Wednesday 19 August 1998
Deaths: Augustus, first Roman emperor, 14; Frans Snyders, animal painter 1657; Blaise Pascal, theologian and mathematician, 1662; James Watt, engineer, 1819; George Smith, Assyriologist, decipherer of cuneiform scripts, 1876; Richard Burdon Haldane, first Viscount Haldane, statesman, 1928; Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev, ballet director and choreographer, 1929; Sir Nigel Ross Playfair, actor and manager, 1934; Federico Garca Lorca, poet and playwright, 1936; Sir Henry Joseph Wood, conductor, 1944; Subhas Chandra Bose, Indian nationalist, 1945; Julius ("Groucho") Marx, comedian, 1977; Hermione Baddeley, actress, 1986; Sir Frederick Ashton, choreographer, 1988.
On this day: France and Spain formed an alliance against Britain, 1796; a plebiscite held in Germany gave sole power to the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, 1934; the raid on Dieppe by British and Canadian commandos took place, 1942; Lt-Gen Bernard Montgomery became commander of the British Eighth Army in North Africa, 1942; Michael Ryan, a 27-year-old marksman, went on a rampage, killing 14 people in Hungerford, Berkshire, and finally himself, 1987; the Soviet news agency Tass announced that the vice-president, Gennady Yanayev, had taken over the presidency of the Soviet Union "because of the ill-health of Mikhail Gorbachev", 1991; a state of emergency was declared and troops surrounded important buildings, including the Russian parliament building in Moscow, 1991.
Today is the Feast Day of Saints Agapius and Timothy, St Andrew the Tribune, St Bertulf of Bobbio, St Credan of Evesham, St John Eudes, St Louis of Anjou, St Mocha, St Sebald, St Sixtus III and St Thecla.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
Best underrated Christmas movies from Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga