Thursday 17 December 1992
Deaths: Pope Gregory VIII, 1187; Sir William Gascoigne, Lord Chief Justice, 1413; Thomas Guy, bookseller and philanthropist, 1724; Simon Bolivar, South American patriot, 1830; Kaspar Hauser, the foundling 'wild boy' of Nuremberg, 1833; Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort, hydrographer, 1857; Lewis Henry Morgan, anthropologist and lawyer, 1881; Louis-Marie-Alphonse Daudet, novelist, 1897; Baron Ferdinand James de Rothschild, banker, 1898; Bernard Quaritch, bookseller, 1899; William Thomson Kelvin, first Baron Kelvin, physicist, 1907; Leopold II, King of the Belgians, 1909; Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, physician, 1917; Peter Philip Heseltine Warlock, composer and editor, committed suicide 1930; Robert Malise Bowyer Nichols, poet, 1944; Sir Bernard Henry Spilsbury, pathologist, 1947; Harold Edward Holt, statesman, drowned 1967.
On this day: Drake's ship The Pelican (afterwards called The Golden Hind) sailed out of Plymouth on a round-the-world voyage, 1577; Simon Bolivar became president of Colombia, 1819; the Lyric Theatre opened, London 1888; the first radio message was sent across the Atlantic, 1902; the Wright brothers made their first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, 1903; Britain proclaimed a protectorate over Egypt, 1914; King George II was deposed after a rebellion by the Greek army, 1923; Mussolini denounced the Franco-Italian agreement of 1935, 1938; the battleship Graf Spee was scuttled near Montevideo, after the Battle of the River Plate, 1939; President Roosevelt proposed 'Lease- Lend' for Britain, 1940; New York was snowed under by 27in of snow, 1947; petrol rationing was imposed in Britain due to the closing of the Suez Canal, 1956; Alec Rose arrived at Melbourne in his ketch Lively Lady after a solo voyage from Portsmouth of five months, 1967; Zulficar Ali Bhutto became prime minister of Pakistan, 1971; 31 people were killed when Arab guerrillas hijacked a West German airliner at Rome airport, 1973; the musical Hans Andersen was first produced, London 1974.
Today is the Feast Day of St Begga, St Lazarus, St Olympias, St Sturmi and St Wivina.
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
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