck. His wife Sarah is killed in the crash.
Two soldiers, Sapper Patrick Azimkar and Sapper Mark Quinsey, are killed and four other people injured on 7th March when gunmen attack the Massereene army base in County Antrim, 16 miles north of Belfast. Two days later a policeman, Constable Stephen Carroll, is shot dead in Craigavon, County Armagh.
On 11th March a seventeen-year-old, Tim Kretschmer, shoots and kills 15 people in Baden-Württemberg, including nine pupils and three teachers at the Albertville school. Later cornered by police marksmen, he turns his gun on himself and commits suicide.
On 12th March US financier Bernard Madoff is sent to a detention centre after he pleads guilty to the biggest fraud in history. In June he is sentenced to 150 years in jail.
Iftikhar Chaudhry, who had been dismissed as Pakistan's Chief Justice in 2007 by the then-president and army chief Pervez Musharraf, is restored to office on 15th March by President Asif Ali Zardari.
Josef Fritzl, the 73-year-old Austrian charged with enslaving and raping his daughter and murdering their baby son, changes his plea to guilty on the third day of his trial (18th March). He is sentenced to life imprisonment in a top-security mental hospital.
Sean Hodgson, who had spent 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, is freed on Wednesday, 18th March.
The British actress Natasha Richardson dies in hospital in New York on the same day after suffering injuries in a skiing accident in Canada.
Jade Goody dies on Sunday, 22nd March, aged 27.
A public enquiry into MPs' expenses is announced on Monday, 23rd March after Tony McNulty, the Employment Minister, admitted that he had used taxpayers' money to help pay the mortgage on a house where his parents live.
Richard Timney, the husband of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, apologises on 29th March for causing her embarrassment over an expenses claim which included the charge for two pay-per-view pornographic films he had watched.
During April a swine flu epidemic spreads across Mexico and then to other countries. The first known death, Maria Adela Guttierez, is recorded in Oaxaca on 13th April. The first British cases of swine flu, Iain and Dawn Askham, who had been on honeymoon in Cancun, are confirmed on 27th April.
On 2nd April world leaders gather for the G20 summit conference in London, agreeing to a $1.1 trillion package of measures to address the global financial crisis.
The Italian town of L'Aquila is hit by an earthquake in the early hours of Monday, 6th April. 297 people are killed.
On Friday, 10th April a French hostage Florent Lemaçon is killed during an attempt by French forces to rescue him from Somali pirates. Three pirates are also killed.
Damian McBride, a senior aide to Gordon Brown, resigns on 11th April, after he is found to have sent e-mails smearing members of the Conservative party.
On 12th April US Navy Seals rescue a US hostage, Captain Richard Phillips, who had been held by Somali pirates after they had failed to hijack his cargo ship, the Maersk Alabama. The three pirates holding him hostage are shot dead.
On 13th April record producer Phil Spector is found guilty of second-degree murder for killing the B-movie actress Lana Clarkson in his Hollywood home in 2003. In May he is sentenced to at least 19 years in jail.
A service is held at Liverpool Football Club on 15th April to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster and to honour the 96 people who died there.
The writer, broadcaster and former Liberal MP Sir Clement Freud dies at his London home on the same day, nine days short of his 85th birthday.
The novelist and short story writer J.G. Ballard dies in London on 19th April, aged 78.
The former General Secretary of the Transport & General Workers' Union, Jack Jones, dies on 21st April, aged 96.
David Kellermann, one of the top executives at Freddie Mac, the mortgage company taken over by the US government, is found hanged in the basement of his home in Virginia on 22nd April.
The African National Congress (ANC) wins the South African general election, held on 22nd April.
After weeks of violent anti-government protests in Thailand, a two-week state of emergency in Bangkok and five surrounding provinces is lifted on Friday, 24th April.
Bea Arthur (born Bernice Frankel), best known for her role as Dorothy Zbornak in The Golden Girls, dies on 25th April, aged 86.
On 29th April the government is defeated in the House of Commons when MPs vote by 267 to 264 to grant equal residence rights to 36,000 Gurka veterans.
Viola Wills, the disco diva best known for her 1979 hit Gonna Get Along Without You Now, dies on 6th May.
Roxana Saberi, the American-Iranian journalist sentenced to eight years for espionage, is freed from an Iranian jail on 11th May.
On 16th May Alexander Rybak wins the Eurovision Song Contest for Norway with the song Fairytale. The UK entry, It's My Time by Jade Ewen, finishes in fifth place.
On 18th May the Sri Lankan army claims victory in the 25-year war with the Tamil Tigers, having killed the rebels' leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, as he attempted to escape.
Michael Martin announces his resignation as Speaker of the House of Commons on 19th May.
On 21st May, at his third attempt, the 65-year-old explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes succeeds in climbing to the top of Mount Everest.
On the same day the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announces to the House of Commons that all Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 with at least four years' service will have the right to settle in the UK. At a celebratory garden party at 10 Downing Street the Prime Minister Gordon Brown pays tribute to the actress Joanna Lumley, who had been the public face of the Gurkhas' campaign: "She has been very persuasive and has charmed not only the Cabinet, but the whole country."
North Korea carries out a nuclear test on Monday, 25th May and threatens to take "self defence measures" if punished by the UN Security Council.
On 26th May California's Supreme Court upholds a ban on same-sex marriage, ruling six-to-one that the voter-approved Proposition 8, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, should stand.
Susan Boyle, who achieved worldwide fame when a video clip of her singing I Dreamed A Dream became a big hit on YouTube, loses to dance group Diversity in the final of the TV show Britain's Got Talent.
The queen of drag Danny La Rue (born Daniel Patrick Carroll) dies from cancer at his home in Kent on Sunday, 31st May, aged 81.
An Air France Airbus with 228 passengers and crew on board, Flight AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crashes into the southern Atlantic on 1st June.
The US car manufacturer General Motors files for bankruptcy protection on the same day. It is the biggest failure of an industrial company in US history.
Four members of Gordon Brown's cabinet resign from office within as many days: Jacqui Smith announces her resignation as Home Secretary on 2nd June, followed the next day by the Communities Secretary, Hazel Blears, and the day after by the Work and Pensions Secretary, James Purnell. John Hutton stands down as Defence Secretary on 5th June.
On 4th June a maid discovers the naked body of Kung Fu and Kill Bill star David Carradine hanging from a closet in his hotel bedroom at the five-star Swissotel Nai Lert Park, Bangkok.
On 8th June, in a landmark legal ruling, relatives of the victims of the 1998 Omagh bombing win £1.6m in damages. Four prominent republicans - Liam Campbell, Seamus Daly, Michael McKevitt and Colm Murphy - are ruled to have been responsible for the attack and are held liable for the deaths of the 29 people killed.
11 people die and dozens are wounded on 9th June when gunmen open fire and explode a bomb at the five-star Pearl Continental hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Demonstrators take to the streets of Tehran on 13th June after it is announced that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been re-elected as president of Iran.
On 18th June the expenses claims of all 646 UK MPs dating back to 2004-05, previously leaked to and published by the Daily Telegraph, are published online (www.parliament.uk), but with some key details blacked out.
John Bercow, the MP for Buckingham, is elected Speaker of the House of Commons on Monday, 22nd June.
Farrah Fawcett, best known for her role as Jill Munro in the TV series Charlie's Angels, dies from cancer on 25th June, aged 62.
The "King of pop" Michael Jackson dies on the same day, aged 50. His funeral is held on Thursday, 3rd September.
On Tuesday, 30th June a Yemenia Airbus bound for the Comoros Islands crashes into the Indian Ocean, killing 152 people. A 12-year-old girl Bahia Bakari, the sole survivor of the crash, is rescued after spending more than 11 hours in stormy seas.
Mollie Sugden, the actress best-known for playing Mrs. Slocombe in 1970s sitcom Are You Being Served?, dies on 1st July, aged 86.
In a landmark ruling on 2nd June the High Court in Delhi declares that gay sex between consenting adults is not a crime.
On Sunday, 5th July protesters take to the streets of Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang in Western China, as tensions rise between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese.
On Monday, 6th July Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev sign an agreement on nuclear weapons, establishing a framework for negotiators to use in drawing up a treaty between the USA and Russia.
One of Britain's greatest conductors, Sir Edward Downes, and his wife, Lady Joan Downes, both of whom had serious health problems, commit suicide together at a Dignitas clinic in Switzerland on Friday, 10th July.
On Friday, 17th July suicide bombers posing as guests kill eight people and injure dozens more in co-ordinated attacks on the JW Marriot and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta.
The news Man Walter Cronkite, known as America's "favourite uncle", dies on the same day, aged 92.
Harry Patch, the last British survivor to have fought in the World War I trenches, dies on 25th July, aged 111.
The Basque separatist group Eta begins a bombing campaign on the Spanish island of Majorca: 60 people are injured on Wednesday, 29th July when a bomb explodes at a police barracks in Burgos; two policemen, Diego Salva Lezaun and Carlos Sáenz, are killed the next day when a bomb planted beneath their patrol vehicle goes off in Palmanova.
Renato Pagliari, who had a number 1 hit in 1982 with Save Your Love as one half of the duo Renée & Renato, dies on 29th July, aged 69.
The former manager of the England football team Sir Bobby Robson dies on 31st July at the age of 76, following a long battle with cancer.
Cory Aquino, the first woman president of the Philippines, dies on 1st August, aged 76.
Former US President Bill Clinton makes a 24-hour visit to North Korea on 4th August, securing the release of two journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who had been imprisoned in March for straying into North Korea while on assignment in China.
On the same day George Sodini, a 48-year-old computer programmer, shoots and kills three women at a dance class in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, before shooting himself. Nine other women are injured in the attack.
On Thursday, 6th August Justice Secretary Jack Straw approves the release from prison on compassionate grounds of Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs.
Willy DeVille, singer and guitarist with Mink DeVille, dies in New York on the same day, aged 55. So does film director John Hughes, who dies of a heart attack, aged 59. Hughes directed films such as The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Planes, Trains and Automobiles; he wrote the scripts for Pretty In Pink and Home Alone.
On Saturday, 8th August mudslides caused by Typhoon Morakot engulf the Taiwanese village of Hsiao Lin, killing hundreds. On 9th August almost one million people are evacuated from their homes as the typhoon strikes China's south-east coast.
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is found guilty of breaching the terms of her house arrest on 11th August, Her three-year jail sentence is commuted to another 18 months' house arrest. John Yettaw, the uninvited guest who swam to her lakeside home, is sentenced to seven years in jail, including four years of hard labour. On 15th August the Burmese agree to deport him.
Guitar legend Les Paul dies on 12th August, aged 94.
Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the man convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, is released from prison on compassionate grounds on 20th August.
Fire breaks out in Grammatiko on Friday, 21st August, causing thousands of people to flee as the flames spread across the northern suburbs of Athens.
Senator Edward Kennedy, who had been diagnosed with a brain tumour in May 2008, dies on Tuesday, 25th August, aged 77.
Philip Garrido and his wife Nancy Garrido are arrested on Wednesday, 26th August and charged with the forcible abduction, rape and false impriosnment of Jaycee Lee Dugard, who had disappeared on 10th June 1991, aged 11.
Noel Gallagher announces that he is leaving Oasis on Saturday, 29th August.
Simon Dee (Nicholas Henty-Dodd), who presented the Dee Time programme on BBC television in the late 1960s, dies of bone cancer on 30th August, aged 74.
In the elections held on 30th August the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) wins 308 seats in the 480-seat lower house, ending more than 50 years of almost unbroken rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Japan's new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, takes office on 16th September.
A huge wildfire known as the Station Fire spreads across large areas north of Los Angeles.
Three men who had been on trial at Woolwich Crown Court, Abdulla Ahmed, Tanvir Hussain and Assad Sarwar, are found guilty on 7th September of plotting to explode liquid bombs on seven transatlantic flights. On 14th September they are sentenced to 40, 32 and 36 years in prison respectively.
The dead body of the British Honorary Consul in Jamaica, John Terry, is discovered at his home near Montego Bay on Wednesday, 9th September. A handwritten note describing him as a "batty man" is discovered on his bed.
On 10th September, in response to a petition posted on the Number 10 website, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologises for the appalling way the Second World War code-breaker, Alan Turing, was treated for being gay.
The Broadway production of Avenue Q closes on 13th September after 2,534 performances.
Patrick Swayze, best known for his roles in the films Dirty Dancing and Ghost, dies from pancreatic cancer on Monday, 14th September, aged 57. TV chef Keith Floyd dies of a heart attack on the same day, aged 65.
On 15th September the HMS Iron Duke seizes a record cocaine haul worth £240m from a rusty trawler, the MV Cristal, off the coast of South America.
Mary Travers, who sang with the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary dies on Wednesday, 16th September, aged 72.
The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, is fined £5,000 on 22nd September for employing a housekeeper from Tonga who was not legally allowed to work in the UK.
On 23rd September vast areas of Queensland and New South Wales, including Sydney, are hit by the worst dust storms for 75 years.
The film director Roman Polanski is arrested on a 31-year-old warrant on Saturday, 26th September as he arrives in Switzerland for the Zurich Film Festival.
Tropical Storm Ketsana strikes the northern Philippines on 26th September, killing at least 246 people.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel is returned to power in the general election held on 27th September.
Twin earthquakes devastate Sumatra and Samoa on 30th September.
On the same day Guy Laliberté, the founder of Cirque de Soleil, becomes the first clown in space, using a 12-day trip aboard the Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft to highlight the plight of people without access to clean water.
Britain's new Supreme Court, situated on the west side of Parliament Square in London, opens for business on 1st October.
The contorversial "Alfano" law granting the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and other top office-holders immunity from prosecution is struck down by a court ruling on 8th October.
The US President Barack Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on 9th October for creating a new climate in global politics. He collects his medal at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at City Hall in Oslo on 10th December.
On the same day a suicide car bomber kills 50 people at the Khyber Bazaar in Peshawar.
Boyzone singer Stephen Gately dies unexpectedly on 10th October, aged 33, while on holiday in Majorca.
40 hostages held captive by a group of militants in a 22-hour siege at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi are rescued by Pakistani troops on Sunday, 11th October. Three hostages, two commandos and four militants are killed in the rescue.
The governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, signs a bill on 12th October declaring 22nd May 'Harvey Milk Day' in honour of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to hold public office in a major city in the United States.
Al Martino, the singer whose single Here In My Heart was number 1 when the New Musical Express first introduced record sales charts on 15th November 1952, dies on 13th October, aged 82.
Nick Griffin, the leader of the far-right British National Party (BNP) appears on the BBC television show Question Time on Thursday, 22nd October. Hundreds of protesters gather outside the BBC Television Centre.
At least 147 people are killed and another 520 injured on 25th October when two car bombs explode in the heart of Baghdad during the morning rush-hour.
On 28th October, three hours after Hillary Clinton had arrived in Pakistan on her first visit as Secretary of State, a suicide car bomb kills 96 people and wounds more than 200 others in the Mina Bazaar in Peshawar.
On 29th October the Premier League footballer Marlon King is convicted of sexual assault and causing actual bodily harm; he is sentenced to 18 months in jail and is sacked by Wigan Athletic.
Following a fraudlent first election and an abandoned second run-off election, it is confirmed on 2nd November that Hamid Karzai has been re-elected as President of Afghanistan. He is inaugurated on 19th November.
On Thursday, 5th November a Major in the US Army, Nadal Malik Hasan, opens fire on colleagues at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. Thirteen people are killed and at least 29 more injured.
On 16th November the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, apologises to more than 7,000 child migrants who were subjected to widespread abuse and neglect, having been sent from Britain to populate Australia in the 1950s and '60s.
On Thursday, 19th November at an EU summit in Brussels European leaders choose the Belgian Prime Minister, Herman van Rompuy, to be first President of Europe; Baroness Ashton of Upholland is chosen as the EU's first "foreign minister".
On 20th November, following torrential rain, Cumbria is badly affected by flooding. In Cockermouth, where water levels rise to 2.5m, more than 200 people are rescued by emergency services - 50 by RAF helicopters. A police officer, PC Bill Barker, is killed when Northside Bridge in Workington collapses.
On Friday, 27th November Tiger Woods is admitted to hospital following a car accident outside his home in the early hours of the morning. The golfer withdraws from the Chevron World Challenge tournament which he had been due to host in Thousand Oaks, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Following tabloid speculation about the cause of the accident and further revelations about his private life, he issues a statement acknowledging his "personal sins."
On 29th November the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad orders work to begin on five uranium enrichment plants. He also orders locations for five other sites to be identified within two months.
Five British yachtsmen, whose yacht had strayed into Iranian waters on its way from Bahrain to the United Arab Emirates, are released by Iran's Revolutionary Guard on 2nd December after being held captive in Iran for a week.
Suicide bombers and gunmen kill at least 40 people at a mosque in Rawalpindi's garrison quarter on 4th December.
On the same day in Perugia an American student, Amanda Knox, is found guilty of murdering a British student, Meredith Kercher, and sentenced to 26 years in jail. Knox's former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito is also found guilty and receives a 25-year sentence.
The Copenhagen Climate Conference opens on Monday, 7th December. It ends on 18th December with world leaders agreeing to a watered-down pact on climate change, described by the US President Barack Obama as a "meaningful and unprecendented breakthrough".
Five bombs, including three suicide bombs, bring carnage to the streets of Baghdad on 8th December. At least 127 people are killed and 425 wounded.
The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is rushed to hospital on 13th December after a man strikes him in the face with a statuette at a rally in Milan.
On 16th December the Payments Council announces that cheques will be phased out by 2018.
Listeners to BBC Radio 2 wake up to Wogan for the last time on Friday, 18th December, when Terry Wogan presents his breakfast show for the last time.
Backed by an anti-X-Factor Facebook campaign, Rage Against The Machine beat the X-Factor winner Joe McElderry to the Christmas number 1 spot with Killling In The Name. It was the first time that a download-only track had topped the singles chart.
On 22nd December the Mexico City legislature passes a bill legalising same-sex marriage.
Eurostar resumes restricted services on 22nd December after three days of suspension due to bad weather.
Pope Benedict XVI is assaulted and knocked to the ground by a woman at the Christmas Eve Mass in St Peter's Basilica. The Pope is unharmed and gives Mass on Christmas Day as planned.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian man acting on behalf of al-Qa'ida, attempts to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam as it prepares to land in Detroit on Christmas Day.
Despite appeals from the British government, a mentally ill man from London, Akmaln Shaikh, is put to death by lethal injection on 29th December for smuggling heroin into China.
Peter Moore, a computer consultant held captive in Baghdad for more than two-and-a-half years, is freed on 30th December, just hours after a militia leader and 13 of his followers were handed over by the USA to the Iraqi authorities.
|In the Charts
|UK Chart débuts
- Bat For Lashes
- Susan Boyle
- Cheryl Cole (solo)
- Jason Derulo
- Paloma Faith
- Ellie Goulding
- La Roux
- Lady Gaga
- Little Boots
- Pixie Lott
- Joe McElderry
|UK Best-selling Singles
- Lily Allen
- Peter Andre
Behind Closed Doors
- Black Eyed Peas
Boom Boom Pow
- Black Eyed Peas
I Gotta Feeling
- Black Eyed Peas
Meet Me Halfway
- Susan Boyle
- Alexandra Burke featuring Flo Rida
Evacuate The Dancefloor
- Kelly Clarkson
My Life Would Suck Without You
- Cheryl Cole
Fight For This Love
- Taio Cruz
Break Your Heart
- Dizzee Rascal / Van Helden
We Made You
- Flo Rida featuring Kesha
- David Guetta featuring Akon
- David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland
When Love Takes Over
- Whitney Houston
Million Dollar Bill
- Ironik / Chipmunk / Elton John
Tiny Dancer (Hold Me Closer)
- Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys
Empire State Of Mind
- Jay-Z featuring Rihanna and Kanye West
Run This Town
Everybody In Love
- Peter Kay's Animated All Star Band
The Official BBC Children In Need Medley
- La Roux
- La Roux
In For The Kill
- Lady Gaga
- Lady Gaga featuring Colby O'Donis
- Lady Gaga
- Lady Gaga
- Leona Lewis
- Little Boots
- Pixie Lott
Boys And Girls
- Pixie Lott
- Joe McElderry
- Daniel Merriweather
We Are Golden
- Paolo Nutini
Pencil Full Of Lead
- Dizzee Rascal
- Rage Against The Machine
Killing In The Name
- Britney Spears
- The Saturdays
Forever Is Over
- The Saturdays
Just Can't Get Enough
- Tinchy Stryder featuring Amelle
Never Leave You
- Tinchy Stryder featuring N-Dubz
What About Now
- Robbie Williams
- X-Factor Finalists 2009
You Are Not Alone
Foot Of The Mountain
- Lily Allen
It's Not Me, It's You
- Benny Anderson Band
Story Of A Heart
- Dame Shirley Bassey
- Susan Boyle
I Dreamed A Dream
- Alexandra Burke
- J.J. Cale
- Mariah Carey
Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel
- Cheryl Cole
- Chris De Burgh
- Depeche Mode
Sounds Of The Universe
- Bob Dylan
Together Through Life
- Paloma Faith
Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?
- Marianne Faithfull
Easy Come, Easy Go
- Franz Ferdinand
- David Gray
Draw The Line
- Green Day
21st Century Breakdown
- Nanci Griffith
The Loving Kind
- Whitney Houston
I Look To You
- Chris Isaak
- Norah Jones
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
- Kings Of Leon
Only By The Night
- La Roux
- Lady Gaga
- Lightning Seeds
- Vera Lynn
We'll Meet Again
The Liberty Of Norton Folgate
- Daniel Merriweather
Love & War
The Boy Who Knew Too Much
- Paolo Nutini
Sunny Side Up
Brand New Eyes
- Pet Shop Boys
- The Prodigy
Invaders Must Die
- Cliff Richard & The Shadows
- Buffy Sainte-Marie
Running For The Drum
The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman
- Bruce Springsteen
Working On A Dream
- Barbra Streisand
Love Is The Answer
If On A Winter's Night...
- Taylor Swift
No Line On The Horizon
- Robbie Williams
Reality Killed The Video Star
|At the Movies
- The Boat That Rocked
- Broken Embraces
- Coco Before Chanel
- The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
- The Damned United
- Dorian Gray
- An Education
- Entre Les Murs (The Class)
- Fast & Furious
- Fireflies In The Garden
- Frost / Nixon
- Gran Torino
- Hannah Montana: The Movie
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- In The Loop
- Inglorious Basterds
- Julie And Julia
- The Last Station
- Looking For Eric
- Michael Jackson's This Is It
- Monsters vs. Aliens
- Piranha 3D
- Revolutionary Road
- 17 Again
- Slumdog Millionaire
- State Of Play
- Vicky Cristina Barcelona
- The White Ribbon
Tony Award for Best Musical:
Billy Elliot The Musical
Olivier Award for
Best New Musical:
- Alan Carr: Chatty Man
- Big Chef, Little Chef
- Britain's Got Talent (Series 3)
- Charles Darwin And The Tree Of Life
- The Chase (Series 1)
- The Colour Of Money
- The Day Of The Triffids
- Defying Gravity
- The Diary Of Anne Frank
- An Englishman In New York
- Gavin & Stacey (Series 3)
- Horne & Corden
- In Darwin's Garden
- Miranda (Series 1)
- Pointless (Series 1)
- Red Riding
- Shameless (Series 6)
- Spooks (Series 8)
- Strictly Come Dancing
- The X Factor (Series 6)
- Your Country Needs You
of the Year:
Darts: Phil Taylor beats Raymond van Barneveld 7-1 in the final of the PDC World Darts Championship to win his 14th world title.
Tennis: Serena Williams wins her 10th Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open, beating Dinara Safina in a one-sided final, 6-0, 6-3. The men's singles final runs to five sets with Rafael Nadal emerging victorious over Roger Federer, 7-5,3-6,7-6, 3-6, 6-2. It is Federer's fifth defeat to Nadal in a Grand Slam Final.
At the French Open Dinara Safina loses her second Grand Slam final in succession, beaten in straight sets by fellow-Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova (6-4, 6-2).
Roger Federer wins the men's singles title, beating Robin Soderling in the final 6-1,7-6,6-4.
Serena Williams wins the fourth all-Williams final at Wimbledon, defeating her sister Venus 7-6, 6-2 to take the women's singles title for the third time.
Roger Federer, playing in his seventh Wimbledon men's singles final, wins the title for the sixth time, beating Andy Roddick 5-7, 7-6,7-6, 3-6, 16-14. In so doing he eclipses Pete Sampras's record of 14 major titles.
Juan Martin del Potro wins the men's singles at the US Open, becoming the only player other than Rafael Nadal to defeat Roger Federer in a Grand Slam final. He wins in five sets, 3-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6,6-2.
Kim Clijsters, who had taken a two-year break from tennis to start a family, beats both the Williams sisters en route to the women's final, before then beating Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 6-3 to claim her second US Open title. She is the first mother to win a Grand Slam title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley triumphed at Wimbledon in 1980.
Rugby: Ireland win the Six Nations championship. It is the team's first title in 24 years and its first grand slam since 1948.
In December former Wales and Lions captain Gareth Thomas comes out as gay.
Horse Racing: Kauto Star ridden by Ruby Walsh wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup - the first fallen champion to reclaim the race. His stablemate Denman, who had beaten him in the previous year's race, finishes 13 lengths behind.
The 100-1 outsider Mon Mome, ridden by Liam Treadwell, wins the Grand National.
Golf: Angel Cabrera wins the US Masters. Lucas Glover wins the US Open - his first win on the PGA tour since 2005.
Stewart Cink wins the Open Championship at Turnberry after a four-hole playoff with Tom Watson, denying his opponent the chance of winning his sixth Open and, at the age of 59, of becoming the oldest winner of a major.
YE Yang wins the USPGA championship.
Snooker: John Higgins wins the World Championship for the third time, with an 18-9 victory over Shaun Murphy in the final. He loses to Ding Junhui in the final of the UK Championship (10-8).
Football: Manchester United win the Premier League title but lose 2-0 to Barcelona in the Champions' League final.
Chelsea beat Everton 2-1 in the final of the FA Cup.
Cycling: Alberto Contador wins the Tour de France for the second time.
Athletics: Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt wins the men's 100 meters and 200 meters finals at the World Championships in Berlin, shattering his own world records with times of 9.58 seconds (100m) and 19.19 seconds (200m).
Caster Semenya wins the women's 800 meters but her victory becomes overshadowed by questions over her gender.
Cricket: England regain The Ashes, clinching a 2-1 win with victory in the final test against Australia.
Motor Racing: Jensen Button wins six of the first seven races of the Formula 1 season, securing the World Drivers' Championship with fifth place at the Brazilian grand prix. Brawn GP wins the Constructors' Championship.
Boxing: David Haye beats Nikolay Valuev to win the WBA heavyweight title in Nuremberg.
Amir Khan successfully defends his WBA light-welterweight world title, beating the preciously-undefeated Dmitriy Salita in just 76 seconds.
Man Booker Prize
The Children's Book
The Quickening Maze
The Glass Room
The Little Strange
Ellen Feldman Scottsboro