In December 2019 it was announced that Lyn Paul's Farewell Tour as "the definitive Mrs. Johnstone" was going to be extended. In a Facebook post Lyn revealed that impresario Bill Kenwright had asked her to continue in response to the demand from some of the theatres not included on the 2019 Blood Brothers tour - "theatres in the south of England wanted it to give people a chance to say goodbye to me too." (Facebook, 12th December 2019, 9:15am)
The tour begins at the Theatre Royal in Brighton (4th - 8th February) followed by a week at the Richmond Theatre (11th - 15th February). The reviews of the first fortnight are fantastic.
“Giving the performance of her life, Lyn Paul is every inch the Scouse mother. She gives everything she has to the part and rides the emotional roller-coaster right the way through to the tear-jerkingly painful end. In possibly the most dramatic five minutes ever to have been written for a musical, her performance of Tell Me It’s Not True, brings the packed house to an incredibly emotional climax and, in recognition of such a magnificent performance, straight to its feet.” Paul Lucas-Scott, The Sussex Newspaper
"Lyn Paul has played Mrs. Johnstone countless times yet makes the role beguilingly fresh. She is a real class act." Diana Eccleston, Sardines
"Paul sings with an emotional intensity that drives the show... while Scotcher is charismatic and detached as the Narrator." Maryam Philpott, TheReviewsHub
Lyn takes a three-week break while the show travels to Ireland. Rebecca Storm steps in as Mrs. Johnstone for the performances in Dublin and Derry. On 18th February Lyn Tweets her best wishes: "Lots of luck and love to everyone in 'Blood Brothers' on your opening night in Dublin!!!! xxxxx" (18th February, 1:02pm). At the end of the three weeks, Lyn Tweets: "To all my lovely mates in 'Blood Brothers': have a wonderful final show in Ireland and a safe trip home to your loved ones!!" (7th March, 6:10pm)
Lyn re-joins the cast and crew for the shows at The Auditorium in Grimsby (10th - 14th March). As she sets off, Lyn Tweets: "About to set off to the fair town of Grimsby for a week. Three-and-a-half hours of Chris Stapleton, Pet Clarke, Dionne Warwick and anything else that takes my fancy!" (9th March, 12:16pm).
After the show on the opening night, Lyn Tweets: "Great opening night
2 of our colleagues off poorly but
stepped in and did a great job. Congrats to them and huge love to
Hannah Barr. Get better soon you two!! xxxxx" (10th March, 11:37pm). The next day, as if more proof were needed, Lyn and the cast get another great review.
"And how marvellous to hear Lyn Paul on her farewell tour, though how on Earth could anyone replace such an angelic voice?... She sang like a 20-year-old girl and looked as though she could carry on for another 20 years!" Peter Mascall, Grimsby Live
Lyn Paul, interviewed by Ross Carrick (pictured right) on
Compass FM, 96.4, 12th March 2020.
After Grimsby, the Blood Brothers tour had been scheduled to visit the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry (17th - 21st March), the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton (24th - 28th March), the New Victoria Theatre, Woking (31st March - 4th April) and the Garrick Theatre, Lichfield (7th - 11th April). Lyn's final bow, however, comes earlier than anticipated. Theatres in the UK quickly follow Broadway's lead, closing their doors in response to the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, 16th March, following the Prime Minister's “very strong advice that public venues such as theatres should no longer be visited”, the Belgrade Theatre announces its immediate closure. The following day it confirms that the performances of Blood Brothers had been cancelled. Later the same day Lyn Tweets: "So sad that I never got the chance to say goodbye to my fellow actors on 'Blood Brothers'. It's been such a massive part of my life and I’m devastated that it’s ended like this. Thank you Mr. K. for trusting me with Mrs. J. for the last 23 years." (17th March, 11:45pm).
On 8th April Lyn records an interview with Michael Bentley and Jonny Weston, which is made available as a podcast on Easter Monday (M-XCLOUD Keeping The Light On). Describing the phone call she had received, telling her that the Blood Brothers tour had been stopped, Lyn says: "It was actually pretty surreal. It was as if it really wasn't happening. I thought somebody's going to say: 'It's just a joke. Actually, we expect you to be at the theatre tomorrow.' But no, that was the end. Full stop."
Lyn talks about being back at home - "self isolating, going slightly stir crazy at times but just carrying on" - and describes how she'd been affected by the coronavirus lockdown: "I suddenly found that I was singing, and I was singing all these wonderful old songs that I'd forgotten about. 'If You Go Away', for instance... I was thoroughly enjoying myself and I thought: 'My God, Lyn, you actually don't want to stop singing. You thought you did, but you really don't'."
Lyn describes the pros and cons of the lockdown: "I'm not enjoying the fact that there's no money coming in... but we're all in the same boat there so, you know, we've all just got to swallow that. But I am enjoying the fact that I don't have to, at the moment, worry about finding work, because there is none to find."
On 27th April, Lyn Tweets: "I didn’t realise how much I missed the theatre. ‘Ladies and gentlemen of the 'Blood Brothers' Company, this is your five minute call’. What I wouldn’t give to hear that again!" (27th April, 11:25pm)
A few days later, on 1st May, comes the sad news that Graham Martin, who played the roles of Policeman / Teacher in the touring production of Blood Brothers, had died. Lyn posts a message on Twitter: "Absolutely heartbroken. I love you Grah.... Sleep tight. xx" (1st May 2020, 5:23pm). Graham's funeral service takes place on 21st May at St. Hilda's Chapel, Teeside Crematorium. The coronavirus pandemic prevents Lyn and other members of the Blood Brothers family from being there in person but they are able to join the celebration of his life online and witness a tribute to him from Tim Churchill (Mr. Lyons).
On 29th June Lyn Paul surprises the world with a new recording, Sons And Daughters, which is posted on YouTube by Lyn's long-time friend Teresa Franklin. This is followed in August by two more YouTube videos - Kiss America Goodbye and I Ain't Going Home. All three songs became Top 5 hits on the FAB Chart, an independently-run website highlighting "the best of the best" of new music posted online.
On 30th June Lyn Paul fans are treated to a two-part interview with Lyn on Retropopic Radio (RETROPOPIC 480 and RETROPOPIC
481). Recorded on 17th April, the interview covers Lyn's entire career from her first appearance on stage as a three-year-old to her Farewell Tour in Blood Brothers.
On 22nd July Lyn's dad reaches his 93rd birthday. The family celebrate with a day out on the river.
Lyn Paul with her sister Nikki (left), her dad and her husband Alan (right), enjoying a day out on the river in celebration of her dad's 93th birthday.
On 27th August Lyn Paul joins Mike Southern and Stephen (Stan) Palfreman on Zoom for a Blood Brothers Q&A. Lyn begins the interview by talking about how she first came to play the role of Mrs. Johnstone and about using her own experience of life, and particularly her experience as a mother, to play the part. She quips: "Don't misunderstand, I'm not a method actress... There's no method with me, I'll tell you now!" The Q&A covers many of the questions that students ask when they study Blood Brothers for their GCSE exams.
Are there any garments or costumes or props that help you get back into the character after a break?
"No! ... With the costumes, no. It's more a case of will I get in it tonight!"
Your very worst 'gone wrong' moment?
"I turned round, full of the joys of Spring - 'Once I had a husband' - and I sang the first verse, and couldn't remember the second verse... It was horrendous... And about two weeks later, I did the same thing again!"
Who is the picture of in Mrs. J's locket? Is it Eddie or is it Mickey?
"I'm giving a picture of Mickey... First of all I wouldn't quite know where she'd get a picture of Eddie. She'd only have a picture of him as a baby. He was days old when he went, so she wouldn't have a picture of Eddie."
What's your favourite scene?
"I love the kitchen scene 'cause I used to have so much fun in the kitchen scene."
Mrs. Johnstone and Mrs. Lyons - do they get on?
"For me personally, there is an animosity because she took my child... Once I've moved, and I've gone 'up market' so to speak, and she appears in my kitchen, she's crossed a boundary. To me, there's no love there at all for Mrs. Lyons... I go over to try and console her but in actual fact it's not really from the heart."
Would you describe Mrs. J. as having a stone in place of her heart?
"I don't think Mrs. J. has a heart of stone. I think that she's got a big heart and I think that shows all the way through, and I think that's why the audience feel for Mrs. J. at the very end... I think she always wanted to do the right thing. She did the wrong thing... However, she didn't feel she had any alternative. She didn't know what to do and she was caught at a vulnerable moment. She was pregnant - and any woman that's having a baby will tell you, you are vulnerable, you're not always thinking quite straight, your hormones are all over the place... Mrs. Lyons took advantage of that."
Lyn also describes the rigours of doing eight shows a week, runs through her pre-show rituals and ends by giving her advice to budding young actors: "My first word of advice would be, look after your teeth - from somebody who's had problems with teeth... I know it sounds silly... Look after your teeth because they are a big part of this business."
On 25th September Demon Records release Gold, a vinyl album and 3-CD set by the New Seekers. Both are compilations of the group's original recordings. The 14-track vinyl version features their greatest hits while the 3-CD set includes the A-sdes and B-sides of all their UK singles, with the exception of their 1985 Christmas single Let The Bells Ring Out Forever. The following week Gold enters the Official Albums Sales Chart at no. 26 and the Official Physical Albums Chart (based on sales of CDs, vinyl and other formats) at no. 22.
Christmas comes early in 2020 - well, in Lyn's home at least. On 15th October Lyn Tweets: "Right, totally fed up with the news so Christmas Tree going up this weekend.... No comments please! It’s going to make me and my family happy and at this very moment that’s all that matters... fairy lights here we come!" (Twitter, 15th October, 9:32pm) Lyn's as good as her word. Two days later "she’s up and twinkling'!
When Lyn is interviewed on Solihull Radio (The Musical Theatre Show, 6th December 2020), Lyn says: "I got so much abuse on Twitter for it, saying 'Oh you silly woman, you Muppet' and all this, And I said: when you start paying my bills, you can tell me when to put my tree up!" At the end of the interview Lyn talks about her plans to record a new album with Jason Yates and songwriter Paul Kissaun: "Obviously, with lockdown, there's nothing we can do at the moment, but it's for next year, towards the end of next year. We've been Zooming and coming up with ideas... and as soon as we can, we're gonna get into the studio."
Tree up and lights on!
Lyn Paul celebrates a job well done.
Steps singer Ian H. Watkins, who had starred with Lyn Paul in the jukebox musical Rhinestone Mondays, takes part in Series 12 of the ITV dance competition Dancing On Ice. The first episode is broadcast on 5th January. Ian is paired with American skater Matt Evers, a regular on the show since its first series and the winner of Series 3 with Hear'Say singer Suzanne Shaw. Ian and Matt make history as the first same-sex pair to skate together on the programme. They make it to the sixth week of the competition but are voted out by the judging panel on 9th February following a final "Skate Off" against magician Ben Hanlin and his professional dance partner Carlotta Edwards. Afterwards Ian posts a message on Instagram: "Well, what a rollercoaster! Being the first to do something is never easy. This was never about winning a trophy. After our first skate we had already won for all of the lgbtq community across the world." Lyn Paul posts a reply: "You certainly did win my friend and I’m so bloody proud of you! xxxx" (Twitter, 12th February, 8:36am). Former EastEnders actor Joe Swash and his skating partner Alex Murphy are crowned the winners of Dancing On Ice on 8th March.
On 5th March the 2014 Donmar Warehouse production of City Of Angels transfers to the Garrick Theatre in London's West End. The Resident Director / Choreographer is none other than Lyn's sister, Nikki Belsher. Lyn sends a message of support on Facebook: "So my little sister is now the Resident Director / Choreographer on the new West End show 'City Of Angels'! I couldn’t be more proud of her for many reasons but mostly for the beautiful person she is, both inside and out. Go get ‘em Sis!!! xxxx" (22nd February 2020). Sadly, the show runs for just over a week before being forced to close by the coronavirus pandemic. On 16th March, just ahead of "curtain up", the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and its sister organisation UK Theatre issue a statement on Twitter announcing that theatres would be closed "from this evening (including tonight's performances)." (16th March 2020, 7:25pm)
The first reviews of City Of Angels had all indicated that the show would have a successful run.
"Did the transfer to a much larger venue detract from the spectacle? Not at all, in fact, if anything, the bigger set just made it all the more impressive." (Monstagigz)
"The dance and movement is integral to the story and it’s adventurous, challenging, camp and sensuous... Virus-permitting, the show is a sure-fire hit in its short run until September... Broadway-bound in my view once the world settles down." (Brian Butler, Gscene)
The comedian Roy Hudd, who had worked with Lyn Paul many times and who Lyn counted as one of her closest friends, dies on 15th March. Lyn pays tribute to him on Facebook, describing him as "the kindest, funniest" man - "and fiercely loyal". (20th March 2020)
On 29th April episode 5 of the US miniseries Mrs. America is broadcast on Hulu. The episode ends with the New Seekers singing Free To Be... You And Me. Reviewing the programme for Vulture, Jen Chaney highlights the significance of the song and the television special / album from which it came: "Free To Be You And Me had a major impact on every kid who grew up in the 1970s... It was conditioning the next generation to see the world, and gender, in a healthier way." (Vulture, 29th April 2020)
On 21st May - the same day as Graham Martin's funeral service - BBC2 screens a documentary What's Wrong With Tony Slattery? (BBC2, 9.00pm). The programme follows Tony Slattery, one of Britain’s best known comedians in the1980s and '90s, as he seeks to discover whether his depression, and associated drinking and drug-taking, stem from undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Accompanying him throughout is his partner of 32 years, Mark Hutchinson (Eddie Lyons in Blood Brothers). Reviewing the programme in The Guardian, Lucy Morgan writes: "Hutchinson’s unwavering support is probably what has enabled Slattery to stay in the world for this long."
On 1st July Scottish singer Arlene releases a new single Bring The Curtain Down, a country rock song written by ex-New Seeker Marty Kristian and featuring Marty on harmony vocals. On 16th August the single tops both the British & Irish and the European Hotdisc Country charts. Marty includes the song on his solo album Timing, released on 1st October.
On 23rd July, among the other books published that day is The Sanest Guy In The Room: A Life in Lyrics by Don Black, whose many songwriting credits include the lyrics of two of Lyn Paul's singles - Sail The Summer Winds (written with John Barry) and If Everybody Loved The Same As You (written with Geoff Stephens).
In December the BBC broadcasts a new three-part series, The Sound of TV with Neil Brand, which examines the impact on our lives of television music. The second episode (BBC Four, Friday 11th December, 9.00pm) looks at some of the jingles used in television adverts, including the famous Coca-Cola jingle that took the New Seekers to the top of the charts.
Songwriter Geoff Stephens, who co-wrote the New Seekers' hits You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me and I Get A Little Sentimental Over You, and Lyn Paul's 1977 Song for Europe If Everybody Loved The Same As You, dies from pneumonia on Christmas Eve, aged
|In the News - 2020
Christopher Beeny, known for his TV roles in Upstairs, Downstairs and Last Of The Summer Wine, dies on Friday, 3rd January, aged 78. In 2001 he had starred in Dick Whittington at the Theatre Royal, Windsor with Lyn Paul, Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee.
Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, is assassinated in a US drone attack at Baghdad Airport early on 3rd January. Iran retaliates on Wednesday, 8th January, launching missiles at two Iraqi air bases housing US forces.
Shortly after the missile attacks a Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Boeing 737-800 (Flight PS752 from Tehran to Kyiv) crashes near Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board. On 11th January, after days of denial, Iran admits that the Ukrainian jet had been misidentified as a cruise missile and shot down by "accident". The admission sparks protests on the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities.
Reynhard Sinaga, described by the Crown Prosecution Service as "the most prolific rapist in British legal history", is sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on 6th January to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 30 years.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex issue an unexpected announcement on 8th January, stating that they "intend to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen."
On 9th January a 61-year-old man in Wuhan, who had purchased goods from a seafood market, becomes the first person to die from a newly-discovered coronavirus.
On the same day the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Tánaiste publish the text of a deal to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Assembly meets for the first time in three years on Saturday, 11th January.
Regulations legalising same-sex marriage come into effect in Northern Ireland on Monday, 13th January.
On the same day the World Health Organization (WHO) reports a case of coronavirus in Thailand, the first outside of China.
Derek Fowlds, best known for the role of Bernard Woolley in Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, dies on 17th January, aged 82.
Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at the age of 77 on 21st January, four years after contracting a rare form of dementia known as FTD.
On Thursday, 23rd January, in response to the spread of the newly-discovered coronavirus, the city of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, is put on lockdown. All flights and trains to and from the city are cancelled.
Turkey's Elazig province is hit by a magnitude-6.8 earthquake on Friday,
Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant are among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on 26th January.
Broadcaster Nicholas Parsons, who had hosted Radio 4's Just A Minute since its inception in 1967, dies on 28th January, aged 96.
On 30th January the outbreak of coronavirus is declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The United Kingdom leaves the European Union at 11.00pm on Friday, 31st January. losing its membership of the EU's political institutions, including the European Parliament and European Commission.
On Saturday, 1st February a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan dies of coronavirus in the Philippines, the first confirmed fatality outside China.
Sudesh Amman, who had been released from prison after serving half of his sentence of three years and four months for terror offences, is shot dead by police on 2nd February after he had stabbed two people on Streatham High Road.
The former President of Kenya Daniel arap Moi dies on 4th February, aged 95.
Kirk Douglas, whose film roles included Midge Kelly in Champion (1949), Vincent van Gogh in Lust For Life (1956) and the lead role of Spartacus in the film of the same name (1960). dies on Wednesday, 5th February, aged 103.
On the same day
the US Senate votes to acquit Donald Trump on the two articles of impeachment brought against him.
A record high temperature of 18.3°C (64.9°F) is logged on the continent of Antarctica on 6th February. It is 0.8°C hotter than the previous peak temperature of 17.5°C, recorded in March 2015.
Li Wenliang, a doctor who was amongst the first to sound the alarm over coronavirus, dies on 7th February.
On Saturday, 8th February
police shoot dead a soldier, Jakraphanth Thomma, who had killed 26 people in a gun rampage in the Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima.
A general election is held in Ireland on 8th February - the first to take place on a Saturday since 1918. The result is a three-way split in the vote between Fianna Fáil (38 seats), Sinn Féin (37 seats) and Fine Gael (35 seats).
On Sunday, 9th February heavy rainfall and high wind speeds from Storm Ciara cause severe disruption across Ireland, the British Isles and mainland Europe. The following weekend Storm Dennis brings with it further damage and destruction, causing severe floods in South Wales, South West England, the Midlands and Yorkshire.
On 9th February the South Korean film Parasite becomes the first non-English language film to win the ‘best picture’ award at the Oscars. Renee Zellweger wins the Academy Award for best actress for playing Judy Garland in Judy; Joaquin Phoenix wins the award for best actor for Joker.
Joseph Shabalala, the founder and director of the choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, dies on 11th February, aged 78.
On the same day the WHO announces that the new coronavirus would be called "COVID-19". On 14th February Egypt becomes the first country in Africa to report a case of COVID-19 and France reports Europe's first death from the virus.
Sajid Javid resigns as Chancellor on 14th February. He is replaced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak.
The television presenter Caroline Flack is found dead in her London flat on 15th February after committing suicide.
On 19th February nine people are killed and five wounded in shootings at two shisha bars in Hanau, a town 25 kilometers east of Frankfurt am Main in Germany. The gunman, later identified as Tobias Rathjen, returns home, where he shoots and kills his mother before killing himself.
On 20th February the Bank of England introduces a new polymer £20 note featuring the artist J.M.W. Turner and one of his most famous paintings, The Fighting Temeraire.
On Monday, 24th February a jury of seven men and five women in New York City find the film producer Harvey Weinstein guilty of sexually assaulting a former production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, in 2006 and of raping a former aspiring actress, Jessica Mann, in 2013. He is cleared of the most serious count of predatory sexual assault. On Wednesday, 11th March he is sentenced to 23 years in prison.
The expansion of Heathrow Airport is blocked by a Court of Appeal ruling on 27th February.
Sir Philip Rutnam resigns as Permanent Secretary at the Home Office on 29th February, stating publicly that it was his intention to sue for constructive and unfair dismissal against Home Secretary Priti Patel.
On 8th March, in response to the growing number of deaths from COVID-19, the government in Italy imposes a strict quarantine in the state of Lombardy and 14 other areas in the north. The following day the emergency measures are extended to the whole country.
On 9th March, having previously reported 4,747 cases of COVID-19 and 124 deaths, Iran releases about 70,000 prisoners from its jails.
The WHO declares the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on 11th March.
On the same day the US President Donald Trump announces a ban on people travelling to the USA from the Schengen Area, which comes into effect at 11.59pm eastern daylight time on 13th March. On the day the ban begins he declares a state of national emergency and on 14th March announces that the travel ban will be extended to the United Kingdom and Ireland, effective from 11.59pm on 16th March.
Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, is shot and killed on 13th March when police officers raid her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. In September Taylor's family reach a settlement of $12 million with the Louisville city authorities. Brett Hankison, one of the police officers involved in the raid, is charged, not with Breonna Taylor's death, but with "wanton endangerment" for firing into a neighbour's apartment.
Roy Hudd, who hosted BBC Radio 2's The News Huddlines for 26 years, dies on 15th March, aged 83.
The Golden Raspberry Awards are announced on the Razzies YouTube channel on 16th March. The film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats wins six Razzies, including worst picture and worst director for Tom Hooper. James Corden is named worst supporting actor; Rebel Wilson is named worst supporting actress.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio orders the city's bars, theatres and cinemas to close down on 16th March.
On 19th March Italy overtakes China as the country with the most coronavirus-related deaths.
Country singer Kenny Rogers, whose biggest hits included Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town, Lucille and Coward Of The County, dies on 20th March, aged 81.
On the same day the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson orders all bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and gyms to close. Three days later he announces a nationwide lockdown.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 is passed on 25th March, providing the Health Secretary with the power to prohibit events and gatherings, for the purpose of preventing the transmission of coronavirus.
From 26th March The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 provide the police with strengthened powers to enforce the UK's national lockdown. People are only allowed to leave their homes to shop for necessities, to take exercise once a day, for medical reasons or to provide care or help to vulnerable persons, and for essential work.
At 8.00pm on 26th March millions of people across the UK step outside to applaud NHS staff, beginning what became a weekly 'Clap for Carers' every Thursday evening.
Boris Johnson announces on 27th March that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Alan Merrill, the former lead singer with Arrows, dies on 29th March, aged 69, from complications arising from COVID-19. Merrill co-wrote I Love Rock 'n Roll, first recorded by Arrows in 1975 and then a US number 1 for Joan Jett & The Blackhearts in 1982.
Bill Withers, whose best known songs include Ain't No Sunshine, Lean On Me and Lovely Day, dies from heart complications on 30th March, aged 81.
On 31st March the number of deaths in the US from coronavirus surpasses those reported by China.
Comedian Eddie Large (real name Hugh McGinnis), who was one half of the double act Little and Large, dies on 2nd April, aged 78, after contracting COVID-19.
Sir Keir Starmer is announced as the new leader of the UK Labour Party on 4th April.
Boris Johnson is admitted to St. Thomas' Hospital in London on Sunday, 5th April with persistent symptoms of coronavirus; the next day he is moved into intensive care after his symptoms get worse.
Honor Blackman, known for playing Cathy Gale in the 1960s TV series The Avengers and Pussy Galore in the James Bond film Goldfinger, dies on 5th April, aged 94.
On Tuesday, 7th April the High Court of Australia unanimously quashes Cardinal George Pell's convictions for child sexual abuse, substituting verdicts of acquittal.
John Prine, described by Bruce Springsteen as "a true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages", dies on the same day, aged 73, from complications arising from COVID-19.
On 8th April Bernie Sanders suspends his campaign to become US president, clearing the way for former Vice President Joe Biden to become the Democratic party's nominee.
The former Formula 1 racing driver Sir Stirling Moss, described as "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship", dies on 12th April, aged 90.
Comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor, best known as one of The Goodies and as a panelist on BBC Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, dies of complications from COVID-19 on the same day, aged 79.
On 14th April Donald Trump announces that his administration will temporarily halt funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. On 7th July he formally notifies the UN of his intent to withdraw the United States from the WHO.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand
Jacinda Ardern announces on 15th April that she and other ministers will take a 20% pay cut lasting six months to show solidarity with those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
On 16th April a 99-year-old war veteran, Captain Tom Moore, completes a challenge to raise funds for the NHS, walking 100 laps of his garden with the aid of a walking frame. He raises more than £32 million for NHS charities and is knighted by The Queen at Windsor Castle on 17th July.
The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, announces on 16th April that the UK coronavirus lockdown will be extended for at least three weeks.
On Saturday, 18th April a man wearing a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) uniform and driving a "look-alike" police car goes on a 14-hour shooting rampage in Nova Scotia. The gunman, Gabriel Wortman, is shot by the police on Sunday, 19th March and later dies, having killed 22 people and set fire to at least five buildings.
A two-hour television broadcast, One World: Together At Home, featuring (among others) Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Elton John and The Rolling Stones, all performing from their homes, is broadcast on 18th April (on 19th April in the UK) to raise funds for coronavirus relief. Organised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Citizen movement, and curated by Lady Gaga, the broadcast is preceded by a six-hour 'pre-show' streamed on social media channels including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
US oil prices turn negative for the first time in history on Monday, 20th April, as the coronavirus crisis forces oil producers to pay buyers to take the commodity off their hands.
On Friday, 24th April Captain Tom Moore becomes the oldest person ever to score a number one single in the UK when his duet with Michael Ball, a cover of You'll Never Walk Alone, is announced as the UK's best-selling single.
The Stranglers' keyboard player Dave Greenfield, who wrote the band's 1982 hit Golden Brown, dies on Sunday, 3rd May, aged 71, after testing positive for COVID-19.
Millie Small, best known for her 1964 hit My Boy Lollipop, dies on 5th May, aged 73, after suffering a stroke.
On 6th May it is announced that Florian Schneider, co-founder of Kraftwerk, had died of cancer "just a few days after his 73rd birthday".
Hundreds of people are treated in hospital for a burning sensation in their eyes and breathing difficulties after a gas leak at the LG Polymers chemical plant in Visakhapatnam on 7th May.
Little Richard (real name: Richard Wayne Penniman) dies on 9th May, aged 87.
Soul singer Betty Wright, who found fame in the 1970s with hits such as Clean Up Woman (1971) and Shoorah! Shoorah! (1975), dies from cancer on 10th May, aged 66.
On Tuesday, 12th May three gunmen wearing police uniforms attack a maternity ward at the Dasht-e-Barchi Hospital in Kabul. 24 people are killed, including two newborn babies.
The German Bundesliga, which had been suspended on 13th March, restarts on Saturday, 16th May. It is the first major European football league to re-start after the coronavirus shutdown.
The cancelled Eurovision Song Contest, which had been due to take place that night in Rotterdam, is replaced by a live broadcast Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light, featuring the 41 songs that had been chosen to take part in a non-competitive format.
On 20th May, following days of heavy rain,
the US National Weather Service issues a flash flood emergency for areas near the Tittabawassee River in Midland County, Michigan due to the failure of the Edenville and Sanford dams.
On 21st May, the day after saying that migrant NHS and social workers
would continue to have to pay the health immigration surcharge of £400, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson bows to pressure to exempt them.
On 22nd May a Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 (Flight PK8303 from Lahore to Karachi) crashes on its approach to Jinnah International Airport, killing 97 of the 99 people on board.
On the same day the Daily Mirror and The Guardian allege that Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings had broken lockdown rules by driving his wife and son from London to County Durham on 27th March after his wife had developed COVID-19 symptoms.
George Floyd, an unarmed black man, dies in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday, 25th May after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, pins him to the ground by kneeling on his neck. Chauvin and the other three police officers at the scene are fired the next day. A video of the arrest is shared widely on social media, prompting protests in Minneapolis, which spread to other cities in the USA and then to cities around the world. Derek Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter on 29th May.
The writer and LGBT activist Larry Kramer, whose work includes the novel Faggots (1977) and the landmark play The Normal Heart (1985), dies on 27th May, aged 84.
On 30th May SpaceX becomes the first private company to take humans into orbit when its space capsule - the Crew Dragon - with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board, is successfully launched from the Kennedy Space Center. The capsule and its crew return to Earth safely on 2nd August, splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico just south of Pensacola on Florida's Gulf coast.
The artist Christo, known for wrapping large landmarks in fabric, including the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf in Paris, dies on 31st May, aged 84.
At the end of the month the Met Office confirms that the UK had enjoyed 266 hours of sunshine in May - surpassing the previous record of 265 hours set in 1957.
Steve Priest, bass player of Sweet, dies on 4th June, aged 72.
On the same day Virginia's Governor Ralph Northam announces that a controversial statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee will be removed from the state capital.
On 7th June anti-racism protesters in Bristol tear down a statue of the 17th century slave trader Edward Colston and throw it into the harbour.
From 8th June all travellers to the UK are required to quarantine for 14 days or face a £1,000 fine.
A funeral service for George Floyd is held in his home town of Houston on 9th June.
Ricky Valance (real name: David Spencer), best known for his 1960 number 1 hit Tell Laura I Love Her, dies on 12th June, aged 84.
On the same day the Office for National Statistics publishes figures showing that, as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, the UK economy shrank by 20.4% in April - the largest monthly contraction on record.
Wearing a face covering becomes mandatory on public transport in England from 15th June.
On the same day all "non-essential" shops in England are allowed to open again after the three-month lockdown.
Indian and Chinese troops clash in the Galwan Valley on 15th June in an ongoing standoff along the disputed Himalayan border between the two countries. There are casualties on both sides.
The 2019-20 football season resumes in England on 17th June with two Premier League matches played behind closed doors. Manchester City beat Arsenal 3-0; Aston Villa and Sheffield United each earn a point in a 0-0 draw.
Dame Vera Lynn dies on 18th June, aged 103.
Sir Ian Holm, star of films such as Alien (1979), Chariots Of Fire (1981) and Lord Of The Rings (2001), dies on 19th June, aged 88.
A 1959 Martin D-18E guitar played by Kurt Cobain at Nirvana’s 1993 MTV Unplugged performance is sold at auction on 20th June for a record $6 million.
On the same day three people are killed and three injured in a knife attack in Forbury Gardens, Reading. The attacker, Khairi Saadallah, appears at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 27th June via video link from Coventry Magistrates' Court, charged with three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.
On 25th June the Dixie Chicks drop the 'Dixie' from their name, shortening it to The Chicks.
On 26th June a police officer shoots and kills Badreddin Abadlla Adam, who had stabbed and injured six people, including another police officer, at the the Park Inn Hotel in Glasgow.
Linda Cristal, the Argentine-born actress who played Victoria Cannon in the 1960s television series The High Chaparral, dies on Saturday, 27th June, aged 89.
The former Prime Minister of France François Fillon is convicted of fraud and misuse of funds on 29th June, for paying his wife Penelope Fillon €1.156 million for work she never did as a parliamentary aide. He is sentenced to five years in prison - three of them suspended.
On the same day four Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) militants attack the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi, killing three security guards and a policeman and wounding seven others before being shot dead.
On 30th June
China imposes a new national security law on Hong Kong.
"Non-essential businesses" in England (pubs, bars, restaurants hotels and hairdressers) are allowed to open again on Saturday, 4th July. Recreational facilities (outdoor gyms, playgrounds, skating rinks and camping sites) are also allowed to re-open, as are museums, art galleries and libraries, cinemas and places of worship. Theatres and concert halls are allowed to open but not allowed to stage any live performances.
Ennio Morricone, who composed over 400 scores for cinema and television, including the scores to The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966), the comedy trilogy La Cage aux Folles I, II, III and The Mission (1986), dies on 6th July, aged 91.
Charlie Daniels, best known for his 1979 country hit The Devil Went Down To Georgia, dies on the same day, aged 83.
On 7th July Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro announces in a television interview that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Football player and manager Jack Charlton, who played alongside his brother Bobby in the England team that won the World Cup at Wembley in 1966, dies on 10th July, aged 85.
On the same day the quarantine rules are relaxed for travellers arriving in the UK from 75 countries and British overseas territories.
Naya Rivera, best known for playing the cheerleader Santana Lopez in the TV series Glee, dies in a drowning accident on Lake Piru on 8th July.
On 17th July a British Airways spokesman announces that "due to the downturn in travel caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic" the airline had brought forward its plan
to retire its fleet of 31 Boeing 747 jumbo jets. BA's last two Heathrow-based 747s leave on their final flights on 8th October.
On 22nd July the USA orders China to close its consulate in Houston, Texas. In response the Chinese order the closure the US consulate in Chengdu.
On 24th July the historic Hagia Sophia in Istanbul opens for Friday prayers, just two weeks after a Turkish court had revoked its status as a museum.
On the same day wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets becomes mandatory in England.
Indoor sports facilities such as swimming pools and gyms are allowed to re-open in England on 25th July.
Peter Green, who formed Fleetwood Mac with drummer Mick Fleetwood in 1967, dies on Saturday, 25th July, aged 73.
Olivia de Havilland, who won Oscars for her roles in To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949), dies on Sunday, 26th July at her home in Paris, aged 104.
Najib Razak, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, is convicted in the first of several multi-million dollar corruption trials on Tuesday, 28th July. He is sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of RM210 million.
Q Magazine publishes its last issue on 28th July.
The film director Alan Parker, whose successes included Bugsy Malone (1975), Midnight Express (1978), Fame (1980), Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982), The Commitments (1990) and Evita (1996), dies on Friday, 31st July, aged 76.
On the same day three teenagers - Albert Bowers, Jessie Cole and Henry Long - are given prison sentences of 13 and 16 years for the manslaughter of PC Andrew Harper, who had been dragged to his death behind their getaway car on 15th August 2019.
On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August diners in the UK are encouraged to "Eat out to help out" - a government scheme giving people up to £10 off per person on food and soft drinks if they go out for a meal in one of the 72,000 participating restaurants, cafés and pubs.
On Monday, 3rd August the former king of Spain, Juan Carlos, whose alleged involvement in a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia was under investigation by Spain's Supreme Court, announces that he is leaving Spain for an undisclosed destination - later revealed to be the United Arab Emirates.
is rocked by a massive explosion on 4th August, caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in a warehouse at the port. The explosion causes at least 177 deaths and 6,000 injuries, with an estimated 300,000 people left homeless.
An Air India Express Boeing 737 (Flight IX 1134 from Dubai), which was repatriating Indians stranded by the coronavirus crisis, skids off the end of the runway after landing at Kozhikode International Airport on 7th August. Both of the pilots and 16 passengers are killed.
Presidential elections are held in Belarus on Sunday, 9th August. The Incumbent Alexander Lukashenko is re-elected to a sixth term in office, with official results crediting him with 80 percent of the vote. The outcome leads to mass protests in Minsk and other cities.
Trini Lopez, best known for his 1963 hit If I Had A Hammer, dies on 1tth August, aged 83.
When school A-Level results are announced in the UK on 13th August students. all of whose exams had been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are awarded adjusted grades based upon their schools' A-Level results from previous years. When it emerges that more than 42% of the final grades had been lowered from those estimated by teachers, the government is forced into a U-turn - teachers' estimates are awarded to students unless the exam regulator's computer algorithm gave a higher grade.
The Governor of California Gavin Newsom declares a state of emergency on 18th August, as firefighters battle hundreds of fires, many of them sparked by thunder storms on 16th - 17th August. In September the Diablo and Santa Ana winds and a record-breaking heat wave spark further fires, creating the worst wildfire season recorded in California history.
A 29-year-old black man, Jacob Blake, is shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha on Sunday, 23rd August. The shooting sparks days of violent protest.
On Tuesday, 25th August the Manchester United captain Harry Maguire is given a suspended sentence of 21 months and 10 days in prison, following his arrest after an altercation with police on the Greek island of Mykonos.
Brenton Tarantino, who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on 15th March 2019, is sentenced to life in jail without parole on 27th August. He is the first person in the country's history to receive the sentence.
On the same day Hurricane Laura hits Louisiana, causing 77 deaths and more than $10.1 billion in damage.
Chadwick Boseman, best known for his film roles as the superhero Black Panther, dies of colon cancer on 28th August, aged 43.
Far-right extremists attempt to storm the Reichstag on Saturday, 29th August, following a largely peaceful day-long demonstration in Berlin against the German government's measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.
One person dies and seven others are injured in stabbings in Birmingham city centre in the early hours of Sunday, 6th September.
The playwright and Oscar-winning screenwriter Sir Ronald Harwood, whose plays The Dresser and Quartet were both adapted for the big screen, dies on 8th September, aged 85.
Dame Diana Rigg, famous for her roles as Emma Peel in The Avengers and Olenna Tyrell in Game Of Thrones, dies on 10th September at the age of 82.
On 12th September a statue of a Confederate soldier known as 'At Ready' is taken down from its plinth in front of the Albemarle County courthouse in the US city of Charlottesville, where it had stood since 1909.
Social gatherings of more than six people are banned in England from Monday, 14th September following a steep rise in coronavirus cases.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sign the US-brokered Abraham Accords Peace Agreement at the White House on Tuesday, 15th September. Bahrain also signs an agreement to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
Hurricane Sally makes landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama on 16th September, causing widespread flooding and power cuts.
On 18th September Israel enters a second national lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is taken ill on board a return flight from Tomsk to Moscow on 20th August after being poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent. Two days later he is flown to Germany for treatment at the Charité hospital in Berlin.
A 10.00pm mandatory closing time for pubs, bars and restaurants in England comes into force on Thursday, 24th September.
A New Zealand-born police officer, Sergeant Matt Ratana, is shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre in south London on Friday, 25th September.
The long-running dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan flares up on 27th September when fighting breaks out in the disputed territory of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).
Singer Helen Reddy, whose hits included I Am Woman and Angie Baby, and whose theatre roles included Mrs. Johnstone in the Broadway production of Blood Brothers, dies on Tuesday, 29th September, aged 78.
On 2nd October the US President Donald Trump announces that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for COVID-19.
On the same day Storm Alex brings powerful winds and extremely heavy rain
to south-eastern France and north-western Italy, destroying homes and roads in the mountainous border region and covering beaches on the French Riviera with storm debris.
Saturday, 3rd October is the wettest day for UK-wide rainfall since records began in 1891.
Reggae singer Johnny Nash, whose hits included I Can See Clearly Now, There Are More Questions Than Answers and Tears On My Pillow, dies on 6th October, aged 80.
Eddie Van Halen, the co-founder and lead guitarist with Van Halen, who also played the guitar solo on Michael Jackson's 1983 hit Beat It, dies from throat cancer on the same day, aged 65.
The Queen's Birthday Honours List, normally announced in June, is published on 10th October. It includes Damehoods for celebrity cook Mary Berry, actress Maureen Lipman and the author of The Woman in Black Susan Hill. Knighthoods are awarded to actor David Suchet and to veteran rock 'n' roller Tommy Steele.
On 12th October Facebook adopts a new policy, prohibiting "any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust".
In a speech to the House of Commons on 12th October the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces a new three-tier system of restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19. The new system, which comes into force in England on 14th October, grades every area as being on medium alert (Tier 1), high alert (Tier 2), or very high alert (Tier 3), according to the local level of risk. The Liverpool region is the first to be graded Tier 3, followed by Lancashire on 17th October, Greater Manchester on 23rd October, South Yorkshire on 24th and Nottingham on 29th.
Gordon Haskell, best known for his hit How Wonderful You Are, dies from cancer on 15th October, aged 74.
On the same day pro-democracy protesters demanding reform of the Thai monarchy gather in Bangkok in defiance of a government decree banning demonstrations.
Samuel Paty, a school teacher in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, near Paris, is beheaded on Friday, 16th October after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his pupils during a class about freedom of speech. His attacker is shot dead by police.
Australia and New Zealand re-open their borders on 16th October, allowing New Zealanders to travel to New South Wales and the Northern Territory without a mandatory quarantine for the first time since March.
The governing Labour Party, led by incumbent Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wins a landslide victory in the general election held in New Zealand on 17th October.
Spencer Davis, founder of The Spencer Davis Group, dies from pneumonia on 19th October, aged 81.
On 20th October Nigerian Armed Forces open fire on a crowd protesting against the much-hated police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos. The Nigerian army dismisses reports that it was responsible as "fake news".
Frank Bough, who presented the BBC television programmes Nationwide, Grandstand and Breakfast Time, dies at the age of 87 on Wednesday, 21st October.
On 22nd October Poland's constitutional court rules that abortion is unconstitutional in cases where the mother risks giving birth to a seriously ill child or one with no chance of survival - with exceptions only for cases of rape, incest, or where the mother's health is at risk.
Wales begins a 17-day "firebreak" lockdown at 6.00pm on 23rd October to slow down the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions.
On 25th October
members of the Special Boat Service (SBS) rescue the crew of the oil tanker Nave Andromeda, who had locked themselves in the ship's citadel after seven stowaways on board had become violent as the ship approached Southampton.
Bobby Ball, one half of the comedy double act Cannon and Ball, dies in Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Wednesday, 28th October, aged 76, after testing positive for COVID-19.
On Thursday, 29th October the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) publishes its report 'Investigation into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party'. It finds the Labour Party responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act and is critical of "a culture within the party which, at best, did not do enough to prevent anti-Semitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it". The former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is suspended from the party, pending investigation.
Three people are stabbed to death
at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice on 29th November.
Nobby Stiles, the former Manchester United midfielder who played for England in the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany, dies on 30th October, aged 78.
Sean Connery, the first actor to bring the role of James Bond to the big screen, dies in the Bahamas on 31st October, aged 90.
A five-tier system to curb the spread of COVID-19 is introduced in Scotland on 2nd November.
The actor and comedian John Sessions dies on the same day, aged 67.
Johnny Depp loses his libel case against The Sun newspaper over an article that called him a "wife beater".
On the evening of 2nd November a heavily armed Jihadist gunman opens fire on people in the popular nightlife area of Vienna known as the Bermuda Triangle. Four people are killed and 23 others injured. The gunman, Kujtim Fejzulai, is shot dead by police.
Joe Biden wins the US Presidential election held on 3rd November. His victory is confirmed on 14th December. Despite this, the incumbent President Donald Trump refuses to concede, making unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.
In England, where a three-tier system had failed to curb the spread of COVID-19, a national four-week lockdown comes into force
on Thursday, 5th November.
On the same day Dominic Chappell, whose company Retail Acquisitions Ltd. had purchased British Home Stores for just £1 in 2015, is sentenced to six years in jail for tax evasion.
Geoffrey Palmer, best known for his roles in the sitcoms Butterflies, As Time Goes By and The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin, dies on 5th November, aged 93.
Alex Trebek, the long-time host of the US television quiz show Jeopardy!, dies on 8th November at the age of 80.
On Monday, 9th November two of the pharmaceutical companies working on a vaccine for COVID-19, Pfizer and BioNTech, announce a breakthrough in their research. The findings from the final stages of testing indicate that their vaccine could prevent more than 90% of people from catching the virus.
A peace deal
is signed on the same day by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. It comes into effect at 1.00am on Tuesday, 10th November (Monday, 9.00pm GMT). At least 2,000 Russian troops are sent to the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh to keep the peace.
On Wednesday, 11th November Hong Kong’s pro-democracy legislators announce their resignation en masse, after the city’s government had disqualified four opposition members of the chamber for allegedly endangering national security.
The comedian, singer and television presenter Des O'Connor, who had a number 1 hit in 1968 with I Pretend, dies on 14th November, aged 88.
Dominic Grant of Guys ‘n’ Dolls dies on Wednesday, 18th November, aged 71, following an aneurysm.
On the same day the FAA clears the Boeing 737 Max to return to service once necessary design modifications have been made. The plane was grounded worldwide in March 2019, following two crashes which killed 346 people. Gol, the biggest domestic airline in Brazil, is the first to fly the Max again on 9th December.
On Saturday, 21st November a CCTV camera captures images of
three white police officers in Paris beating up Michel Zecler, a black music producer who had broken French COVID-19 health protocols
by walking in the street without wearing a face mask. The police officers, whose actions are widely condemned and described by the French President as "unacceptable" and "shameful", are suspended and put under investigation.
Diego Maradona, widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time, dies from a heart attack on 25th November, aged 60.
Iran's most renowned nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, is assassinated by a satellite-controlled machine-gun on 27th November.
On Sunday, 29th November, just after 1.00am. a temperature of 25.3°C (77.4°F) is recorded in Sydney, Australia - its hottest November night on record.
the "world's loneliest elephant", who had been kept on his own in a small enclosure since the death of his partner Saheli in 2012. is moved from Islamabad Zoo to a sanctuary in Cambodia on 29th November. Cher, who had led a campaign by animal rights activists to have him relocated, not only travels to see him off from Pakistan, but also meets him when he arrives at Siem Reap Airport the next day.
On Wednesday, 2nd December a revised three-tiered system of COVID-19 rules comes into force in England, with the vast majority of the population in the higher two tiers. Only Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight are placed in Tier 1: Medium Alert.
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the President of France from 1974 to 1981, dies on 2nd December at the age of 94.
Four people are killed and another injured in a large explosion at a water recycling centre in Avonmouth, Bristol on 3rd December.
Tuesday, 8th December - "V-day", as it is described by Health Secretary Matt Hancock - is a landmark day for the NHS. At 6.31am 90-year-old Margaret Keenan becomes the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination, following its approval for use in the UK on 2nd December.
On 9th December an Australian parliamentary inquiry publishes a report ordering the metals and mining corporation Rio Tinto to rebuild the 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge caves, which it had destroyed as part of an iron ore exploration project in May.
On 10th December US President Donald Trump announces that Israel and Morocco had agreed to establish full diplomatic relations. In so doing Morocco becomes the sixth Arab League member to normalise ties with Israel.
Barbara Windsor, best known for her roles in the Carry On films and for playing Peggy Mitchell in the BBC One soap opera EastEnders, dies on 10th December, aged 83.
On 11th December Mariah Carey's single All I Want For Christmas finally tops the UK singles chart, 26 years after its release.
Author John le Carré, whose third novel The Spy Who Came In From The Cold became an international best seller, prompting him to leave his job at MI6 to become a full-time author, dies from pneumonia on 12th December, aged 89.
On the same day country singer Charley Pride dies from complications related to COVID-19, aged 86.
On 14th December Jesy Nelson announces on Instagram that she is leaving Little Mix, explaining that life with the girl group had "taken a toll" on her mental health.
On 16th December 370 religious leaders from 35 countries sign a declaration calling for a ban on conversion therapy - any form of treatment or psychotherapy attempting to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
On the same day London, most of Essex and parts of Hertfordshire are moved into Tier 3, England’s highest tier of COVID restrictions. Three days later, following a rapid rise in infections attributed to a new, more virulent strain of coronavirus, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces tougher restrictions and a new Tier 4: ‘Stay at Home’ alert level.
The President of France Emmanuel Macron is diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday, 17th December, prompting several other European leaders to self-isolate.
On Christmas Eve negotiators from the European Union and the UK agree to the terms of a post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement. A bill bringing the deal into UK law is passed by the House of Commons on 30th December by 521 to 73 votes.
A camper van parked on a downtown street in Nashville explodes at dawn on Christmas Day, injuring three people and knocking out communications systems across the state of Tennessee.
On 29th December the Argentine Senate votes to legalise abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy by 38 votes in favour to 29 against, with one abstention,
The fashion designer Pierre Cardin dies on the same day, aged 98.
The New Year Honours, published on
30th December, include a Knighthood for Lewis Hamilton and a Damehood for Sheila Hancock.
Former Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty dies on 31st December, aged 92.
|In the Charts
UK Chart débuts
- Tate McRae
- Olivia Rodrigo
- Pop Smoke
|UK Best-selling Singles
- Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion
- BBC Radio 2 Allstars
Stop Crying Your Heart Out
[BBC Children In Need]
- Michael Ball, Captain Tom Moore & The Voices Of Care Choir
You'll Never Walk Alone
- Mariah Carey
All I Want For Christmas Is You
- Doja Cat
- Joel Corry
- Joel Corry featuring MNEK
Head & Heart
- Miley Cyrus
- Dababy featuring Roddy Ricch
- Billie Eilish
No Time To Die
- Billie Eilish
Therefore I Am
- Ariana Grande
- Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber
Stuck With U
- Headie One featuring featuring AJ Tracey and Stormzy
Ain't It Different
- Internet Money featuring Don Toliver, Gunna & Nav
- Jawsh 685 & Jason Derulo
Savage Love (Laxed - Siren Beat)
- Kid Laroi
Don't Stop Me Eatin'
- Lady Gaga
- Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande
Rain On Me
- Dua Lipa
- Dua Lipa
- Tate McRae
You Broke Me First
- Little Mix
- Live Lounge Allstars
Times Like These
- Pop Smoke featuring Lil Tjay
- Roddy Ricch
- S1mba featuring DTG
- Saint Jhn
- Stormzy featuring Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy
- Harry Styles
- Harry Styles
- Topic featuring A7S
- 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior
- The Weeknd
- Gabrielle Aplin
- Michael Ball & Alfie Boe
Together At Christmas
- Gary Barlow
Music Played By Humans
- Justin Bieber
- Andrea Bocelli
- Bombay Bicycle Club
Everything Else Has Gone Wrong
Map Of The Soul - 7
- Melanie C
- Mary Chapin Carpenter
The Dirt And The Stars
- The Chicks
- Elvis Costello
More. Again. Forever.
- Deep Purple
- Neil Diamond
Dark Lane Demo Tapes
- Bob Dylan
Rough And Rowdy Ways
- Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Songs From The Kitchen Disco
Music To Be Murdered By
- Paloma Faith
- 5 Seconds Of Summer
- Liam Gallagher
- Melody Gardot
Sunset In The Blue
- Ellie Goulding
- Ariana Grande
- Green Day
Father Of All...
Women In Music - Pt. III
- J Hus
- Ronan Keating
- Lady Gaga
- Dua Lipa
- Little Mix
- Amy Macdonald
The Human Demands
- Ava Max
Heaven & Hell
- Paul McCartney
Young Dumb Thrills
- Katie Melua
Album No. 8
- Shawn Mendes
- Kylie Minogue
I Am Not A Dog On A Chain
- Willie Nelson
First Rose Of Spring
Notes On A Conditional Form
- Ozzy Osbourne
- Dolly Parton
A Holly Dolly Christmas
- Pet Shop Boys
- Pop Smoke
Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon
Hate For Sale
- Queen & Adam Lambert
Live Around The World
- Cliff Richard
Music… The Air That I Breathe
- Sam Smith
- Bruce Springsteen
Letter To You
What The Future Holds
- Taylor Swift
- Taylor Swift
- Keith Urban
The Speed Of Now - Part 1
- The Vamps
- Ward Thomas
- The Weeknd
- Neil Young
- Yusuf (Cat Stevens)
Tea For The Tillerman 2
|At the Movies
The spread of coronavirus turns the box office calendar on its head. Some big films are postponed indefinitely while others are released on streaming services instead. These are some of the films that made it to the big - or small - screen in 2020.
- After We Collided
- Artemis Fowl
- A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood
- Bill & Ted Face The Music
- Birds Of Prey
- Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
- Calm With Horses
- Da 5 Bloods
- David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet
- Été 85 [Summer Of 85]
- Eternal Beauty
- The Gentlemen
- Hillbilly Elegy
- His House
- Hope Gap
- I Am Greta
- The Invisible Man
- The Life Ahead
- The Lighthouse
- Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
- Military Wives
- Mogul Mowgli
- The New Mutants
- On The Rocks
- The One And Only Ivan
- One Night In Miami
- The Personal History Of David Copperfield
- Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
- The Roads Not Taken
- Saint Maud
- The Secret Garden
- The Trial Of The Chicago 7
- Trolls World Tour
- The True History Of The Kelly Gang
- 23 Walks
- The War With Grandpa
- Wonder Woman 1984
- X-Men: The New Mutants
for Best New Musical:
Dear Evan Hansen
- After Life (Season 2)
- AJ And The Queen
- The Alienist (Season 2)
- The Bay (Series 2)
- Better Call Saul (Season 5)
- Call The Midwife (Series 9)
- Cold Feet (Series 9)
- The Crown (Season 4)
- Dancing On Ice (Series 12)
- Deadwater Fell
- Doctor Who (Series 12)
- The Duchess
- Flesh And Blood
- Glass Houses
- Gogglebox (Series 15 and 16)
- Grace And Frankie (Season 6)
- The Greatest Dancer (Series 2)
- The Haunting Of Bly Manor
- Homeland (Season 8)
- I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! (Series 20)
- January 22nd
- Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
- Jupiter's Legacy
- Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous
- Killing Eve (Series 3)
- The Last Days Of Marilyn Monroe
- Last Tango In Halifax (Series 4)
- Locke And Key
- The Luminaires
- The Masked Singer
- Mrs. America
- The Nest
- Normal People
- The North Water
- Noughts + Crosses
- Our Girl (Series 4)
- Outlander (Season 5)
- The Pale Horse
- The Politician (Season 2)
- Queer Eye (Season 5)
- RuPaul's Drag Race (Season 12)
- RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race
- Schitt's Creek (Season 6)
- Spitting Image
- Star Trek: Picard
- Strictly Come Dancing (Series 18)
- Strike: Lethal White
- A Suitable Boy
- Top Gear (Series 28 and 29)
- Who Do You Think You Are? (Series 17)
- Virgin River (Season 2)
- The Wheel
of the Year:
The spread of coronavirus affects the staging of sporting events around the world in 2020, forcing many to be cancelled or postponed.
Darts: Peter Wright wins the PDC World Championship title at Alexandra Palace with a 7-3 win over the 2019 champion Michael van Gerwen. In the early rounds Fallon Sherrock made history by becoming the first woman to win a match at the tournament, beating Ted Evetts 3-2 in the first round and then beating the 11th seed Mensur Suljovic 3-1 in the second round.
Wayne Warren beats Jim Williams 7-4 to win the men's final at the BDO World Darts championship.
Athletics: on 29th January the World Athletics Indoor Championships, scheduled for Nanjing from 13th - 15th March, are postponed until 2021.
The Boston Marathon, which had been postponed from 20th April to 14th September, is cancelled on 28th May for the first time in its 124-year history.
The London Marathon, due to be run on 26th April, is postponed until 4th October. The marathon is run on a different course from usual, consisting of multiple laps around St. James's Park. The men's race is won by Ethiopian Shura Kitata: the women's race is won by Kenyan Brigid Kosgei.
Joshua Cheptegei and Letesenbet Gidey break two world records at the World Record Day event in Valencia on 7th October: Cheptegei sets a new fastest time of 26 minutes 11.00 seconds in the men's 10,000m; Gidey sets a new fastest time of 14 minutes 6.62 seconds in the women's 5,000m.
Snooker: Stuart Bingham wins the Masters title at Alexandra Palace, defeating Ali Carter in the final, 10-8.
Ronnie O'Sullivan claims his sixth World Championship title with a 18-8 victory over Kyren Wilson.
Neil Robertson beats Judd Trump 10-9 to win the UK Championship for the third time.
Tennis: Sofia Kenin wins a first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, beating Garbine Muguruza in the women's singles final in three sets (4-6 6-2 6-2) . Novak Djokovic wins the men's singles title for the eighth time, beating Dominic Thiem in the final in five sets (6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4).
Wimbledon, due to be held from 29th June to 12th July, is cancelled for the first time since World War Two.
The US Open is held behind closed doors without many of the world's top players present. Naomi Osaka beats Victoria Azarenka in the women's singles final (1-6 6-3 6-3) to win her third Grand Slam title. Dominic Thiem wins the men's singles title, fighting back from two sets down to beat Alexander Zverev in the final, 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8-6). The men's top seed Novak Djokovic is disqualified in his fourth-round match for accidentally hitting a ball at a line judge.
The French Open, originally scheduled to begin on 24th May, takes place between 27th September - 11th October.
Due to a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in France the number of spectators watching the matches on each of the three main show courts is limited to 1,000. 19-year-old Iga Swiatek wins the women's singles title, beating Sofia Kenin in the final, 6-4, 6-1. She is the first player from Poland to win a Grand Slam singles title. Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to win the men's singles title for the 13th time, equalling Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles.
Cricket: The England cricket team wins the Winter Test series against South Africa 3–1 and the Twenty20 International series 2–1. The One Day International series ends as a 1–1 draw.
Boxing: Tyson Fury becomes a two-time world heavyweight champion with a win at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas over the WBC heavyweight world champion, Deontay Wilder. Wilder throws in the towel during the seventh round, having been knocked to the ground in the third and fifth rounds.
Rowing: the men's and women's Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Races, both of which had been due to take place on 29th March, are cancelled.
Olympic Games: the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are postponed for a year. On 30th March the International Olympic Committee's Executive Board agrees that, although The Olympics will still be called Tokyo 2020, they will take place between 23rd July - 8th August 2021. The Paralympic Games are rescheduled to take place between 24th August - 5th September 2021.
Horse Racing: the Grand National, due to take place on 4th April, is cancelled.
Football: Euro 2020 is postponed until 2021.
Liverpool become Premier League champions on 25th June after Manchester City lose 2-1 at Chelsea.
Arsenal win the FA Cup for a record 14th time, beating Chelsea 2-1 in the final.
Bayern Munich beat Paris St-Germain 1-0 in the Champions League final in Lisbon to claim the crown for the sixth time.
Lionel Messi breaks Pele's record of the most goals scored for one club on 22nd December by scoring his 644th goal for Barcelona during his side's 3-0 win over Real Valladolid.
Golf: the 149th Open Championship - due to be held from 16th - 19th July at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich - is cancelled on 6th April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US PGA Championship, originally scheduled for 14th - 17th May, is postponed until 6th - 9th August. It takes place at the TPC Harding Park in San Francisco without spectators. Collin Morikawa, playing in just his second major, emerges as the winner after multiple players had competed for the lead in the final round. Joint runners-up Paul Casey and Dustin Johnson finish two shots behind.
Bryson DeChambeau wins the US Open at Winged Foot, in New York, by six shots.
The US Masters at Augusta, usually held in April, is postponed until November. Dustin Johnson finishes with a record-breaking low score of 20 under par to win by five shots.
Cycling: the Tour de France, originally scheduled to start on 27th June, is postponed until 29th August. Tadej Pogacar becomes the first Slovenian to win the Tour, claiming the yellow jersey from his countryman Primož Roglic on the penultimate stage of the race.
Rugby Union: the Six Nations Championship begins in February but cannot be completed as planned due to the COVID-19 crisis. England lose to France (24-17) in the team's first match on 2nd February but then beat Scotland, Ireland and Wales to secure the Triple Crown. After the enforced break in play England return on 31st October to take the title with a bonus-point victory over Italy.
Motor Racing: The opening race of the F1 season, the Australian Grand Prix, is cancelled just hours before the first practice session is due to start on 12th March. A week later the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) announces that the Monaco Grand Prix is also being cancelled - for the first time since 1954.
On 12th June it is announced that the Japanese, Singapore and Azerbaijan Grands Prix are to be added to the list of cancelled races. The US, Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix are also added to the list at the end of July.
The Isle of Man TT from 30th May - 12th June is cancelled.
Lewis Hamilton wins his 92nd F1 race at the Portuguese Grand Prix on 25th October, breaking Michael Schumacher's all-time record of 91. He equals Schumacher's tally of seven world titles with victory at the Turkish Grand Prix on 15th November.
Mercedes win the Constructors' Championship for the seventh year in a row.
Man Booker Prize
The New Wilderness
This Mournable Body
The Shadow King
Prize for Fiction