London’s ITV took on a new look in the last week of July 1968 with a change of companies, faces and television programmes. After 13 years, it was time for ATV (the weekend con­tractors) and Rediffusion (the weekday con­tractors) to…

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1 9 8 3 (UK) 1 x 120 minute episode 6 x 60 minute episodes Barrie Keefe’s drama series No Excuses presented the horrid antics of a seamy group of cocaine-sniffing rock musicians called the Angels, headed by flame-haired Shelley Maze (ex-Rock…

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In Britain, Radio 1 and Top of the Pops began in the Sixties, but by 1970 the Disc Jockeys (or DJ’s) had been elevated to stardom, and many were household names; Tony Blackburn, David ‘Diddy’ Hamilton, Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman, Dave Lee Travis,…

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Clearly inspired by the success of the Bay City Rollers, this young five-piece group from Dagenham in Essex joined the many new bands taking their inspiration from the Tartan Terrors. Flintlock had a head start on most of the other…

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Faron’s Flamingos emerged from a band formed at the Liverpool Mercury Cycling Club (apparently in the winter months they preferred skiffle to cycling!). The group (The Hi-Hats) became Robin and The Ravens, with Robin wearing a yellow silk suit and…

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AC/DC lead vocalist Brian Johnson trod the boards in the 1970s with Newcastle-based Geordie. The band who were often referred to as ‘Newcastle’s answer to Slade’ scored a handful of hits across Europe (especially in Germany), including Don’t Do That (their first…

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Wendy Emerton – later to take the stage name Richard – was born in Middlesbrough on 20 July 1943. Later, her parents moved to London to manage a Mayfair pub, and she attended St George’s school in Mount Street. Her…

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Born Thomas Frederick Cooper in Caerphilly on 19 March 1921, Tommy Cooper served as a member of Field Marshal Montgomery’s Desert Rats in Egypt during WWII – which is where he originally picked up his trademark fez. Following seven years…

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Verity Ann Lambert was born in London on 27 November 1935, the daughter of a Jewish accountant, and was educated at Roedean School. She left Roedean at sixteen with six O’ levels and pursued a brief language course at the…

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In the 1950s and 1960s, the majority of the population of the UK and USA smoked cigarettes or tobacco products. Since no stigma was attached to smoking, it was permitted just about everywhere – including on buses, trains, planes and…

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Minibrix construction kits were manufactured from 1935 to 1976 in the UK by the Premo Rubber Company (a subsidiary of the I.T.S. Rubber Company), which had traditionally made rubber shoe heels. Like the later and more famous construction toy, Lego,…

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In 1953, Paris tour company Groupe Cityrama commissioned a fleet of buses. Since tourism in Paris was highly competitive, the company decided to build distinctive attention-grabbing vehicles. The unique double-decker glass-encased bodies (for maximum visibility) were built by the French…

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This series of reading books for primary school children was first published as The Happy Venture Readers in the mid-1950s and featured Dick And Dora, and their pets Nip the dog and Fluff the cat. Written by Professor Fred Schonell,…

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First introduced in the late 19th century, sweet cigarettes were made from chalky sugar, bubblegum, or chocolate, wrapped in paper, packaged, and branded to resemble actual cigarettes. They were sold in a rough facsimile of a fag packet and even…

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In a brutal and horrific show of force, the Chinese Government vented its fury and frustration on student dissidents and their supporters on 4 June 1989. Up to 2,600 people are thought to have been killed and 10,000 injured when…

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January 02 – 22 die as hurricane winds rock Britain. 05 – The Khmer Rouge drafts a new constitution in Cambodia, renaming it Democratic Kampuchea. 05 – Former Beatles road manager Mal Evans is shot dead by Los Angeles police investigating a domestic…

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It remains the defining assembly of rock music – an unprecedented gathering of at least 300,000 young, long-haired, raggedy-clad Americans “going up the country” in New York’s Catskill Mountains, searching for answers, hoping for transcendence . . . and finding,…

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January 01 – Chinese and North Korean forces advance across the 38th Parallel and through UN lines. 01 – First episode of The Archers is broadcast nationally on the BBC Light Programme. 01 – Bill Byford (Saxon) born. 04 – Communist…

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In 1966 England hosted the World Cup, in a climate of football fever generated in-part by the much-loved mascot World Cup Willie. The cartoon lion appeared on everything from beer to breakfast cereals. Of the 16 nations that reached the final…

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January 01 – The US gives $216 million in aid to South Vietnam. 01 – The 1955 Cotton Bowl Classic American football game is won by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. 02 – President José Antonio Remón Cantera is assassinated…

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January 01 – Groucho Marx dies in Los Angeles. 02 – Legendary jazz pianist and composer Erroll Garner dies. 03 – Former Home Secretary Roy Jenkins announces he is leaving Westminster to become President of the European Commission in Brussels. Conservative…

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January 01 – French singer Maurice Chevalier dies (b. 1888) in Paris. He is 83. 03 – An IRA bomb injures 55 women and children when it explodes in a Belfast department store. 04 – Rose Heilbron is the first…

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