On this day: Blue Peter broadcast for first time

On this day in 1958, Blue Peter was broadcast for the first time. Christopher Trace and Leila Williams presented
On this day in 1958, Blue Peter was broadcast for the first time. Christopher Trace and Leila Williams presented
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 16 October

1793: Marie Antoinette, Queen of France as wife of Louis XVI, was convicted of treason and guillotined in Paris.

1815: Napoleon Bonaparte arrived as an exile on the Atlantic island of St Helena.

1834: The Palace of Westminster was burned down; firemen saved Westminster Hall and St Stephen’s Chapel.

1859: American anti-slavery campaigner John Brown, who inspired the song John Brown’s Body, raided the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He was later hanged for the offence.

1869: Girton College, the oldest women’s college of Cambridge University, was opened.

1902: The first young offenders’ home opened in the village of Borstal, Kent.

1908: The first aeroplane flight in Britain took place, at Farnborough in Hampshire, by American Samuel Frank Cody.

1916: World’s first birth control clinic opened in Brooklyn, New York.

1922: The world’s longest main-line tunnel, the Simplon II under the Alps, was completed after four years’ work.

1942: Hurricane took 11,000 lives in Bengal, India.

1946: The Nuremberg executions took place. The war criminals hanged included Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Alfred Jodl, Ernst Kaltenbrunner and Wilhelm Keitel.

1949: Civil war ended in Greece.

1958: Blue Peter started on BBC television with presenters Leila Williams and Christopher Trace.

1964: Harold Wilson became Labour prime minister.

1964: China said it had tested its first nuclear bomb.

1978: Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope in conclave in Vatican, taking the name John Paul II and the first non-Italian Pope since 1522.

1994: A biography of the Prince of Wales by broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby said he was forced into a loveless marriage by the Duke of Edinburgh. The Prince described life at Gordonstoun school as “absolute hell”.

1997: The government announced it would ban high-calibre handguns and semi-automatic weapons after Lord Cullen’s report into the Dunblane massacre in which 16 children and a teacher died.

2009: Three suicide bombers attacked a police station in north-west Pakistan and killed 13 people.


Dame Angela Lansbury DBE, actress, 89; Tim Robbins, actor, 56; Peter Bowles, actor, 78; Michael ‘Flea’ Balzary, bassist (Red Hot Chili Peppers), 52; Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, MP 1983-97, secretary of state for Scotland 1995-7, 60; Günter Grass, German novelist and poet, 87; Terry Griffiths OBE, snooker player and commentator, 67; Gary Kemp, actor and musician (Spandau Ballet), 55; Davina McCall, television presenter, 47; John and Edward Grimes, singing twins – “Jedward”, 23; Shayne Ward, singer, 30; Bob Weir, singer-songwriter (The Grateful Dead), 67; Paulo Roberto Falcão, Brazilian head coach and former footballer, 61; Fred Turner, musician, 71.


Births: 1430 King James II of Scotland; 1803 Robert Stephenson, civil engineer; 1854 Oscar Wilde, playwright; 1863 Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain KG, statesman and recipient of Nobel peace prize; 1923 Bill McLaren CBE, rugby commentator.

Deaths: 1774 Robert Fergusson, poet;1946 Joachim von Ribbentrop, foreign minister of Nazi Germany, hanged as a war criminal; 2007 Deborah Kerr, Helensburgh-born actress.