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On this day: December 17

Today’s birthdays

Tommy Steele, singer/actor, 82
Bernard Hill, Boys from the Blackstuff actor, 74
Simon Bates, radio DJ, 72
Paul Rodgers, rock singer, 69
Mike Mills, rock musician, formerly of REM, 60
Sara Dallin (pictured), Bananarama singer, 57
Paula Radcliffe, athlete, 45
Milla Jovovich, Resident Evil actress, 43
Pope Francis, 81
Manny Pacquiao, boxer and politician, 40
Stephen Frane (aka Dynamo), magician, 36
Hattie Hayridge, Red Dwarf actress and comedian, 59
Kay Burley, TV news presenter, 58

It happened today…

1778:Sir Humphry Davy, chemist and inventor of the miner’s safety lamp, was born in Penzance.

1849:Thomas and William Bowler, felt hat-makers, sold their first bowler.

1888: The Lyric Theatre, in Shaftesbury Avenue, London, opened.

1903: The Wright brothers made the first successful controlled flight in a powered aircraft at Kill Devil Hills, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (below).

1939: The German battleship Admiral Graf Spee was scuttled off Montevideo, Uruguay, after the Battle of the River Plate.

1973: More than 30 people died after Arab guerrillas hijacked a West German airliner at Rome Airport.

1983: An IRA car bomb killed three police and three Christmas shoppers, and injured scores of others, outside Harrods in London’s Knightsbridge.

1986: Mrs Davina Thompson created medical history when at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge she was given a new heart, lungs and liver.

Quote of the day

‘Women get told they lack “gravitas”. What that means is you are not male’ — Professor Alice Roberts (pictured), evolutionary biologist and anthropologist, TV presenter and president of Humanists UK

Thought for the day

‘In the past 30-odd years I have made more than £80million. When I left my ex-husband, I had $936 in my bank account. Never give up control of your money to your partner’ — Timely advice from ex-Spice Girl Melanie Brown