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Rewind To 1978

Read this year's headlines in our monthly calendar of events and discover snippets about everyday life with our FLASHBACK facts. It's time to go back to the Amoco Cadiz oil spill, the world's first test-tube baby, the Jonestown massacre and a murder by a poisoned-tipped umbrella. It's time to go back to... 1978.

Timeline '78 Close All

A defective nuclear-powered Soviet spy satellite falls back to earth and crashes in the Canadian outback
On ITV's World In Action opposition leader Margaret Thatcher says that British people fear "being swamped by people with a different culture"
The otter becomes a protected species in the UK
The Sex Pistols split after Johnny Rotten refuses to fly to Brazil for a publicity stunt with great train robber Ronnie Biggs
All Creatures Great And Small debuts on BBC1 starring Christopher Timothy as vet James Herriot
After the draw for the forthcoming World Cup Scotland fancy their chances – they are in Group IV with Holland, Peru and Iran
ELO release the irrepressible Mr Blue Sky

A typical LP costs about £4 in the Boots Record Department

A 45-day police search for eight-year-old runaway Lester Chapman ends when his body is found on a rubbish tip
For the first time in five years inflation dips below 10%
Anna Ford becomes the first woman to present the ITN news
"New Attack by Dr Death" (Daily Mirror) – police are hunting a serial conman who poses as a health official to drug and rob elderly people in their homes
Despite 340 million in circulation Britain faces a national shortage of 50p coins due to the popularity of slot machines
School drama Grange Hill debuts on BBC1
Bob Marley's Jamming is a Top 10 hit

Industrial action pushes the price of four-star petrol to 90p a gallon (or 20p per litre)

The body of Charlie Chaplain is stolen from his grave near Lake Geneva in Switzerland – his widow later receives a ransom demand of $600k for its return
Saturday Night Fever opens in UK cinemas spawning the No. 1 hit Night Fever by the Bee Gees
The Conservatives take Ilford North from Labour in a by-election win
Radio 4 broadcasts the sci-fi comedy The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Former Italian Premier Aldo Moro is kidnapped by left-wing militants in Rome
Wales win rugby's Five Nations with a grand slam
Stayin' Alive by disco maestros the Bee Gees reaches No. 4

You can buy woodchip wall coverings at 39p per roll at Texas Homecare

Tanker Amoco Cadiz runs aground off the coast of Brittany – over 1.5 million barrels of crude oil spill into the sea
In the US soap opera Dallas debuts on prime time CBS
Permanent radio broadcasts from the House of Commons begin
Israel wins the Eurovision Song Contest in Paris – British entry Bad Old Days by Co-Co finishes 11th
Panini sells millions of Football 78 sticker packs in the latest playground craze
Nottingham Forest sensationally win the league title the season after promotion to Division One
Gerry Rafferty's global smash hit Baker Street peaks at No. 3 in the UK

A colour TV license costs £21

After 54 days in captivity Italian statesman Aldo Moro is murdered
Personal Computer World is the UK's first computer magazine
The Yorkshire Ripper murders his 8th victim in Manchester
Dave Lee Travis succeeds Noel Edmonds as the host of Radio 1's Breakfast Show
Liverpool retain the European Cup by beating Club Brugge 1-0 at Wembley
The Incredible Hulk series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno premieres on ITV
Blondie's (I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear is a Top 10 hit

Top Of The Pops expands to a 40 minute show at 7:20pm every Thursday

An armed gang kill a security guard and rob £200k from a security van delivering wages to the Daily Mirror's offices in London
Scotland suffer a shock defeat to Peru in their opening World Cup game and are later eliminated – hosts Argentina beat Holland in the final
Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Evita opens at the Prince Edward Theatre in London
Naomi James is the first woman to sail solo around the world
The final episode of the popular sitcom The Good Life airs on BBC1
A forerunner to the Sinclair ZX computers the MK14 electronics kit is released
Reaching No. 3 Miss You becomes the Rolling Stones biggest hit in seven years

John Noakes and Peter Purvis leave children's TV show Blue Peter this year

Louise Brown is the world's first "test-tube baby" – a newspaper allegedly pays £300k for her mother's story
Bjorn Borg wins his third successive title at Wimbledon and Martina Navratilova her first
In Spain a gas tanker explodes – the resulting fireball burns everything within 300m including a nearby campsite where over 200 tourists die
Boney M are the first western pop group to play in Red Square Moscow
Jack Nicklaus wins his third and final British open golf championship at St Andrews
The Kenny Everett Video Show premieres on ITV – his first guests include Wings and ELO
Blue Oyster Cult's legendary (Don't Fear) The Reaper makes the Top 20

The average house price surges by nearly a third to £16,823

"Sodden Awful" (Daily Mirror) – wet weather plagues the UK with bookies offering odds of 3 to 1 to forecast the next two successive dry days
13-year-old Genette Tate vanishes while delivering newspapers in Devon – her disappearance is never explained and her body never recovered
"Grease Fever" grips Britain ahead of the musical’s release in UK cinemas next month
Argentinian World Cup star Ossie Ardiles makes his debut for Tottenham Hotspur
Former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe appears in court accused of a conspiring to murder former male model Norman Scott
The Commonwealth Games are held in Edmonton in Canada – both David Moorcroft and Brendon Foster win gold medals for England
Foreigner's Cold As Ice receives a cool reception peaking outside the Top 20

At the newsagent you can buy the Radio Times and TV Times for 13p each

Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov is fatally stabbed with a poison-tipped umbrella in London
Grease fills cinemas and will later edge ahead of Star Wars as the UK’s highest grossing movie
Newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater is shot dead at a farmhouse near Stourbridge – four men are later wrongly convicted of his murder
Steve Ovett wins 1500m gold at the European Athletics Championships in Prague
Who drummer Keith Moon dies of a drug overdose at the same Mayfair flat where Mama Cass died four years previously
Mario Andretti driving a Lotus wins the F1 Championship – no American has won it since
At No. 1 for one week is Dreadlock Holiday by 10CC

From the ad pages: "You’d enjoy sex more if you had a pair of plimsolls" (Health Education)

Sid Vicious is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen in New York
"Slaughter In Suburbia" (Daily Mirror) – a paranoid neighbour kills three members of a West Midlands family
After 10 years with BBC The Morecambe and Wise Show debuts on ITV
Arsenal defender David O’Leary pens a deal worth a basic £700 per week making him Britain's highest paid footballer
Pope John Paul II is the first non-Italian pontiff for almost 500 years
The animated classic Watership Down is released
The Jam release their career-making Down In The Tube Station At Midnight

The Ford Cortina overtakes its sibling the Escort to become the UK’s bestselling car

Striking workers at Ford reject a 16% pay increase shattering the government’s 5% pay policy
On Radio 1 Simon Bates presents the first-ever Top 40 Show (Sunday evenings)
An industrial dispute closes The Times newspaper for a year
Teen pop magazine Smash Hits launches – Blondie grace the cover and The Boomtown Rats are the centrespread poster
Viv Anderson makes his international debut and becomes England’s first black player
Cult leader Jim Jones coerces over 900 of his followers to commit suicide at his Jonestown compound in Guyana
New wave's first No. 1 is Rat Trap by The Boomtown Rats

A 22" colour TV costs £9.55 per month to rent at Radio Rentals

The minority Labour government survives a vote of confidence
"BBC Blacked Out" (Daily Mirror) – strikes shut down BBC1 and BBC2 television for two days
In Paris the Duchess of Windsor (Wallis Simpson) is being sued for wrongful dismissal after she sacked several long-serving employees
In Iran at least 30 people die when anti-Shah protestors are mown down by troops
ITV's Sale of the Century attracts over 21 million viewers on Christmas Eve to become the most watched TV show of the year
Steve Ovett wins BBC's Sports Personality of the Year
Blondie completes a quartet of hit singles this year with Hanging On The Telephone

Star Wars and Grease boost UK cinema attendance to 126M