It happened today – this day in history – December 25

352: The first definite date Christmas was celebrated on this day.

597: England adopts the Julian calendar.

800: Pope Leo III crowns Charles the Great (Charlemagne) Roman Emperor.

1066: William the Conqueror is crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey.

1223: St Francis of Assisi assembles the first Nativity scene in Greccio, Italy.

1492: Christopher Columbus’ flagship the Santa María runs aground and sinks on the north coast of Hispaniola. The crew is left to form a colony and Columbus returns to Spain.

1642: Physicist Isaac Newton is born in Lincs.

1741: Astronomer Anders Celcius introduces the centigrade temperature scale.

1868: Despite bitter opposition, US President Andrew Johnson grants unconditional pardons to all persons involved in the Southern rebellion (Civil War).

1914: The legendary “Christmas Truce” takes place on the battlefields of the First World War between British and German troops. Instead of fighting, soldiers exchange gifts and play football.

1926: Crown Prince Hirohito assumes the Japanese throne upon the death of his father, Emperor Yoshihito.

1938: Director George Cukor announces that after a long publicised search, Vivien Leigh will play Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind”.

1939: Rudolph the red nosed reindeer first appears in a booklet released by the US department store Montgomery Ward.

1946: Death of W C Fields aged 67.

1950: The Coronation Stone, taken from Scone in Scotland by Edward I in 1296, is stolen from Westminster Abbey and smuggled back to Scotland.

1952: The Queen gives her first Christmas broadcast since her accession to the throne.

1954: Singer Johnny Ace shoots himself dead backstage at the City Auditorium in Houston, Texas. He was playing with a revolver during a break between sets, someone in the room said: “Be careful with that thing’’ and he said ‘It’s OK the gun’s not loaded, see?’’ and pointed it at himself with a smile on his face.

1957: American murderer and bodysnatcher Ed Gein is found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was considered fit for trial 11 years later.

1966: The Beatles – Revolver

1966: Album chart:

  1. The Sound Of Music – Original Soundtrack
  2. Best of The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys
  3. Come The Day – The Seekers
  4. Distant Drums – Jim Reeves
  5. Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass) – The Rolling Stones
  6. Gentle Shades Of Val Doonican – Val Doonican
  7. Going Places – Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
  8. Revolver – The Beatles
  9. Golden Hits – Dusty Springfield
  10. Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys

1967: Paul McCartney and actress Jane Asher get engaged.


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1973: Dutch midfielder Johan Cruyff wins his second Ballon d’Or.

1974: Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory is wrecked by a powerful cyclone that leaves thousands of people homeless.

1977: Film legend Charlie Chaplin dies in Switzerland aged 88. On the same day, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin meets with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Egypt.

TV on this day:

LONDON WEEKEND
08.45Christmas Carol Concert
09.45Cartoon Time
10.00Parish Mass for Christmas Day
11.00A Merry Morning
11.45Cartoon Time
12.00Film: Robinson Crusoe and the Tiger (1972)
14.00Just William
15.00The Queen
15.10To See Such Fun
16.40Emu’s Christmas Adventure
17.40ITN News
17.45The Muppet Show
18.15Sale of the Century
18.40Stars on Christmas Day
19.15Film: Young Winston (1972)
The early life of Chhurchill, starring Michael York
22.05ITN News
22.15Stanley Baxter’s Greatest Hits
23.30 – 00.30Celebration

BBC ONE
08.55Star Over Bethlehem
09.55Playboard
10.10Michael Bentine
10.15Christmas Worship
11.13Weather
11.15The Bear who Slept Through Christmas
11.40National Velvet
13.40Are You Being Served?
14.10Top of the Pops 77
15.00The Queen
15.10Billy Smart’s Christmas Circus
16.10Film: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Classic fantasy adventure starring Judy Garland.
17.50Basil Through the Looking Glass
18.20Evening News
18.25Songs of Praise Special
19.15Bruce Forsyth and The Generation Game
20.20Mike Yarwood Christmas Show
20.55Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show
28 million people (half the population) tune in to Eric and Ernie with guests including Penelope Keith, Elton John and Arthur Lowe
22.00News
22.05Film: Funny Girl (1968)
Musical starring Barbra Streisand

BBC TWO
12.45Sing All Ye Faithful
13.30News Review
14.15The World About Us
15.00Alpha Omega
15.10The Lively Arts – In Performance
16.40In Deepest Britain
17.10Celebration
17.40The Queen
17.50Storm Boy
19.15Thanks for the Memory
21.35Christmas Past
22.05Country Holiday
22.50News on 2
22.55Film: The Big Sleep (1946)
Classic film noir starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall

1979: Soviet forces invade Afghanistan. On the same day, Kevin Keegan wins the Ballon d’Or.

1987: Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975 and escaped from prison two days earlier, is recaptured.

1989: Deposed Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena are executed after being found guilty of crimes against the state.

1991: Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union, steps down from office.

1995: Singer/actor Dean Martin (Dino Crocetti) dies of throat cancer aged 78.

1998: Bryan MacLean, guitarist with Love and writer of their biggest hit Alone Again Or, dies of a heart attack aged 62 while having Christmas dinner with a young fan who was researching a book about the band.

2003: Scientists fail to make contact with the British-built probe Beagle 2, which should have landed on Mars earlier in the day.

2006: Soul legend James Brown dies aged 73 after being diagnosed with severe pneumonia. Brown went to his dentist in Atlanta the previous day who told him something was wrong, and sent him to a doctor immediately.

2008: Singer/actress Eartha Kitt dies from colon cancer aged 81.

2009: Singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt dies from an overdose of muscle relaxants that had left him in a coma.

2011: Mothers of Invention saxophonist Jim “Motorhead” Sherwood dies aged 69.

Singles chart:

  1. Wherever You Are – Military Wives/Gareth Malone
  2. Cannonball – Little Mix
  3. Dominick The Donkey – Lou Monte
  4. Forever Yours – Alex Day
  5. Paradise – Coldplay
  6. Dance With Me Tonight – Olly Murs
  7. Good Feeling – Flo Rida
  8. Dedication To My Ex (Miss That) – Lloyd ft Andre 3000/Lil Wayne
  9. Levels – Avicii
  10. We Found Love – Rihanna ft Calvin Harris

2016: Singer-songwriter George Michael (Georgios Panayiotou) dies at his home aged 53 from dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and a fatty liver. On the same day, percussionist Alphonse Mouzon dies from cancer aged 68.

2019: George Michael’s sister Melanie Panayiotou dies suddenly age 59 on the third anniversary of her brother’s death.

BIRTHDAYS: Pete Brown, lyricist, 81; Jairzinho (Jair Ventura Filho) Brazilian football legend, 77; Merry Clayton , singer, 73; Sissy (Mary Elizabeth) Spacek, actress, 72; Annie Lennox, singer-songwriter, 67; Robin Campbell, guitarist/singer (UB40) 67; Shane Magowan, singer-songwriter (The Pogues) 64; Chris Kamara, footballer/pundit, 64; Gary McAllister, footballer, 57; Helena Christensen, photographer/model, 53; Dido (Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O’Malley Armstrong) singer-songwriter, 50; Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada; 50 Marcus Trescothick, cricketer, 46; Armin van Buuren, DJ/record producer, 45; Sir Alastair Cook, cricketer, 37; Georgia Tennant ( Moffett), actress, 37; Jorgie Porter, actress, 34.

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