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The week that was; Three stars were born, the first heart transplant took place, and a nuclear weapons treaty was signed.


8 DECEMBER Oliver Postgate, creator of classic children's TV, died. His productions with Peter Firmin included Ivor The Engine, Noggin The Nog, the Clangers and Bagpuss, which was voted the best children's TV show of all time in 1999. A conscientious objector during WW2, he was sentenced to prison and saw out the war in occupied Germany, working for the Red Cross.

1967 3 DECEMBER The first heart transplant took place. Professor Christiaan Barnard performed the operation on Louis Washkansky, 54, in South Africa. He lived for 18 days afterwards, before dying of pneumonia, but his new heart continued to beat throughout. The donor was a young woman called Denise Darvall, who had suffered severe brain damage after a car accident. Her father gave permission to donate her organs for the nine-hour operation.

1981 r ed e 2 DECEMBER Britney Spears was born. She's been famous for most of her life, starting as a Mouseketeer in The Mickey Mouse Club aged eight, then releasing Baby One More Time when she was just 18. Singles like Oops! I Did It Again, Toxic and Womaniser followed, then two sons and a couple of marriages. Her public meltdown occurred a decade ago, when she was pictured shaving her head after going into drugs rehab. Britney, 36 this week, finishes a long residency in Las Vegas at the end of the month and starts a world tour in the new year.

ng y, as d d our 1934 9 DECEMBER Judi Dench was born. Our great Dame celebrates her 83rd birthday this week. While she's been regarded as a peerless stage actress for years, some of her greatest work has been on film. She's played Queen Victoria twice, and James Bond's boss M seven times. She recently collaborated with London rapper Lethal Bizzle when he launched his clothing line. He coined the term 'dench' after her, meaning 'nice' or 'brilliant'.

1916 9 DECEMBER Kirk Douglas was born. Happy 101st birthday to the American actor, producer, director and author born Issur Danielovitch Demsky. His cleft chin and steely-eyed gaze made him a memorable hero in movies like Champion, Lust For Life, Paths Of Glory and, of course, Spartacus.

He has written 10 novels, been nominated for three Oscars and is the father of Michael Douglas.

1987 8 DECEMBER Reagan and Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty. After long discussions, brokered by our then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the leaders of the US and Russia agreed to reduce the size of their nuclear weapons arsenal. They sat next to each other at a desk in Washington and even exchanged pens afterwards. For most of the 30 years since, both sides kept up the deal, but in recent years America has accused Russia of deploying a previously banned missile, which the Russians deny. Can you imagine Trump and Putin doing something similar? 1872 4 DECEMBER The Mary Celeste was found abandoned in the Atlantic Ocean. Between the Azores and Portugal, a ship laden with provisions was discovered, but the crew had completely vanished. The captain's cabin was untouched, and the crew had left their pies and tobacco. It was assumed they left in a huge hurry - but why? To this day, nobody knows.


Gorbachev and Reagan

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Dec 3, 2017
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