It happened today – this day in history – April 20

1611: First known performance of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” at the Globe Theatre, London.

1657: Battle in Santa Cruz Bay, Tenerife: The English fleet under Robert Blake sinks the Spanish silver fleet.

1759: The composer Handel is buried in Westminster Abbey.

1785: Thomas Warton is appointed Poet Laureate by George III.

1792: France declares war on Austria and Prussia, beginning the French Revolutionary Wars.

1809: Napoleon and French forces defeat Austria at the Battle of Abensberg in Bavaria.

1862: First pasteurization test completed by Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard.

1887: Georges Bouton wins the world’s first motor race, held in France, on a steam-powered quadricycle.

1889: Birth of Adolf Hitler in Austria-Hungary.

1893: Birth of silent film comedian and director Harold Lloyd.

1901: A world-record crowd for a football match attend Crystal Palace for the FA Cup final between Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur. The official attendance was 110.802 although thousands more gained entrance to the 2-2 draw. Spurs would win the replay a week later.

1902: Marie and Pierre Curie isolate the radioactive compound radium chloride.

1912: Death of author Bram Stoker aged 64.

1919: King Nicholas of Montenegro abdicates under duress.

1920: The Balfour Declaration is recognised, making Palestine a British Mandate.

1934: Heinrich Himmler becomes inspector of the Prussian secret state police.

1940: The first electron microscope is demonstrated in Philadelphia by RCA.

1945: The Soviet artillery begins shelling Berlin.

1953: The US and Korea swap sick and wounded prisoners of war at Panmunjon.

1965: China offers North Vietnam military aid.

1966: During a 12-hour session at EMI Studios in Abbey Road, The Beatles work on And Your Bird Can Sing and George Harrison’s Taxman for the Revolver album.

1968: In the defining moment of his controversial political career, Conservative MP Enoch Powell makes his “rivers of blood” speech attacking the government’s immigration policy. On the same day, Apple Music runs advertisements soliciting tapes from unknown artists, offering financial grants as part of a deal to release music on The Beatles’ new Apple label. Also, Deep Purple make their live debut at a gig in Tastrup, Denmark.

1969: Drummer Benny Benjamin of Motown house band The Funk Brothers, dies.


1972: Apollo 16 lands on the Moon after a seven-hour engine crisis which nearly aborts the mission.

1974: The conflict in Northern Ireland claims its 1,000th victim, a petrol station owner from County Fermanagh.

1977: On TV (Wednesday)



09.55The Stationary Ark

10.20Meet Abbott and Costello In:

11.30Inner Space

12.00The Adventures of Rupert Bear

12.10Hickory House

12.30Look Who’s Talking

13.00ITN News at One

13.20Today’s Post

13.30Crown Court

14.00Good Afternoon

14.25Racing from Epsom

15.50There Goes That Song Again

16.15Get It Together

16.45On Your Marks

17.15The Flintstones

17.45ITN News at 5.45



19.00This is Your Life

19.30Coronation Street

20.00Dawson and Friends
Les Dawson and guests Lulu, Guys ‘N’ Dolls and The Syd Lawrence Orchestra

21.00Party Political Broadcast by Rt Hon David Steel, MP, Leader of the Liberal Party


22.10ITN News at Ten

22.40The Mid-Week Match

23.35Drive In


06.40Open University


12.45Midday News

13.00Pebble Mill

13.45Heads and Tails


15.53Regional News

15.55Play School

16.20Star Trek

16.40Star Turn

17.05John Craven’s Newsround

17.15Out of Bounds

17.40Evening News


18.40Film: Attack on the Iron Coast (1968)
A commando major has planned a daring raid to destroy a heavily guarded German naval installation on the French Channel Coast. Fears that the plan is too risky seem justified when a number of men are lost during training sessions. Stars Lloyd Bridges.


21.00Party Political Broadcast by Rt Hon David Steel, MP, Leader of the Liberal Party


Introduced by Harry Carpenter, featuring The Amateur Boxing Association Championships from Belle Vue, Manchester and a look forward to the weekend’s FA Cup Semi-finals.

22.25The Sky at Night


23.55Weather/Regional News


06.40Open University


10.35Nai Zindagi NayaJeevan

11.00Play School


16.55Open University

19.00News on 2 Headlines

19.05Mr Smith’s Vegetable Garden


20.10In the Making

20.30Inside Medicine

21.00Party Political Broadcast by the Liberal Party


21.35The Fight Against Slavery

22.30Arena: Theatre

23.00Late News on 2

23.10The Other Side of Ulster


1979: Lighting director Billy Duffy is killed in an accident during a Kate Bush concert in Southampton, when he falls 20ft through an open trap door on the stage.

1980: Singles chart:

  1. Call Me – Blondie
  2. Geno – Dexys Midnight Runners
  3. Working My Way Back To You – The Detroit Spinners
  4. King/Food For Thought – UB40
  5. Sexy Eyes – Dr Hook
  6. Silver Dream Machine – David Essex
  7. Coming Up – Paul McCartney
  8. Dance Yourself Dizzy – Liquid Gold
  9. Talk Of The Town – The Pretenders
  10. Night Boat To Cairo – Madness
1980: Judas Priest – British Steel

Album chart:

  1. Greatest Hits – Rose Royce
  2. Duke – Genesis
  3. 12 Gold Bars – Status Quo
  4. Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden
  5. The Bobby Vee Singles Album – Bobby Vee
  6. Hypnotised – The Undertones
  7. Sky 2 – Sky
  8. British Steel – Judas Priest
  9. Greatest Hits – Suzi Quatro
  10. The Magic Of.. – Boney M

1986: Vladimir Horowitz, one of the world’s most accomplished concert pianists, performs in his Russian homeland.

1991: Steve Marriott of The Small Faces and Humble Pie, dies in a fire at his home in Essex.

1992: A Concert For Life’ takes place at Wembley Stadium as a tribute to Queen singer Freddie Mercury and for AIDS awareness. Acts include the surviving members of Queen with bassist John Deacon making his final appearance on stage, Elton John, George Michael, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, Axl Rose and Slash.

1998: German terrorist group the Red Army Faction announces its dissolution after 28 years.

1999: A shooting spree by American students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at Columbine High School in Denver leaves 15 dead including the two gunmen.

2006: Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty is arrested in east London on suspicion of drugs possession only hours after a court appearance.

2007: A man with a handgun barricades himself in NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas before killing a male hostage and himself.

2010: The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes, killing 11 and causing the rig to sink, causing a massive oil discharge into the Gulf of Mexico.

2012: Bert Weedon, whose Play in a Day guitar guide set some of the biggest names in rock and roll on the road to greatness, dies aged 91.

2014: Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, American boxer whose murder convictions were overturned after 19 years in prison, dies of prostate cancer at 76.

2016: Comedian Victoria Wood dies of cancer aged 62.

2018: Swedish DJ, remixer, and record producer, Avicii commits suicide aged 28. On the same day, Arsène Wenger announces he will leave Arsenal at the end of the season after 22 years as manager.

2021: Former police officer Derek Chauvin is convicted of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. On the same day, Bay City Rollers singer Les McKeown dies aged 65.

2022: Award winning actor Robert Morse dies aged 90.

2023: SpaceX’s rocket Starhip explodes four minutes after take off. On the same day, a total solar eclipse in Exeter, Western Australia blocks out the sun for 58 seconds.

Andy Serkis

BIRTHDAYS: George Takei, actor, 87; Johnny Tillotson, singer-songwriter, 86; Peter Snow, Broadcaster, 86; Michael Brandon, actor/director, 79; Jessica Lange, actress, 75; Veronica Cartwright, actress, 75; Lord Eric Pickles, politician, 72; Nicholas Lyndhurst, actor, 63; Andy Serkis, actor/director, 60; Crispin Glover, actor, 60; Mike Portnoy, drummer (Dream Theater/Transatlantic), 57; Shemar Moore, actor, 54; Carmen Electra, actress/model, 52; Shay Given, goalkeeper, 48; Tan France, fashion designer/TV personality, 41; Miranda Kerr, model, 41.