It happened today – this day in history – October 31

1396: 31-year old Richard II weds Isabella of Valois, aged six – yes 6 – in a dynastic marriage.

1517: Martin Luther sends his 95 Theses to Albrecht von Brandenburg, the Archbishop of Mainz, precipitating the Protestant Reformation.

1541: Michelangelo finishes painting “The Last Judgement” in the Sistine Chapel.

1632: Birth of artist Jan Vermeer in Delft, The Netherlands.

1724: George Frideric Handel’s opera “Tamerlano” premieres at the King’s Theatre, London.

1756: Giacomo Casanova escapes from prison in Venice by climbing onto the roof.

1795: Poet John Keats is born in London.

1815: Sir Humphry Davy patents the miner’s safety lamp.

1863: The Maori Wars resume as British forces in New Zealand led by General Duncan Cameron begin their Invasion of the Waikato.

1887: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol” premieres in St Petersburg.

1906: George Bernard Shaw’s “Caesar & Cleopatra” premieres in New York.

1914: Britain and France declare war on Turkey.

1917: Eugene O’Neill’s “In the Zone” premieres in New York.

1918: Spanish flu kills 21,000 people in the US in a single week.

1925: Cossack officer Reza Chan replaces sultan Ahmad as Shah of Persia.

1926: Failed assassination attempt on Benito Mussolini by 15-year-old Anteo Zamboni, who is lynched on the spot. On the same day, escapologist Harry Houdini (Erich Weisz) dies in Detroit of gangrene and peritonitis that developed from a ruptured appendix.

1937: The Spanish government moves from Valencia to Barcelona.

1940: The Battle of Britain ends.

1941: The Mount Rushmore monument is completed in South Dakota.

1952: Pianist Johnnie Johnson hired 26 year old Charles Berry as a guitarist in his band.

1955: Princess Margaret calls off her plans to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend.

1959: The Quarry Men decided to change their name to Johnny and the Moondogs.

1963: FBI chief J Edgar Hoover has his final meeting with President John F Kennedy.

1964: Ray Charles was arrested at Logan Airport in Boston and charged with possession of heroin. On the same day, the Windmill Theatre closes in London.

1968: US President Lyndon B Johnson orders a halt to all bombing of North Vietnam.


1971: An IRA bomb explodes in the Post Office tower causing extensive damage but no injuries.

1972: Two Catholic children aged six and four playing on the street are killed in a Ulster Freedom Fighters car bomb attack on a bar in Ship Street, Belfast.

1973: Three Provisional IRA volunteers escape from Mountjoy Prison in Dublin using a hijacked helicopter.

1976: Singles chart:

  1. Mississippi – Pussycat
  2. If You Leave Me Now – Chicago
  3. When Forever Has Gone – Demis Roussos
  4. Hurt – The Manhattans
  5. Don’t Take Away The Music – Tavares
  6. Howzat – Sherbet
  7. Summer Of My Life – Simon May
  8. Dancing With The Captain – Paul Nicholas
  9. Sailing – Rod Stewart
  10. Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry
1976: Peter Frampton – Frampton Comes Alive

Album chart:

  1. Soul Motion – Various Artists
  2. Songs In The Key Of Life – Stevie Wonder
  3. The Story Of The Who – The Who
  4. Greatest Hits – ABBA
  5. The Song Remains The Same – Led Zeppelin
  6. His 20 Greatest Hits – Gene Pitney
  7. 22 Golden Guitar Greats – Bert Weedon
  8. Best Of The Stylistics Vol 2 – The Stylistics
  9. Frampton Comes Alive – Peter Frampton
  10. L – Steve Hillage

1980: Julian Nott sets world hot-air balloon altitude record (16,806m).

1981: TV on this day (Saturday)


08.35Sesame Street

09.35Joe 90



12.15World of Sport
Introduced by Dickie Davies

17.05Worzel Gummidge

17.35ITN News

17.40The Pyramid Game

18.10Game for a Laugh
Hosted by Jeremy Beadle, Henry Kelly, Sarah Kennedy and Matthew Kelly



20.4The Stanley Baxter Series

21.10ITN News and Sport

21.25Hard Contact

23.20Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show


09.05Better Badminton

09.30Swap Shop


17.10Kung Fu
Series staring David Carradine


18.10Sport/Regional News

18.15Larry Grayson’s Generation Game

19.10Juliet Bravo
Police drama

20.00Mike Yarwood in Persons

20.30Flamingo Road

21.20News and Sport

Michael Parkinson welcomes guests Dave Allen and Toyah Wilcox

22.35Match of the Day
Jimmy Hill introduces highlooghts from two of the day’s top football matches

23.35House Calls


10.10Open University

15.10Saturday Cinema: The Ship that Died of Shame (1955)
Starring Richard Attenborough

16.40International Snooker

19.10News and Sport

19.25Did You See…?

20.00The Shogun Inheritance

20.40International Snooker

22.10Sutherland and Pavarotti in Recital

23.30News on 2

23.35International Snooker

1982: Pope John Paul II becomes the first pontiff to visit Spain.

1984: Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, is assassinated by two of her bodyguards. She is succeeded by her son Rajiv.

1986: Roger Waters went to the high court to try and stop former bandmates David Gilmour and Nick Mason from using the name Pink Floyd.

1990: UK DJ Roger Scott died of cancer aged 46.

1993: Film director Federico Fellini dies from a stroke aged 73. On the same day, actor River Phoenix dies of a drug overdose after collapsing outside Johnny Depp’s club The Viper room in LA.

1996: Slash announced he was no longer in Guns N’ Roses.

1997: A Boston jury finds British au pair Louise Woodward, 19, guilty of the second degree murder of eight-month old Matthew Eappen.

1999: McLaren driver Mika Häkkinen wins the season ending Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka to clinch his second straight Formula 1 World Drivers Championship.

2003: Asia’s longest-serving leader, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed, steps down after 22 years.

2005: The white suit worn by John Lennon on the cover of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album sold for $118,000 (£66,385) at an auction in Las Vegas.

2006: P W Botha, former president of South Africa, dies aged 90.

2011: Kim Kardashian divorces basketball player Kris Humphries due to irreconcilable differences only 72 days after getting married.

2015: New Zealand defeats Australia, 34-17 at Twickenham to win the Rugby World Cup.

2017: Takahiro Shiraishi is arrested in Zama, Japan, a day after nine dismembered bodies are found in his apartment.

2019: US House of Representatives votes to formalize impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. On the same day, Islamic State names Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi as its new leader.

BIRTHDAYS: Lee Grant (Lyova Haskell Rosenthal), actress, 95; Michael Collins, astronaut, 90; Dan Rather, journalist, 89; Tom Paxton, singer-songwriter, 83; Sally Kirkland, actress, 79; Stephen Rea, actor, 74; Russ Ballard, singer-songwriter (Argent) 73; Bob Siebenberg, drummer (Supertramp) 71; Larry Mullen Jr, drummer (U2) 59; Peter Jackson, director, 59; Johnny Marr, guitarist (The Smiths) 57; Mikkey Dee (Micael Kiriakos Delaoglou) drummer (Motorhead) 57; Dermot Mulroney, actor, 57; Rob Schneider, comedy actor, 57; Marco van Basten, Dutch soccer star, 56; Annabella Lwin, vocals, (Bow Wow Wow), 54; Adam Horovitz, rapper (The Beastie Boys) 54; Vanilla Ice (Robert van Winkle), rapper, 53; Alistair McErlaine, guitarist, (Texas) 52; Matt Dawson, rugby union star, 48; Monica and Gabriela Irimia, (Cheeky Girls), 38; Marcus Rashford MBE, footballer, 23.


Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]