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That Was the Year That Was – 1985
Super Bowl 51
Image by brizzle born and bred
1985 As the spread of aids increases Governments round the world start screening Blood donations for AIDS. On the technology front the first .com is registered and the first version of Windows is released Ver 1.0 . Terrorists continue to perform acts of terrorism including the hijack of TWA Flight 847 and the Italian Cruise Liner "Achille Lauro ". Famine in Ethiopia is shown more on TV News in July and Live Aid concerts around the world raise many millions to help the starving in Africa and the pop industry in US joins together to sing "We Are The World".

Band Aid’s "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" was at number one, Colin Baker was Doctor Who, and "Beverly Hills Cop" was in cinemas. But as 1984 ticked into 1985, 1 January ushered in more than just a new year: it was the start of a new era, as the first mobile-phone call in the UK was made.

3 March – Just two days short of a year after the Miners’ Strike began it ended in dignified if crushing defeat.

1985: Riots in Brixton after police shooting

Riots have broken out on the streets of south London after a woman was shot and seriously injured in a house search. Armed officers raided a house in Brixton early this morning looking for a man in connection with a robbery. Crowds began to gather outside the district’s police station when news broke the police had accidentally shot the man’s mother, Cherry Groce, in her bed with apparently no warning. Local people had already been very critical of police tactics in Brixton and a mood of tension exploded into violence as night fell.

Dozens of officers dressed in riot gear were injured as they were attacked by groups of mainly black youths with bricks and wooden stakes. The rioters also set alight a barricade of cars across the Brixton Road with petrol bombs and some looted shops in nearby streets. The suspected armed robber was not home when the police raided his address and Scotland Yard described the shooting of his mother as a "tragic accident".

One of Mrs Groce’s daughters told the BBC everything happened very quickly.

"It was a loud noise that made me run down the stairs – by the time I got down there were three police dogs, police rushing everywhere and one of them had a gun," she said. Mrs Groce is being treated at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London and her family say the mother-of-six may never walk again. "She is just in a state of shock – she cannot recall with any great accuracy because it all happened so fast," said her brother Tony Young.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said it did all it could to prevent mistakes like this, but it had to recognise the increased use of firearms by criminals made errors more likely.

Britain’s first official call on a mobile

Britain’s first official call on a mobile (following a beta test in London) was made on 1 January 1985 by 24-year-old Michael Harrison, son of Vodafone chairman Sir Ernest Harrison. Michael slipped out of the family New Year’s Eve party in Surrey and drove to Parliament Square in Westminster with a Vodafone Transportable VT1 phone, also known as Nokia’s Mobira Talkman. After Big Ben had struck 12 to ring in the new year, Harrison junior dialed home and greeted his father, "Hi Dad, it’s Mike. Happy New Year. This is the first ever call on a UK mobile network."

Vodafone was first to go mobile with the New Year’s Eve call, but the head start was brief: BT Cellnet — the forerunner of today’s O2 — launched its service just days later on 10 January 1985. Entertainer Ernie Wise, best known for his double act with Eric Morecambe, promoted the network a couple of weeks later with a photo-call at London’s St Katharine Docks during which he also dialed chairman Harrison, giving rise to the popular belief it was Little Ern who made the first mobile call.

The Sinclair C5 is launched

Within the space of two months in 1985 the UK’s first mobile phone call was made; the C5 launched; and Eastenders debuted: two successes and one flop.

The idea was perhaps ahead of its time, and of the battery technology then available, but in essence was a good one: a simple, cheap (costing less than £450 delivered) electric vehicle for urban transport. Sir Clive Sinclair had dreamt of the thing for years.

But there is a world of difference between a good idea and a good product: to keep the thing cheap it had no cover, not ideal in English weather ; likewise its one battery was not man enough for hilly ground. The C5’s top-speed of 15mph (the legal maximum in the UK without a driving licence being necessitated) was the cause of much hilarity in pubs and the papers, but given London traffic moves at an average speed well below that its speed should not have been a disadvantage in the capital, apparently its first target market.

Perhaps the biggest problem the C5 had was its appearance: more like a children’s toy go-cart than a car, and with a strange driving position, it failed to attract buyers. Only around 12,000 were made before the electric car project had its plug pulled, as it were. Today we may wonder if Sinclair’s brainchild came just a little too soon.

1985 Football dominated the headlines

May 1985 was perhaps the blackest month in British football history . On the 11th May 56 people died in a horrific fire at Valley Parade, Bradford City’s ground. That tragedy was inadvertent; on May 29th more sinister actions led to the deaths of 39 football fans before that year’s European Cup Final between Liverpool and Juventus at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels.

Heysel it was later acknowledged was a far from ideal venue for such a big match: old-fashioned, parts of it said to be in a state of disrepair, and cramped for space when holding a capacity crowd as it was that night. But there would have been no problem had drink-fuelled hooligans, purportedly Liverpool fans, not decided to attack a section of Juventus supporters about an hour before kick-off after prolonged exchanges of makeshift missiles by both sides. The louts burst through scanty police lines and surged towards their targets; many of those facing the attack retreated in panic to a corner where a wall collapsed on them, killing 39 and injuring a further 200.

Against the wishes of both managers it was decided to play the game in spite of the disaster, the fear being that the violence which had followed the tragedy, Juventus fans seeking revenge for the loss-of-life, might escalate into a hand-to-hand battle in the stadium and the streets of Brussels without the diversion of a game. Liverpool lost 1 – 0 in a match played without passion, many players looking like they were on automatic pilot. Shortly afterwards the FA, backed by UEFA, banned English clubs from European competition for five years.

13 March – Rioting breaks out at the FA Cup quarter-final between Luton Town and Millwall at Kenilworth Road, Luton; hundreds of hooligans tear seats from the stands and throw them onto the pitch before a pitch invasion takes place, resulting in 81 people (31 of them police officers) being injured. The carnage continues in the streets near the stadium, resulting in major damage to vehicles and property. Luton Town win the game 1-0.

31 May – The Football Association bans all English football clubs from playing Europe until further notice in response to the Heysel riots. Thatcher supports the ban and calls for judges to hand out stiffer sentences to convicted football hooligans.

10 September – Scotland national football team manager Jock Stein, 62, collapses and dies from a heart attack at the end of his team’s 1-1 draw with Wales at Ninian Park, Cardiff, which secured Scotland’s place in the World Cup qualification playoff.

A wall collapsed on to Ian Hambridge, a 15-year-old Leeds fan, during the trouble at St Andrews on 11 May 1985. His death was overshadowed by the Bradford City fire on the same day.

Battle of the Beanfield

The Battle of the Beanfield took place over several hours on 1 June 1985, when Wiltshire Police prevented The Peace Convoy, a convoy of several hundred New Age travellers, from setting up the 1985 Stonehenge Free Festival in Wiltshire, England. The police were enforcing a High Court injunction obtained by the authorities prohibiting the 1985 festival from taking place. Around 1300 police officers took part in the operation against approximately 600 travellers.

The convoy of travellers that were heading for Stonehenge encountered resistance at a police road block seven miles from the landmark. Police claim that some traveller vehicles then rammed police vehicles in an attempt to push through the roadblock. Around the same time police smashed the windows of the convoy’s vehicles and some travellers were arrested. The rest broke into an adjacent field and a stand-off consequently developed that persisted for several hours. According to the BBC "Police said they came under attack, being pelted with lumps of wood, stones and even petrol bombs". Conversely, The Guardian states the travellers were not armed with petrol bombs and that police intelligence suggesting so "was false".

Eventually the police launched another attack during which the worst of the violence is purported to have taken place. According to The Observer, during this period pregnant women and those holding babies were clubbed by police with truncheons and the police were hitting "anybody they could reach". When some of the travellers tried to escape by driving away through the fields, The Observer states that the police threw truncheons, shields, fire-extinguishers and stones at them in an attempt to stop them.

Dozens of travellers were injured, 8 police officers and 16 travellers were hospitalised. 537 travellers were eventually arrested. This represents the largest mass arrest of civilians since at least the Second World War, possibly the biggest in English legal history. Two years after the event, a Wiltshire police sergeant was found guilty of Actual Bodily Harm as a consequence of injuries incurred by a member of the convoy during the Battle of the Beanfield.

In February 1991 a civil court judgement awarded 21 of the travellers £24,000 in damages for false imprisonment, damage to property and wrongful arrest. The award was swallowed by their legal bill as the judge did not award them legal costs.

In 1985 the festival was banned by the Thatcher government and in May the Battle of the Beanfield took place, with an estimated 1000 police ambushing a convoy of travellers on their way to Stonehenge, trashing their vehicles and doing their best to completely demoralise the hard core festival community .The week after, 38 football fans were killed in a riot at an away match in Europe which not only diverted attention away from this event , but also put the Stonehenge festival in perspective. To my knowledge, the festival never had any deaths occur, the mess made was unfortunate, but compared to the mayhem and cost that the average football match cost to the taxpayer in policing, the Henge festival was a mere pinprick. So why was so much effort made to destroy it? Total drug related hospital admissions from the festival in 84 were five ,the policing cost of the Beanfield exercise was 800.000 pounds. Value for money?.

1985 Timeline

January – The Fraud Investigation Group is set up for cases of financial & commercial fraud.

1 January – The first British mobile phone calls are made.

7 January – Nine striking miners are jailed for arson.

10 January – The Sinclair C5, a battery-assisted recumbent tricycle, designed by the British inventor Clive Sinclair is launched.

Eight people are killed by a gas explosion at a block of flats in Putney.

16 January – London’s Dorchester Hotel is bought by the Sultan of Brunei.

17 January – British Telecom announces it is going to phase out its famous red telephone boxes.

23 January – A debate in the House of Lords is televised for the first time.

29 January – Margaret Thatcher becomes the first post-war Prime Minister to be refused an honorary degree by Oxford University.

10 February – Nine people are killed in a multiple crash on the M6 motorway.

16 February – Civil servant Clive Ponting resigns from the Ministry of Defence after his acquittal of breaching section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 concerning the leaking of documents relating to the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano during the Falklands War.

19 February – EastEnders, the BBC1 soap opera, goes on the air.

25 February – Nearly 4,000 striking miners go back to work, meaning that only just over half of the miners are now on strike.

3 March – The miners’ strike ends after one year.

7 March – Two IRA members are jailed for 35 years at the Old Bailey for plotting the bombing campaign across London during 1981.

11 March – Mohammed Al Fayed buys the London-based department store company Harrods.

13 March – Rioting breaks out at the FA Cup quarter-final between Luton Town and Millwall at Kenilworth Road, Luton; hundreds of hooligans tear seats from the stands and throw them onto the pitch before a pitch invasion takes place, resulting in 81 people (31 of them police officers) being injured. The carnage continues in the streets near the stadium, resulting in major damage to vehicles and property. Luton Town win the game 1-0.

19 March – After beginning the year with a lead of up to eight points in the opinion poll, the Conservatives suffer a major blow as the latest MORI poll puts them four points behind Labour, who have a 40% share of the vote.

Ford launches the third generation of its Granada. It is sold only as a hatchback, in contrast to its predecessor which was sold as a saloon or estate, and in continental Europe it will be known as the Scorpio.

11 April – An 18-month-old boy becomes the youngest person in Britain to die of AIDS.

22 April – Construction of Japanese carmaker Nissan’s new factory at Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, begins. The first cars are expected to be produced next year.

30 April – Bernie Grant, born in Guyana, becomes the first black council leader when he is elected leader of Labour-controlled London Borough of Haringey council.

2 May – The SDP–Liberal Alliance makes big gains in local council elections.

11 May – A fire engulfs a wooden stand at the Valley Parade stadium in Bradford during a football match, killing 56 people (54 Bradford City supporters and two Lincoln City supporters) and injuring more than 200 others.

A 14-year-old boy is killed, 20 people are injured and several vehicles are wrecked when Leeds United football hooligans riot at the Birmingham City stadium and cause a wall to collapse.

15 May – Everton, who have already clinched their Football League title for 15 years, win the European Cup Winners’ Cup (their first European trophy) with a 3-1 win over Rapid Vienna in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. English clubs have now won 25 European trophies since 1963. Everton are also in contention for a treble of major trophies, as they take on Manchester United in the FA Cup final in three days.

16 May – Two South Wales miners are sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of taxi driver David Wilkie. Dean Hancock and Russell Shankland, both 21, dropped a concrete block on Mr Wilkie’s taxi from a road overbridge in November last year.

Scientists of the British Antarctic Survey discover the ozone hole.

18 May – Manchester United win the FA Cup for the sixth time in their history with a 1-0 win over Everton in the final at Wembley Stadium. The only goal of the game is scored by 20-year-old Northern Irish forward Norman Whiteside, who scored in United’s last FA Cup triumph two years ago.

29 May – In the Heysel Stadium disaster at the European Cup final in Brussels, 39 football fans die and hundreds are injured. Despite the tragedy, the match is played and Juventus beat Liverpool 1-0.

31 May – The Football Association bans all English football clubs from playing Europe until further notice in response to the Heysel riots. Thatcher supports the ban and calls for judges to hand out stiffer sentences to convicted football hooligans.

1 June – Battle of the Beanfield, Britain’s largest mass arrest and the effective end of Stonehenge Free Festivals.

2 June – In response to the Heysel tragedy four days ago, UEFA bans all English football clubs from European competitions for an indefinite period, recommending that Liverpool should serve an extra three years of exclusion once all other English clubs have been reinstated.

6 June – Birmingham unveils its bid to host the 1992 Summer Olympics, which includes plans for a new £66 million stadium.

13 June – The James Bond film A View To A Kill is released, marking the last appearance by Roger Moore as the spy after six films since 1973.

25 June – Police arrest 13 suspects in connection with the Brighton hotel bombing of 1984.

29 June – Patrick Magee is charged with the murder of the people who died in the Brighton bombing eight months ago.

4 July – 13-year-old Ruth Lawrence achieves a first in Mathematics at Oxford University, becoming the youngest British person ever to earn a first-class degree and the youngest known graduate of Oxford University.

Unemployment for June fell to 3,178,582 from May’s total of 3,240,947, the best fall in unemployment of the decade so far.

13 July – Live Aid pop concerts in London and Philadelphia raise over £50 million for famine relief in Ethiopia.

29 July – Despite unemployment having fallen since October last year, it has increased in 73 Conservative constituencies, according to government figures.

7 August – White House Farm murders at Tolleshunt Darcy, Essex; 28-year-old Sheila Caffell is reported to have shot dead her six-year-old twin sons, and also her adoptive parents Nevill and June Bamber, before turning the gun on herself. Her 24-year-old brother Jeremy, who was also adopted, alterted the police to the house after telling them that he had received a phonecall from Nevill Bamber to tell him that his sister had "gone berserk" with a rifle.

13 August – The first UK heart-lung transplant is carried out at the Harefield Hospital in Middlesex. The patient is three-year-old Jamie Gavin.

The Sinclair C5 ceases production after just seven months and less than 17,000 units.

22 August – 55 people are killed in the Manchester air disaster at Manchester International Airport when a British Airtours Boeing 737 burst into flames after the pilot aborts the takeoff.

24 August – Five-year-old John Shorthouse is shot dead by police at his family’s house in Birmingham, where they were arresting his father on suspicion of an armed robbery committed in South Wales.

September – SEAT, the Spanish carmaker originally a subsidy of Fiat but now under controlling interest from Volkswagen, began importing cars to the United Kingdom. Its range consisted of the Marbella (a rebadged version of the Fiat Panda), the Ibiza hatchback and Malaga saloon.

1 September – A joint Franco-American expedition locates the wreck of the RMS Titanic.

4 September – The first photographs and films of the RMS Titanic’s wreckage are taken, 73 years after it sank.

6 September – The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre opens in Glasgow.

8 September – Jeremy Bamber is arrested on suspicion of murdering his adoptive parents, sister and two nephews at their Essex farmhouse last month, after police had originally believed that his sister had killed herself after shooting her parents and sons.

9 September – Rioting, mostly motivated by racial tension, breaks out in the Handsworth area of Birmingham.

10 September – The riots in Handsworth escalated, with mass arson and looting resulting in thousands of pounds worth of damage, leaving several people injured, and resulted in the deaths of two people who died when the local post office was petrol bombed. One of the fatalities was the owner of the post office.

Scotland national football team manager Jock Stein, 62, collapses and dies from a heart attack at the end of his team’s 1-1 draw with Wales at Ninian Park, Cardiff, which secured Scotland’s place in the World Cup qualification playoff.

11 September – The rioting in Handsworth ended, with the final casualty toll standing at 35 injuries and two deaths. A further two people are unaccounted for.

The England national football team secures qualification for next summer’s World Cup in Mexico with a 1-1 draw against Romania at Wembley. Tottenham midfielder Glenn Hoddle scored England’s only goal.

Enoch Powell, the controversial former Tory MP who was dismissed from the shadow cabinet 17 years ago for his Rivers of Blood speech on immigration, states that the riots in Handsworth were a vindication of the warnings he voiced in 1968.

17 September – Margaret Thatcher’s hopes of winning a third term in office at the next election are thrown into doubt by the results of an opinion poll, which shows the Conservatives in third place on 30%, Labour in second place on 33% and the SDP–Liberal Alliance in the lead on 35%.

28 September – A riot in Brixton erupts after an accidental shooting of a woman by police. One person dies in the riot, 50 are injured and more than 200 are arrested.

Manchester United’s excellent start to the Football League First Division season sees them win their 10th league game in succession, leaving them well placed to win their first league title since 1967.

29 September – Jeremy Bamber is re-arrested on his return to England after two weeks on holiday in France and charged on five counts of murder.

1 October – Neil Kinnock makes a speech at the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth attacking the entryist Militant group in Liverpool.

Lord Scarman’s report on the riots in Toxteth and Peckham blames economic deprivation and racial discrimination.

Economists predict that unemployment will remain above the 3,000,000 mark for the rest of the decade.

5 October – Mrs Cythnia Jarrett, a 49-year-old black woman, dies after falling over during a police search of her council house on the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham, London.

6 October – PC Keith Blakelock is fatally stabbed during the Broadwater Farm Riot in Tottenham, London, which began after the death of Cynthia Jarrett yesterday. Two of his colleagues are treated in hospital for gunshot wounds, as are three journalists.

15 October – The SDP-Liberal Alliance’s brief lead in the opinion polls is over, with the Conservatives now back in the lead by a single point over Labour in the latest MORI poll.

17 October – The House of Lords decides the legal case of Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority[26] which sets the significant precedent of Gillick competence, i.e. that a child of 16 or under may be competent to consent to contraception or – by extension – other medical treatment without requiring parental permission or knowledge.

24 October – Members of Parliament react to the recent wave of rioting by saying that unemployment is an unacceptable excuse for the riots.

28 October – Production of the Peugeot 309 begins at the Ryton car factory near Coventry. The 309, a small family hatchback, is the first "foreign" car to be built in the UK. It was originally going to be badged as the Talbot Arizona, but Peugeot has decided that the Talbot badge will be discontinued on passenger cars after next year and that the Ryton plant will then be used for the production of its own products, including a larger four-door saloon (similar in size to the Ford Sierra) which is due in two years.

30 October – Unemployment is reported to have risen in nearly 70% of the Tory held seats since this time last year.

31 October – The two miners who killed taxi driver David Wilkie in South Wales eleven months ago have their life sentences for murder reduced to eight years for manslaughter on appeal.

1 November – The Queen Mother commissions aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal.

Unemployment for September falls by nearly 70,000 to less than 3,300,000.

5 November – Mark Kaylor defeats Errol Christie to become the middleweight boxing champion, after the two brawl in front of the cameras at the weigh-in.

9 November – The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive in the United States of America for a visit to Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C.

15 November – Anglo-Irish Agreement signed at Hillsborough Castle. Treasury Minister Ian Gow resigns in protest at the deal.

17 November – The Confederation of British Industry calls for the government to invest £1 billion in unemployment relief – a move which would cut unemployment by 350,000 and potentially bring it below 3,000,000 for the first time since late 1981.

18 November – A coach crash on the M6 motorway near Birmingham kills two people and injures 51.

19 November – The latest MORI poll shows that Conservative and Labour support is almost equal at around 36%, with the SDP–Liberal Alliance’s hopes of electoral breakthrough left looking bleak as they have only 25% of the vote.

22 November – Margaret Thatcher is urged by her MPs to call a General Election for June 1987, despite the deadline not being until June 1988 and recent opinion polls frequently showing Labour and the Alliance at least level with the Conservatives, although the Conservative majority has remained well into triple figures.

25 November – Department store chains British Home Stores and Habitat announce a £1.5 billion merger.

27 November – Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock suspends the Liverpool District Labour Party amid allegations that the Trotskist Militant group was attempting to control it.

29 November – A gas explosion kills four people in Glasgow.

Gérard Hoarau, exiled political leader from the Seychelles, is assassinated in London.

December – Builders Alfred McAlpine complete construction of Nissan’s new car factory at Sunderland. Nissan can now install machinery and factory components and car production is expected to begin by the summer of next year.

4 December – Scotland’s World Cup qualification is secured by a goalless draw with Australia in the playoff second leg in Sydney.

5 December – It is announced that unemployment fell in November, for the third month running. It now stands at 3,165,000.

25 December – Charitable organisation Comic Relief is launched.

26 December – Rock star Phil Lynott, formerly of Thin Lizzy, is rushed to hospital after collapsing from a suspected heroin overdose at his home in Berkshire.

The Waterside Inn at Bray, Berkshire, founded by the brothers Michel and Albert Roux, becomes the first establishment in the UK to be awarded three Michelin Guide stars, a distinction which it retains for at least twenty-five years.

Inflation stands at 6.1% – the highest since 1982 but still low compared to the highs reached in the 1970s.

Peak year for British oil production: 127 million tonnes.

The Dire Straits album, Brothers In Arms, becomes the first million selling compact disc.

The first retailers move into the Merry Hill Shopping Centre near Dudley, West Midlands. A new shopping mall is scheduled to open alongside the developing retail park in April 1986 and it is anticipated to grow into Europe’s largest indoor shopping centre with further developments set to be completed by 1990, as well as including a host of leisure facilities.

Television

1 January – Brookside is moved from Wednesdays to Mondays which means the soap can now be seen on Mondays and Tuesdays.

3 January – The UK’s last VHF television transmitters close down.

4 January – Channel 4 achieves its highest ever audience as 13.8 million viewers tune in for the final part of the mini-series A Woman of Substance.

6 January – The last 405-line transmitters are switched off in the UK.

18 January – Debut of The Practice, a twice-weekly medical drama intended to become Granada’s second soap produced for the ITV network. But viewing figures are not as healthy as had been hoped, and the series first run ends in May. It returns for a second series in 1986 before being axed.

20–21 January – Channel 4 airs Super Bowl XIX, the first time the Super Bowl is aired on British television.

20 January – American television sitcom The Cosby Show is broadcast in the United Kingdom for the first time.

23 January – A debate in the House of Lords is televised for the first time.

18 February – BBC1 undergoes a major relaunch. At 5.35 p.m., the legendary mechanical "mirror globe" ident, in use in varying forms since 1969, is seen for the last time in regular rotation on national BBC1. Its replacement, the COW (Computer Originated World, a computer generated globe) debuts at 7pm. On the same day, computer-generated graphics replace magnetic weather maps on all BBC forecasts, and Terry Wogan’s eponymous talk show is relaunched as a thrice-weekly live primetime programme. EastEnders launches the following day.

19 February – EastEnders, the BBC1 soap opera, goes on air.

28 April – The World Snooker Championship Final between Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis draws BBC2’s highest ever rating of 18.5 million viewers.

11 May – A fire breaks out at the Valley Parade stadium in Bradford during a football match between Bradford City and Lincoln City. The match is being recorded by Yorkshire Television for transmission on their Sunday afternoon regional football show The Big Match the following day. Coverage of the fire is transmitted minutes after the event on the live ITV Saturday afternoon sports programme World of Sport. BBC’s Grandstand also transmits live coverage of the fire.

29 May – Heysel Stadium Disaster televised live by BBC1; at the European Cup final in Brussels, Belgium, between Liverpool and Juventus, 39 Juventus fans are killed when a wall collapses during a riot at the Heysel Stadium.

5 June – The first episode of Bulman airs.

13 July – Live Aid pop concerts are held in Philadelphia and London and televised around the world. Over £50 million is raised for famine relief in Ethiopia.

31 July – The BBC announces it has pulled At the Edge of the Troubles, a documentary in the Real Lives strand in which filmmaker Vincent Hanna secured an interview with Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness and his wife. The announcement leads to a one-day strike by members of the National Union of Journalists, and the eventual overturning of the ban. A slightly edited version of the programme is shown in October. The controversy damages the Director-Generalship of Alasdair Milne, who eventually resigns from the post in 1987.

The War Game, made for the BBC’s The Wednesday Play strand in 1965 but banned from broadcast at the time, is finally shown on television as part of BBC2’s After the Bomb season.

August – After a series of high-profile football hooliganism and a dispute between the Football League and the broadcasters over revenue, televised league football is missing from British screens until the second half of the season. The Charity Shield and international games are the only matches screened.

1 August – The nuclear war docudrama Threads is repeated on BBC2 as part of the After the Bomb series.

13 August – ITV airs the US intergalactic whodunit Murder in Space. The film is shown without the ending, and a competition held for viewers to identify the murderer(s). The film’s concluding 30 minutes are shown a few weeks later, with a studio of contestants eliminated one by one until the winner correctly solves the mystery. There is a prize of £10,000.

30 August – Debut of Granada’s ill-fated "continuing drama series", Albion Market. The series – set in a market in Salford and intended as a companion for Coronation Street – is panned by critics and suffers from poor ratings. It is axed a year later.

3 September – BBC1’s EastEnders moves from 7.00pm to 7.30pm to avoid clashing with ITV’s Emmerdale Farm, which airs in the 7.00pm timeslot on Tuesdays and Thursdays in many ITV regions.

10 September – ITV airs the Wales vs Scotland World Cup qualifier from Cardiff’s Ninian Park. The match – played against the backdrop of escalating football hooliganism – is notable for the death of Scotland manager Jock Stein, who collapsed shortly before Scotland secured their place in the 1986 FIFA World Cup.

15 September – ITV airs Murder in Space: The Solution, in which the puzzle of the sci-fi murder mystery is finally solved.

28 September – After 20 years ITV’s Saturday afternoon sports programme World of Sport is aired for the last time.

3 October – Roland Rat, the puppet rodent who saved an ailing TV-am in 1983 transfers to the BBC. Commenting on the move, he says, "I saved TV-am and now I’m here to save the BBC."

28 October – A documentary in ITV’s World in Action series casts doubt on evidence used to convict the Birmingham Six of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings.

November – The 1,000th episode of Emmerdale Farm is celebrated with a special lunch attended by Princess Michael of Kent. Not recognising any of the cast members she later admits that she never watches the show.

9 December – 25th anniversary of the first episode of Coronation Street.

25 December – Minder on the Orient Express, a feature-length episode of the television series Minder, receives its UK television debut as the highlight of ITV’s Christmas Day schedule.

BBC1

19 February – EastEnders (1985–present)
March – Comic Relief (1985–present)
1 April – Bertha the Machine (1985–1986)
15 April – Three Up, Two Down (1985–1989)
September – CBBC on BBC One (1985–2012)
1 September – Howards’ Way (1985–1990)
3 September – Telly Addicts (1985–1998)

BBC2

11 January – Victoria Wood As Seen On TV (1985–1987)
September – CBBC on BBC Two (1985–2013)
No Limits (1985–1987)

ITV

11 January – Dempsey and Makepeace (1985–1986)
18 January – The Practice (1985–1986)
20 January – Supergran (1985–1987)
26 February – Busman’s Holiday (1985–1993)
12 April – C.A.T.S. Eyes (1985–1987)
16 April – The Wall Game (1985)
19 April – Home to Roost (1985–1990)
27 April – Crosswits (1985–1998)
13 May – Connections (1985–1990)
5 June – Bulman (1985–1987)
30 August – Albion Market (1985–1986)
23 October – Girls on Top (1985–1986)
30 August – Drummonds (1985–1987)
1 November – Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It (1985–1988)
13 November – Alias the Jester (1985–1986)
30 November – Blind Date (1985–2003)
30 December – All in Good Faith (1985–1988)

Channel 4

2 January – A Woman of Substance (1985)
6 October – Pob’s Programme (1985–1988)

Music

The biggest British musical event of 1985 was the Live Aid concert in London’s Wembley Stadium on 13 July. Held to follow-up the previous year’s charity record "Do They Know It’s Christmas?", the biggest selling single ever at the time, popular acts such as The Who, U2 and Queen performed in front of an estimated audience of 1.5 billion viewers. It raised £150 million to help famine in Ethiopia, and a similar event would happen 20 years later in 2005, with Live 8.

After the huge success of Band Aid’s "Do They Know It’s Christmas?", several more charity songs reached number 1 this year. USA for Africa, inspired by Band Aid, released "We Are the World", a song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, while David Bowie and Mick Jagger released a cover of "Dancing In The Street", the music video being premiered at Live Aid and all proceeds going to the charity. In May, a fire at a football stadium in Bradford killed 56 people, and supergroup The Crowd released a charity cover of popular football anthem "You’ll Never Walk Alone" in tribute.

British rock band Dire Straits released their album Brothers in Arms in May, one of the first ever albums to be released on Compact Disc. It went on to become a huge seller, the biggest selling album of the entire decade and as of 2008 in the top 5 biggest selling albums of all time. Four singles were released from the album, including the number 4 hit "Money for Nothing", which referenced American music channel MTV and had a groundbreaking video featuring early computer-generated imagery. When a European version of MTV launched in 1987, it was the first video ever played on the channel.

Jennifer Rush entered the top 75 in June with the power ballad "The Power of Love", which remained in the chart for months without entering the top 40. When it finally did in September, it quickly hit number 1, where it remained for five weeks and was the biggest selling single of the year. It sold over a million copies, however it would be the last single of the decade to do so, and there would not be another million-seller until 1991.

Many songs this year competed for the Christmas number one single, and the entire top 3 from 1984 re-entered the chart this year; Paul McCartney’s "We All Stand Together" at number 32, Wham!’s "Last Christmas" at number 6, and Band Aid’s "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" at number 3. There were also attempts from Bruce Springsteen with a cover of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", and ventriloquist Keith Harris released a cover of "White Christmas" with his green puppet Orville the Duck.

However, the Christmas number one went to Shakin’ Stevens with the song "Merry Christmas Everyone". It had been intended to be released in 1984, but was kept back a year due to the Band Aid charity single. Still a widely known Christmas song in the 21st century, it re-entered the chart in Christmas 2007 on downloads alone, at number 22.

John Rutter, hitherto best known for his popular modern carols, acknowledged his classical roots with his Requiem, which was premièred in October in Sacramento, California. Less than eight months earlier, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem had its première in New York. Paul Miles-Kingston, the boy soprano who won a silver disc for his recording of the "Pie Jesu" from that work, became Head Chorister of Winchester Cathedral in the same year. The prolific Peter Maxwell Davies (who had moved to Orkney in 1971) produced one of his most popular works, Orkney Wedding, With Sunrise, notable for featuring the bagpipes as a lead instrument. Veteran Welsh composer Daniel Jones, produced his 12th symphony, at the age of 73, whilst 80-year-old Michael Tippett began work on his last opera, New Year.

Charts Number one singles

"Do They Know It’s Christmas?" – Band Aid
"I Want to Know What Love Is" – Foreigner
"I Know Him So Well" – Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson
"You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" – Dead or Alive
"Easy Lover" – Philip Bailey and Phil Collins
"We Are the World" – USA for Africa
"Move Closer" – Phyllis Nelson
"19" – Paul Hardcastle
"You’ll Never Walk Alone" – The Crowd
"Frankie" – Sister Sledge
"There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)" – Eurythmics
"Into the Groove" – Madonna
"I Got You Babe" – UB40 and Chrissie Hynde
"Dancing in the Street" – David Bowie and Mick Jagger
"If I Was" – Midge Ure
"The Power of Love" – Jennifer Rush
"A Good Heart" – Feargal Sharkey
"I’m Your Man" – Wham!
"Saving All My Love for You" – Whitney Houston
"Merry Christmas Everyone" – Shakin’ Stevens

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Super Bowl 51
Image by nata2

– Taken at 06:51 PM on February 05, 2006; cameraphone upload by ShoZu