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On this day: August 8

Today’s birthdays

Rod Laver, former Wimbledon tennis champion, 80

Sam Elliott, actor, 74

James Naughtie, broadcaster, 67

Melanie Griffith, actress, 61

Gillian Anderson (pictured), actress, 50

Eric Bana, actor, 50

Mikael Silvestre, former footballer, 41

Daniela Denby-Ashe, actress, 40

It happened today…

1593: Izaak Walton, the “father of angling” – he wrote The Compleat Angler – was born in Stafford.

1721: Prisoners in Newgate Gaol were offered a pardon if they agreed to be inoculated against small pox – to test Dr Charles Maitland’s theories on the subject. Seven men volunteered – and all survived to live in freedom.

1870: The Elementary Education Act was passed, giving compulsory free education to every child in England and Wales between the age of five and 13.

1902: Edward VII was crowned. The Coronation, set for June 26, had been postponed because he had an emergency appendectomy.

1941: RAF fighter pilot Douglas Bader was shot down and seized by German troops, who were surprised to discover his apparently fractured legs were both artificial.

1945: The second atomic bomb of the war was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.

1963: Ready Steady Go! was first transmitted by ITV to rival the BBC’s Top Of The Pops – presenter Cathy McGowan became known as “Queen of the Mods”.

1967: English playwright Joe Orton was battered to death by his male lover who then committed suicide.

1969: The bodies of actress Sharon Tate, eight months pregnant, and four others were found butchered at a Beverly Hills mansion. Members of a commune known as The Family led by Charles Manson were later arrested, tried and jailed.

1979: Brighton established the first nudist beach in Britain, despite protests from those who feared great depravity.

2010: British adventurer Ed Stafford became the first person to walk the entire length of the Amazon after a gruelling 4,000-mile trek lasting nearly two-and-a-half years.

Quote of the day

‘The BBC say we need more working-class comedies, which is rubbish. We need funny comedies; it doesn’t matter where they come from’ Actress June Whitfield​ (pictured)

Thought for the day

‘I’ve had to learn to fight all my life – got to learn to keep smiling. If you smile things will work out’ — Tennis player Serena Williams (pictured)