Animal rights activists fire-bomb department stores across the UK.



On this day in 1988, a number of incendiary devices were set off across the UK in an attack on large department stores.

The attacks and subsequent fires caused damage to Dingles in Plymouth, Howell’s in Cardiff, Rackham’s in Birmingham as well as Selfridges and Harrod’s in London.

A newspaper in Manchester would receive a call claiming responsibility for all of the attacks, naming themselves as members of the ‘Animal Liberation Front’.

Two bombs outside Rackham’s and House of Fraiser were diffused before they could cause any damage.

No injuries were sustained during the night-time explosions, but all of the stores in question (with the exception of Selfridges) belonged to the Al-Fayed brothers.


Bobby Darin dies.

Bobby Darin

Bobby Darin

20th December 1973 saw the untimely death of musician and actor Bobby Darin.

Best known for his rendition of ‘Mack the Knife’, Darin also won a Golden Globe for his role in 1962’s ‘Come September’ as well as being nominated for a Best Supporting Actor’s Academy Award for his part in ‘Captain Newman M.D.’.

As a child, he often suffered from rheumatic fever which led to a severely weakened heart. Numerous open heart surgeries would finally take their toll as he passed away during the recovery process of his final operation.

His body was donated to medical science, as was his wish. There was no funeral held.

See Bobby Darin sing his most renowned tune ‘Mack The Knife’ here:

Elvis Presley called up to active service.

Elvis Presley Drafted

Elvis Presley Drafted

57 years ago, on 19th December, 1956, much like thousands of others, Elvis Aaron Presley was given his marching orders and told he was required to serve his country.

The mega-star, at the height of his career, experienced a fierce battle between his record company and the government, who attempted to thrash out a deal that would see him take part in ‘Special Service’.

Taking matters into his own hands, ‘The King’ signed himself up as a regular soldier (No. 40-86-35-16.). It was announced on 4th January, 1954 – the date of his 22nd birthday – that he would be fully drafted later that year as a category 1A soldier.’s_Army_career – (Wikipedia)

LoTR: Fellowship of the Ring first released.

Lord of The Rings - The Fellowship of The Ring (2001)

Lord of The Rings – The Fellowship of The Ring (2001)

Twelve years ago today, the first instalment of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy was released. ‘The Fellowship of The Ring’ would make over $47 million on its opening weekend.

Director Peter Jackson and his team would go on to rake-in over $281 million with the releases of ‘The Two Towers’ (2002) and ‘The Return of The King’ (2003).

J.R.R Tolkein’s original series of epic fantasy books were a worldwide smash and have been followed more recently by prequel title ‘The Hobbit’, also turned into a trilogy by New Zealander Jackson.

Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ turns 170.

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

December 19th, 2013 marks the 170th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. The novella was originally released in serialisation by publishing house Chapman & Hall.

The iconic story tells the tale of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and his subsequent transformation following the visit of three ghosts; Christmas past, present and future.

Scrooge’s festive lesson has been adapted numerous times, perhaps most famously by Jim Henson’s ‘The Muppets’. Released to cinemas in 1992, Michael Caine plays the main character, with various other roles filled by Kermit and chums.

Other film adaptations have seen Billy Murray, Tim Curry and even Disney’s Scrooge McDuck playing the key role.


Happy Birthday, Simon Bates.

Simon Bates

Simon Bates

Happy 66th Birthday to the one and only Simon Bates.

Birmingham born-Bates has dedicated most of his life to the radio industry since initially working for stations in Australia and New Zealand as a teenager.

He returned to the UK in 1971, joining BBC Radio 4. Having worked for all five main BBC stations, Bates is probably most remembered for his successful stint presenting the mid-morning show up until 1993.

Having since worked for Gold and Classic FM, Simon now presents the Breakfast Show on Smooth Radio from 6am-10am.

Happy Birthday, Simon!

Follow Simon and Smooth Breakfast on Twitter: @smoothbreakfast

Human Rights Day


December 10th marks the UN Human Rights Day. The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.

The 2013 Theme is ’20 Years Working for Your Rights’, marking two decades since its establishment. The 2013 United Nations Human Rights Prize will be awarded at an event at UN Headquarters in New York on 10 December 2013, as part of the annual commemoration of Human Rights Day.

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