Home Decades 1980s 1987



02 – Ideological purity has reached the superficially cosy world of the nursery. In an attempt to excise any taint of racism, all new editions of Enid Blyton’s Noddy books will be shorn of the traditional black golliwogs, who will be replaced by neutral gnomes. Traditionalist are appalled and claim that such “sanitisation” will destroy many classics.

05 – Genetic fingerprinting is used for the first time in a criminal investigation in Leicester, UK.

15 – A London police officer who shot and paralysed a mother-of-six is cleared of all criminal charges. The shooting happened when Inspector Douglas Lovelock led a police raid on a house in Brixton in September 1985 looking for Michael Groce, a man they had been told could be armed. He was not at home, but in the confusion, his mother, Cherry Groce, was shot in the chest. She is now paralysed from the waist down. The shooting sparked riots in Brixton which led to the death of a photographer, hit on the head by a brick.

20 – Police carry out a series of dawn raids and make 26 arrests in their biggest operation so far against soccer hooliganism in England. The raids – codenamed “Operation Fulltime” – were synchronised and took place at 0600 GMT at 30 addresses in London, the Home Counties and the Midlands.

21 – Terry Waite, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy, is kidnapped by a terrorist group in Beirut, Lebanon. Waite was in Beirut to negotiate for the release of other kidnap victims.

24 – 162 police and 33 demonstrators are injured in violent riots outside Rupert Murdoch’s News International printing plant at Wapping, UK.

29 – President of the Philippines Corazon Aquino forces a group of heavily armed rebels who have occupied a television station for the last two days to surrender as her troops fire tear gas into the Channel 7 building in Manila.


02 – In a referendum in the Philippines, 81% approve a new US-style constitution.

04 – Stars & Stripes wins back the Americas Cup for USA.

04 – Liberace dies of AIDS (b. 16 May 1919).

07 – South Korean police make hundreds of arrests in the country’s biggest demonstrations for six years. The rallies were to commemorate the recent death in custody of student Park Chong-choi.

11 – Party planner Cynthia Payne is acquitted of nine charges of controlling prostitutes at her home in south-west London. Her life is eventually dramatised in two British films – Personal Services and Wish You Were Here.

17 – A group of Tamils from Sri Lanka seeking asylum in Britain protest at Heathrow airport by removing their clothes as they are about to be deported. Amid a frenzied scuffle with security personnel, they are forcibly placed onto the awaiting aircraft which is bound for Dhaka.

22 – US pop artist Andy Warhol dies in New York aged 56, after routine gall bladder surgery.

22 – A force of around 7,000 Syrian troops enters West Beirut in an effort to end fighting between Muslim and Druse forces.

26 – The Tower Commission investigating US arms sales to Iran criticises senior White House staff.


03 – American screen star Danny Kaye dies in Los Angeles.

04 – In a televised address, President Reagan takes “full responsibility” for the Iran-Contra Affair, but stops short of admitting that the plan was wrong.

1987ferry06 – Two hundred cross-channel passengers are feared dead after a car ferry capsized in the bitterly cold waters off Zeebrugge. The Herald of Free Enterprise, belonging to the Townsend Thoresen company, rolled over and sank a mile outside the Belgian port (pictured at right). First indications are that the bow doors were open, allowing water to pour into the car deck.

11 – Four New Jersey high school dropouts die of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in an apparent suicide.

19 – Evangelist Jim Bakker resigns as head of the PTL Club following revelations of sexual encounters with church secretary Jessica Hahn.

20 – The Australian Federal government approves the use of AZT (azido-thymidine) on AIDS patients, although the drug is criticised by some for its expense ($10,000 per year per patient) and its many side effects.

23 – Thirty-one people are injured after an IRA car bomb explodes at a British army base in West Germany. 27 West Germans and four Britons are hurt in the bombing at 2230 local time.

27 – Irish band U2 film a music video for the song Where the Streets Have No Name on a rooftop in downtown Los Angeles, California. The video shoot is shut down by police due to security concerns.

29 – Crocodile kills US model in Northern Australia.

30 – A Japanese insurance company buys Van Gogh’s Sunflowers for $53.9 million – The highest price ever paid for a painting.


02 – Jazz drummer Buddy Rich dies of a brain tumour, aged 69.

03 – The late Duchess of Windsor’s jewellery is sold for £31m ($50m) – six times the expected figure – during an auction in Switzerland.

14Mikhail Gorbachev announces that the USSR is prepared to remove short-range missiles from Eastern Europe.

16 – Conservative MP Harvey Proctor appears at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court in central London charged with three acts of gross indecency with one male and one act of gross indecency with another – both teenagers. Proctor resigns as MP for Billericay, pleads guilty and is fined a total of £1,450.

21 – More than 100 people are killed when a bomb explodes in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. Nearly three hundred others are wounded when the device, planted in a car, detonates at Colombo’s main bus terminal during the rush hour. The Sri Lankan authorities believe the bomb was planted by Tamil extremists – known as the Tamil Tigers.


04 – Australian Supreme Court rules that Rotary Clubs must admit women.

04 – Blues bandleader Paul Butterfield dies of a drug overdose at the age of 44.

06 – In the South African general election, the ruling National Party wins an overwhelming victory.

08 – The Presidential hopes of the former Senator Gary Hart are ended after one of the shortest campaigns in history. He announced that he was withdrawing from the campaign, in which he was the Democratic frontrunner, after newspaper exposure of his relationship with Donna Rice, a 29-year-old model. The Miami Herald reported that Hart, who is married, saw Miss Rice on a yacht called Monkey Business, and spent the night with her in Washington. Hart said that the press should ignore candidates’ private lives.

12 – Australian crime boss Robert Trimbole dies in Spain.

14 – Actress Rita Hayworth dies at the New York home of her daughter, Yasmin. For a number of years, Hayworth had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

17 – Iraqi Exocet missiles blast US frigate USS Stark in the Persian Gulf, killing 37 crew. Iraq apologises for the incident, insisting that the missiles were fired by mistake.

28 – 19-year-old West German, Matthias Rust, lands a Cessna next to the Kremlin in Red Square, Moscow.


02 – Australian Chamberlains are pardoned over baby Azaria death.

09 – Neil Kinnock says of Margaret Thatcher: “She only went to Venice because somebody told her she could walk down the middle of the street”.

11Margaret Thatcher wins a record third term as British Prime Minister after beating Labour by 376 to 229 seats. The victory makes her the first prime minister for more than 160 years to win three successive terms of office.

17 – Five Sydney (Australia) men are found guilty of the abduction, robbery, sexual assault and murder of a 26-year-old nursing sister, Anita Cobby, who was raped and tortured for two hours and then murdered after being dragged into a car as she walked to her parents home in the suburb of Blacktown. The court heard that the three men had been on a binge of beer and marijuana before they grabbed Miss Cobby and took her to a paddock. One of the men, John Travers, aged 19, realised that Miss Cobby had heard his name as he raped her and that she could identify him by a teardrop tattoo under his eye. Travers slashed her throat and left her to die.

22 – Dancer and actor Fred Astaire (b. 10 May 1899) dies at home in Los Angeles at age of 88.


01 – Geoffrey Collier, former head of securities at investment bank Morgan Grenfell, is given a 12-month suspended sentence and fined £25,000 with £7,000 costs at the High Court in London – the first conviction for insider dealing since it became illegal in 1980.

02 Moors murderer Ian Brady has offered to assist police searches of Saddleworth Moor for the first time since his conviction 21 years ago. When news of the body found at Saddleworth yesterday reached Brady at Park Lane Mental Hospital in Liverpool he told his solicitor that he was prepared to return to the Manchester moors.

04 – Klaus Barbie, 73, the Gestapo wartime chief known as “the Butcher of Lyon”, is sentenced to life imprisonment by a French court for war crimes. Barbie dies in prison in Lyon on 25 September 1991.

11 – Australian PM Bob Hawke back for record third term.

11 – British veterans return to the scene of the bloodiest battle of World War I to commemorate its 70th anniversary. The fields of Passchendaele in Belgium claimed the lives of 250,000 troops of the British Commonwealth between July and November 1917. Now in their 90s, the men pay their respects at the Commonwealth’s largest war cemetery – Tyne Cot – where 11,908 soldiers are buried.

17President Reagan‘s National Security Adviser, Rear Admiral John Poindexter tells Congress he authorised the diversion of money from arms sales to Iran to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. “The buck stops with me,” he said. Earlier, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, Poindexter’s assistant, had said he assumed but did not know, that the president knew of the diversion.

20 – UN Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution calling on Iran and Iraq to implement a ceasefire.

22 – US warships begin escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Persian Gulf to protect them from Iranian attacks.

22 – Palestinian cartoonist Naji Salim al-Ali is shot in the face and critically wounded outside his office on Ives Street, Chelsea (London). Naji Salim al-Ali does not regain consciousness and dies in Charing Cross Hospital on 29 August 1987.

24 – Former deputy chair of the Conservative Party Jeffrey Archer is awarded record libel damages at the High Court. The Daily Star newspaper is ordered to pay the MP £500,000 damages, along with up to £700,000 costs, for a front-page story last November alleging Mr Archer had paid to have sex with a prostitute.

26 – Irish cyclist Stephen Roche wins the Tour de France.


01 – Dave Stewart of Eurythmics marries Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama.

01MTV Europe is launched.

04 Moors murderer Ian Brady claims he was involved in another five killings. Following preliminary inquiries by the police into his claims, it is decided there is insufficient evidence to pursue an official investigation.

07 – American woman Lynne Cox, 30, is the first person to swim from the United States to the Soviet Union. She swam the 2.7 miles (4.3 km) from Alaska to Siberia across the Bering Strait in a bathing suit despite warnings the temperature of the water – which is frozen for most of the year – was dangerously low at around 5°C. The swim took her two hours and six minutes.

09 – A youth armed with an automatic rifle and a pump-action shotgun kills six people and wounds 10 others when he takes random shots at traffic on Hoddle Street, Clifton Hill, a major inner suburban road in Melbourne (Australia). Police arrest the gunman in a nearby street about half an hour after the shootings began at 9:50 pm. They say Julian Knight, 19, had been in the armed services and it is believed he had been drinking before the shootings. None of the dead knew their killer.

16 – A plane crashes into the highway near Detroit Metropolitan Airport in the US killing 156 people. A four-year-old girl is the sole survivor of the accident, which is caused by pilot error.

17 – Hitler’s former deputy Rudolf Hess dies at Spandau Prison in West Berlin. Hess was said to have strangled himself with electrical wire but this claim is disputed by his relatives. Hess was imprisoned during WWII and had spent 41 years behind bars at Spandau.

19 – Michael Ryan, 27, goes on a shooting rampage in Hungerford, Berkshire, leaving 16 dead and 15 wounded. Eventually, Ryan turns his gun on himself.

23 – An escaped drug addict who shot a policeman is apprehended and killed by police at a Grateful Dead concert celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the ‘Summer of Love‘.

28 – US Film director John Huston dies.

29 – American actor Lee Marvin dies in Arizona.


09 – Twenty-five English football fans involved in the 1985 Heysel stadium disaster are extradited to Belgium. Thirty-nine people died in the tragedy before the 1985 European Cup Final between Juventus and Liverpool. 14 of the extradited fans are found guilty of voluntary manslaughter after a five-month trial. Seven men are given three-year prison terms and the remainder receive three-year suspended sentences.

11Peter Tosh, guitarist and founding member of The Wailers, is shot and killed by burglars at his home in Jamaica a month before his 43rd birthday.

21 – US helicopters intercept an Iranian ship caught laying mines in the Persian Gulf.


01 – An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale strikes Los Angeles, leaving over 100 injured and eight people dead.

06 – Fiji becomes a republic after two successive bloodless coups as Queen accepts the resignation of the Governor-General of Fiji at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in Vancouver.

11 – A major sonar exploration of Loch Ness in Scotland fails to find a monster.
Searchers on “Operation Deepscan” spent a week using £1-million worth of equipment to scan the loch.

16 – Yesterday evening a viewer called the BBC and asked the weatherman if there was going to be a hurricane. He laughed off the suggestion.

michaelfish ukhurricane87654 ukhurricane

Within hours, south-east England was being battered by winds gusting up to 110mph causing greater havoc than any other storm this century. The storm kills at least 17 people and leaves a £300 million trail of destruction from Cornwall to East Anglia. Sevenoaks in Kent loses six of the oaks giving it its name.


16 – Jessica McClure is rescued after being stuck in a well shaft for three days in Midland, Texas.

18 – US destroyers attack Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf in retaliation for Iranian attacks on shipping.

19 – Fifty billion pounds, or ten per cent, is wiped off the value of publicly-quoted companies in London by a tidal wave of selling that begins when dealers reach their desks at 7 am and never stops. Dubbed ‘Black Monday’, it is the worst day for shares this century. No market escapes the shockwaves and Wall Street also has its worst day ever. The collapse is blamed by analysts variously on the US budget and trade deficits, rising interest rates and computer-controlled “programme trading”.

23 – Former champion jockey, Lester Piggott, is sentenced to three years imprisonment after being found guilty of alleged tax fraud of over £3m.


08 – A bomb blast at Enniskillen in Northern Ireland kills 11 people during a Remembrance Day service. The bomb goes off without warning at the town’s cenotaph where people have gathered to pay their respects to the war dead. The bomb was planted by the IRA, who lost support worldwide after the bombing.

08 – Australia wins cricket World Cup for first time.

11 – The painting Irises by Vincent Van Gogh is sold for $49m (£27m) – a world record for a work of art. The final price is more than twice what the painting had been expected to reach. The buyer is Australian entrepreneur, Alan Bond.

18 – “Irangate” Congressional report blames President Reagan for widespread corruption in the US government.

18 – 31 people die in a wooden escalator fire at Kings Cross station in London. Many passengers are trapped underground as the escalator goes up in flames.


08 – Historic INF missile treaty signed with USSR to reduce nuclear arsenals. According to the agreement, 2,611 US and Soviet medium and short-range missiles will be destroyed.

08 – A 22-year-old man armed with a high-powered rifle shoots dead eight people in the Melbourne (Australia) headquarters of Australia Post before leaping to his death from a 10th-floor window. The man, Frank Vitkovic, went to the building in Queen Street, to kill a former friend. The friend escaped, sending Vitkovic on a rampage through the offices. One worker eventually disarmed the man on the 10th floor and struggled with him, but was unable to stop him jumping to his death through a plate glass window.

21 – Nearly 3,000 people die in a ferry disaster in the Philippines

22 – Barred by the International Court of Justice from sending any further arms or military supplies to the Nicaraguan Contras, Reagan authorises $14 million in “non-lethal” Contra aid.

Quote of the year

“How do we prevent the use of nuclear weapons? By threatening to use nuclear weapons. And we can’t get rid of nuclear weapons, because of nuclear weapons”.
Martin Amis, Einstein’s Monsters, 1987.