1995: how was it for you? Celebrities and news-makers look back over a year which has had its moments of triumph and disaster for us all


Virginia Hill, 'Daily Star' journalist and co-author of Anne Marie West's book 'Out of the Shadows': '95 was hectically busy and with Rosemary West's trial, things hotted up considerably. Winchester was like living in an open prison - you knew everybody in it but you couldn't go outside in case you missed something. I had to combine covering the trial for the newspaper, with writing the book and making a TV documentary with Anne Marie. I have had less sleep this year than I ever had and seen less of my friends. I've been through a few boyfriends who thought it wasn't worth hanging around because I was never there, and I missed my brother's wedding because he got married on the day the first verdicts came through. It's been a very emotional year because, obviously, Anne Marie's had her ups and downs and I've lived them too. I've also had nightmares - the night after Fred West killed himself, I dreamt I was his barrister and that I was in his cell and couldn't get out. ..FEBRUARY JILL PHIPPS, ANIMAL RIGHTS PROTESTER, DIES UNDER THE WHEELS OF A TRUCK CARRYING CALVES TO EUROPE

Her mother, Nancy Phipps: It's been the the worst year of my life. I grieve so much for Jill. I was told by the Canon of Coventry Cathedral that it does get better - he lost a son - but it's early days. At least Jill hasn't died in vain - she lit a candle that seems to have gone all over the world. I have talked on television, I've been to Italy to talk about the export of live animals and met members of parliament there, and I've had hundreds of letters from people saying that they are going to fight on for Jill. :MARCH VANESSA FELTZ, TELEVISION PRESENTER

It's been hell. My mother died of brutal cancer which polished her off in 10 weeks. She was 57 and beautiful and did not want to die. Now I am a member of the dead parent society, which is the horriblest thing ever, and at parties, when other people are boogeying down to "Come on Eileen", I'm sitting at tables with the children of other dead parents saying "cancer", "biopsy", "coffin", "grave", "death". I've been thrust into face-to-face combat with my own mortality which I'd hoped to postpone. I wanted to be 75 and my mother 95 and for us to be going round Brent Cross together in search of the perfect white cardigan. That's what I'd hoped for and I haven't got it. THE MONTH OF THE SEX SCANDALS

In March Rupert Pennant-Rea resigned as DG of the Bank of England after his mistress spilled the beans about their affair. In April Richard Spring, Tory MP resigns his post over a three- in-a-bed romp. Also in March, Robert G Hughes Tory MP resigns from being a junior minister to save his marriage after an affair.

Robert G Hughes: That one traumatic event has dominated things, but what's been very pleasing is to have the support of my family and to have retained my marriage, and also to have had the support of my constituency party who recently voted to reselect me. Was resigning the right decision? I suppose when our fourth child is born in March we will regard that as being the case. JET OF GLADIATORS, AKA DIANA YOUDALE, TELEVISION PRESENTER

It's been fabulous, a real breakthrough year. I am career-minded and I've been in TV and theatre since I was 14. Since the Gladiator break in 1992 I've always been frustrated by the fact that I am known as Jet the Gladiator. 1995 was quite monumental because the guy who originally cast me as Jet had taken note of all my other work from previous years, and offered me a break as Diane Youdale co-presenting You Bet. So I'm thrilled to be getting my real name out there as well as the Jet character. I also met a wonderful man this year, which I am very happy about, because as a career lady in the Nineties it's terribly difficult to meet people. APRIL FIRST INDICATIONS OF CONTENTS OF NOLAN REPORT ON STANDARDS IN PUBLIC LIFE Lord Nolan: It's been exciting, but at times worrying, because I was concerned that we might not get the report out on time and I wanted to make sure that we did get it right. The first of the high points of the year came when we posted the unanimous report to the printers just before Easter. Then of course we were delighted when our recommendations were accepted by the Government entirely, and by the House of Commons almost entirely. A high point on the personal side was my daughter Annie's wedding on 21 October which went off marvellously. 1996 will be much quieter; I will return to the decent obscurity of being a law lord. JENNIFER EHLE, ACTRESS

It was a pretty amazing year. The success of Pride and Prejudice was a joy. It is obviously a wonderful story, but I don't think we were ever arrogant enough to assume that we would have captured the tiniest bit of that magic stuff the book has. People assume that I am now being offered lots of things, but as far as I know I haven't been offered anything at all. After I did Camomile Lawn I didn't get a job for about a year and a half - these things take time. I'm please because I fulfilled my resolutions for '95 which were to quit smoking and get fit. I haven't quite managed "make my bed and wash the dishes" so I'm moving that to '96. JUNE THE PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS ANDJOHN REDWOOD CHALLENGES HIS LEADERSHIP John Redwood : I had a great '95. I hadn't been planning to challenge the Prime Minister. It only occurred because he resigned and said he wanted a public debate and no one else was forthcoming. I thought it important there was a public debate and someone from the Cabinet should argue the case. I decided to argue in public what I'd been arguing in private for a long time - about tax levels, spending levels, attitude towards Europe and so forth. Once I lost, I had to help unite and stabilise the party so I made an immediate statement supporting the Prime Minister, and explained to my supporters that the issue of leadership was settled and the my life just took off - it became a whirlwind! My hope for '96 is that the Conservative government will adopt good Conservative principles and make itself more popular as a result. MAY REBECCA STEPHENS, MOUNTAINEER

Every year seems to be busier than the last and 1995 was no exception. Completing the Seven Summits [the highest mountain in each Continent] at the end of 1994 resulted in my receiving more invitations to lecture about Everest and other expeditions. I found working on a series of programmes for Tomorrow's World extremely invigorating and learned a great deal. There were numerous articles and reports to write and I am toying with several book ideas. Perhaps in 1996 I will have some more time to myself, but somehow I doubt it. People say the world is getting smaller as it becomes easier to travel, but there are still so many places I want to visit and explore. I'm off sailing to the Antarctic for starters. CAROL VORDERMAN SACKED FROM TOMORROW'S WORLD BY THE BBC FOR APPEARING IN ARIEL ADS - THEN ASKED TO RETURN

Carol Vorderman: I am happier this year than I was last because I am not as busy: I was daft before and working nine days a week - now I work five or six. I even managed a summer holiday after I left Tomorrow's World. The BBC allowed people on other programmes to do commercials and I thought it was hypo critical so I stood up for myself and left. I felt vindicated when they asked me back to present the new series in September, but we had a couple of meetings and there was the same old problem so I thought it better not to do it. People always think: "She's not doing that programme, so what's she doing?" The fact is Countdown has been Channel 4's biggest programme for years, and has twice the ratings of Tomorrow's World and so does How 2, so it's one of those ridiculous situations where everybody has a higher perception of something than I do. ANTHEA TURNER, GMTV & NATIONAL LOTTERY PRESENTER.

1995 will be remembered as the year of hard work. I get up at a quarter to four and after GMTV I have to answer letters, go to meetings and work on the next day's programmes. I don't close down until seven or eight and then it's time for bed. So they are very long days, and I work six days a week because of my Saturday job - the Lottery. On a personal level, it's been the year that I've laid the foundations of my new house in West London. Peter[Powell] and I have been married for six years and we've always lived in the house he's had for the last 12 years. This is a house we've built from scratch, that says something about us and it's been very positive. I'm creating my bit of England and it's nice to have something to show for all that hard work. JULY HUGH GRANT IS CAUGHT WITH A PROSTITUTE. LIZ HURLEY COMES UP SMELLING OF ROSES AND IS MORE POPULAR THAN EVER.

Liz Hurley lookalike Annie Cooper: Life got a lot better three months ago - you wouldn't believe the work I'm getting. Warner Brothers have just made a newsreel of me - they took me to restaurants, to Trafalgar Square and to a club where people were queuing up to get my autograph. Being Liz Hurley's lookalike is well paid and has opened a lot of doors. Liz and I are not identical - I'm younger than she is, and she's bit snootier than I am. I've got a Manchester accent and people told me to have elecution lessons. I went once and thought: "Oh God, I'm not doing this - I like the way I speak." You have to draw the line somewhere. GAYLE TUESDAY, PAGE THREE STUNNER, AKA ACTRESS AND COMEDIENNE BRENDA GILHOOLY

Politically, I think Robbie leaving Take That this year was a big upheaval for us all, but it has been a good year for me personally. My topless work has helped bring peace and inspiration around the world along with my astrology consultations, image consultancy and pet care. I wouldn't want to take Princess Di's glory as Queen of Hearts, but I do feel strongly that I bring happiness to the sad and lonely, mainly older gentleman. I'm sort of Queen of Lungs, really. The Pope is thinking of making me a Saint, along with Liz Hurley (I had a private audience with him as well) and I'm excited about that 'cos with a title I'll get much more respect and more clout with the record companies. My wishes for 1996 are no more war, death or disease and that the increasing popularity of the step class continues. AUGUST MICHAEL VERMEULEN, EDITOR OF GQ, DIES.

Angus MacKinnon, his former deputy and now the new editor of the magazine: A year of extremes: extreme sadness over the death of my editor, extreme happiness at getting married - actually three weeks after Michael died - and extreme pride in getting the job as editor at GQ. I thought Michael might have a heart attack - but not for another 20 years. He drank too much, ate too much, never took any exercise and led the high pressure life of an editor. You fear the worst but you never actually think it will happen. On a late summer bank holiday when my wife-to-be and I were about to go for a walk by the river, the phone rang and it was Nicholas Coleridge saying: "I have bad news, Michael is dead," and life was very different. IAN BROUDIE, THE LIGHTNING SEEDS

Careerwise it's been really good. We started playing live just before 1995 and it was all a bit tentative and "let's see how it goes" but it's been brilliant. The height of the year was in the summer when we played the Shepherd's Bush Empire, the Academy in Manchester and then Glastonbury - I really loved those gigs. We had four singles out this year and they've all done great and the album came out and started kicking. Personally this year's been good too. I've got a little boy called Riley and he's nearly five and just discovering everything. When I've had spare time I've taken him to the park and we've played football and it's been good fun. OCTOBER ASTROLOGER PATRIC WALKER DIES

Shelley von Strunckel, friend and fellow astrologer, inherits his mantle and now writes the stars for the 'Evening Standard', a column which is syndicated worldwide. Shelley von Strunckel : This year has been a time of transformation for me and for my field. While Patric's death was a profound loss it led to media interest in astrology as a legitimate field. The mantle has been passed to me which means that I am the first person the press comes to for a quote on the subject. Because I was already doing a daily column my workload hasn't increased because the column goes worldwide now and reaches publications which range from the TV Guide in America to papers in Fiji.


Having tested positive for the banned drug testosterone at the Commonwealth Games in 1994, Diane Modahl was cleared on appeal by the British Athletic Federation this year. She awaits a decision by the international arbitration panel.

Diane Modahl, athlete: I've gone through many stages in 1995. I was at my lowest during the build up to the appeal in July. I wrote a letter to my husband Vicente explaining that I didn't want to go on and, on one occasion, he had to take a knife out of my hand. On another I'd taken all the tablets out of our first aid box and scattered them around the bed. My faith saved me. I was pregnant at the time, and I started to think about how unfair I was being to Vicente and the baby. One of the lighter moments was when our baby was born on 8 October. It was a thrilling experience. Her name is Imani which means "hope" in Swahili, and represents everything we have hung on to during the case. In 1996 I'd like to be rid of the inner torment which I experience every day because of the case. As for the Olympics - I can't see Atlanta on the calendar. I am sure I would never turn down the opportunity to go, but the burning ambition isn't there any longer.


Alan Howarth MP: The low point politically for me this year was the debate on poverty and unemployment in the House of Commons on 14 February, when the Government denied the findings even of its own research showing the poor getting poorer while the rich got richer, and organised backbenchers to rubbish the arguments from the other side. My high point was taking the decision to cut free of all that and join Labour. LARRY KRAMER, PLAYWRIGHT, WRITER, AND AIDS ACTIVIST.

It was a wonderful year personally and an exceedingly promising year in terms of progress on Aids treatments. Personally, I have cemented a relationship with someone that I've been in love with for many years and I got a trip to London to promote my book. There are some very exciting new Aids drugs, most particularly 3TC and the protease inhibitors, but most exciting is the news that scientists have discovered that the body itself may have chemicals within it that fight off Aids naturally. It may lead to the definitive cure and a vaccine. SEPTEMBER FRANK BRUNO CLINCHES WBC HEAVYWEIGHT CROWN

Frank Bruno: '95 has been a great year for me. At the beginning of the year I said I wanted to father a son and become the world heavyweight champion and I have achieved both. LILY SAVAGE, COMEDIAN AND TELEVISION PRESENTER

It was smashing. Everything that could have happened to me happened. I did two television series, started the Big Breakfast, and went into the West End with Prisoner Cell Block H. I had tabloid exposure, moved house and got a dog. I was also 40 this year and I love it - so would- be forties have got nothing to worry about. The only bad thing about 1995 is that my love life has been lousy - there hasn't been a shag in the house.


There's been quite a lot of change at the Big Issue and for me 1995 has been a period of an excessive amount of work and a few pints along the way. We've developed a larger publishing unit and created something called "Making It" which sells candles to Liberty's, The Body Shop and the Labour Party. Increasingly I meet people who know who I am, so I think the Big Issue has become very big in people's minds - I am always being stopped on the bus or train because people want to tell me that we are a bunch of arseholes or the best thing since the invention of sliced bread! 1995 has also been a year of tragedy, as a number of vendors have died through bad health and bad habits. DAVID ICKE, AUTHOR AND MYSTIC.

It's been a turning-of-the-tide year. More and more people have taken the trouble to find out what I'm actually saying as opposed to what they are told I'm saying. I don't preach, I just put information in the public arena that doesn't normally get there. Not least who is actually controlling the world rather than who appears to be. This year I published a book called And the Truth Shall Set You Free which has been described as the most explosive book of the 20th century - and it is. I had to publish it myself because once publishers saw the manuscript, the horizon was full of dust and disappearing backsides! We sold the first print run in less than a month and we are into the second one already. In the book I reveal some interesting anomalies on what people say in public and what they do in private. People like Norman Lamont who, in the public arena, are vehemently against centralisation of Europe actually attend meetings of something called the Bilderberg Group which has been manipulating the centralisation of Europe since 1954. So in 1995 the process of lifting the veil has moved on dramatically and in 1996 the whole lot's going to come out. REPORTS APPEAR THAT THE RODDICKS WANT TO BUY BACK THE BODY SHOP

Gordon Roddick: It's been a good year in which we've been preparing for international growth by changing our structures and bringing in new people. It was reported in the press that we were considering buying our shares back off the company, and unfortunately under the rules of a takeover panel I'm still not allowed to say what's happening. 1995 has been my first year as a grandfather. My little granddaughter Maiya is so sweet - I am in love over again! My two children are grumbling that I did not ever pay them as much attention. STUART BARNES, EX-ENGLAND RUGBY PLAYER AND WRITER

This year I've achieved just about everything I would like as an aspiring writer, and I've even started work on a book about horse racing - my real love. As a freelance you feel out on a limb, especially when you have just come out of the game, but this year has been prosperous in terms of work. I had a book published two months ago and took up another challenge to edit the magazine First XV. I was caught on one of these "You won't have to do more than one day a week and a couple of articles" - but it seems to take up about 50 hours a week! For a self-confessed lazy person it's all rather daunting and my wife and two children can't believe the transformation. It's sort of Superman in reverse. I go into a booth and come out with a pen. NICK LEESON IS SENTENCED

His solicitor, Stephen Pollard: It has been a stressful time, but professionally satisfying. This time last year I didn't expect to become almost public property in terms of media coverage. It's been a pleasure to act for clients - and in that I include Mrs Leeson and her parents - who I could feel whole-hearted in representing. They are super people and that is part and parcel of why it's all so stressful, because if you really care about the effect of something on people then if it doesn't go as you hope it's a lot more emotionally tiring. This year has not been ideal on a personal basis because my wife had a baby girl in July who I have not seen a lot of. My wife has been valiantly coping with everything on her own.