The List

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RUDE GUESTS: Trojan horse; Penelope's persistent suitors after Ulysses has gone on his travels; Banquo's ghost; Judas at the Last Supper; the alien in John Hurt's stomach; wicked fairy at Sleeping Beauty's christening; Lancelot seducing Guinevere while guest of Arthur at Camelot; The Man Who Came to Dinner; Bertie Wooster (most places); the Campbells at Glencoe; Russians in Afghanistan; Zhirinovsky in Strasbourg threatening to bomb Europe; the press on the House of Commons terrace.

BAD HOSTS: Ulysses, arriving home and hacking Penelope's suitors to death; the Macbeths; Dennis Nielsen; the witch in the Gingerbread House; Abigail's mother; Commons Catering Committee

TODAY is the feast day of the Blessed James of Cerqueto who lived with the Hermits of St Augustine at Perugia in the 14th century. Like many hermit saints he had great power over animals. When he preached in the open air it is reported that the frogs would stop croaking so that his followers could hear his words.

1521: Martin Luther excommunicated by the Diet of Worms.

1790: Benjamin Franklin, above, co-author of the US Declaration of Independence, writer and scientist, died aged 84. He was born in Boston, one of 17 children and the 10th son of a soap and candle maker. His early career as a printer took him to London and back to Philadelphia where he became active in public service and journalism. He abandoned these to devote himself to science, inventing bi-focal spectacles, lightning conductors, and advancing the science of electricity. As war between the colonies and Britain became inevitable he became the chief spokesman for the colonial rebels, eventually helping to establish the US constitution, still the fundamental law of the USA.

1956: Premium Savings Bonds introduced in Britain.

1961: Attempted invasion of Cuba at Bay of Pigs.

BIRTHDAYS: Lindsay Anderson, film director, 71; Chris Barber, jazz musician, 64; Olivia Hussey, actress, 43.

DEATHS: John Curry, ice skater, aged 44; Bob Cryer, MP, aged 59.

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