2016 in Review

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget just what happened over the course of the year. From celebrity splits to political issues, often they become tomorrow’s chip papers and we’re on to the next headline before you can say ‘Brangelina’. But, as the year nears an end and we start thinking about 2017 and all it will bring (please, no more rail fare hikes – wishful thinking), it’s also a good time to reflect. And, what better to reflect on than the stories that shaped our year. Read this quickly though because you might need to go out and stock up on avocados…



 2016 is understood to be the ‘worst year for celebrity deaths’, with 82 stars dying between January and
April alone. David Bowie’s passing on January 10 shocked the world, and just a week later, beloved actor Alan Rickman passed away. By the end of January, we’d also lost Sir Terry Wogan. Sadly this year also saw the passing of music legend Prince, comedians Ronnie Corbett and Victoria Wood, world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali and actress Caroline Aherne, to name but a few. Here’s hoping 2017 will be a little bit cheerier!



In the biggest shock in the retail sector since the closure of Woolworths in 2008, in April this year it was announced that British Home Stores had entered administration. After no buyer was found, all 164 BHS stores had closed by the end of August, with 11,000 employees losing their jobs in the process. At the time of going to press, a battle with Philip Green to reclaim pensions was still ongoing. Thankfully, those still looking for a BHS fix are still able to do so, as the website was relaunched, selling homeware, lighting and fashion.



There aren’t many people a whole country would eat cake and throw parties for, but that’s exactly what happened when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II turned 90 this year. Windsor Castle held a four day celebration of the Queen’s life, using 900 horses and over 1,500 participants to highlight her achievements, while street parties and huge community events were held up and down the country and across the Commonwealth to commemorate her birthday.



Even the polls didn’t predict the outcome of the EU referendum, which took place on June 23. But, with 51.89% of those who voted choosing to leave the European Union, ‘Brexit’ became the issue everybody had an opinion on. The immediate reaction to the result saw David Cameron resign as Prime Minister, the pound slump to a 31 year low and consumer confidence take a dive. However, since then there have been signs of recovery in some sectors. Article 50 is due to be triggered in March 2017, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens next…



After the incredible efforts of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, some feared they might not be able to recreate their achievements again at the Rio Olympics this year, but those worries were quickly forgotten when the gold medals started rolling in. Rio 2016 became Team GB’s most successful Olympics ever, with them finishing second in the table and picking up 67 medals – two more than they received in 2012. We also broke some Olympic records along the way – now the wait begins to see how many accolades the team can rack up in 2020…



Seven series of soggy bottoms and star bakers came to an end when perhaps one of the most upsetting stories of 2016 broke – the news that iconic television show The Great British Bake Off was moving from the BBC, and in the process, losing judge Mary Berry and presenters Mel and Sue. Although it is due to continue on Channel 4 next year, will watching people bake cakes in a tent ever be quite as entertaining again?



While a celebrity split is no surprise, when one of Hollywood’s hottest couples – Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie suddenly announced they were to divorce, the world was shocked. The seemingly-perfect pair, who had been together for 12 years and have six children together became the focus of intense media speculation as everyone tried to work out exactly what had happened to cause the split. Jolie, who filed for the divorce citing ‘irreconcilable differences’ has sole custody of the children, and is said to have asked for ‘miscellaneous jewellery and other personal effects.’ We assume that’s the huge engagement ring taken care of, then!



After years of campaigning and waiting, Heathrow airport finally got the news it had been waiting for, when the government approved a third runway. However, the decision proved controversial, with Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith resigning in protest, and Boris Johnson calling the scheme “undeliverable.”
After a public consultation, the government will vote again next year, but it is thought that should plans be given the go-ahead, no work would begin until at least 2025.



When the news broke last year that there was to be a potential Prosecco shortage, panic mounted, but in equally devastating news, this year it was reported that avocados could soon become a luxury item. With droughts in areas where the fruit grows, and an increase in demand, we could soon be having to find something else to smash on toast with poached eggs.
In New Zealand, the shortage fuelled a crime wave, with major thefts taking place at avocado farms. Head to M&S now and stock up while you can!



If there’s one thing you need to know about chocoholics, it’s that they don’t cope well with change, especially when that
change means the modification of a classic confectionery treat. Consumers were outraged when they opened their Toblerone bars to discover larger gaps between the chocolate triangles – which apparently is down to the rising cost of ingredients.
Although the bars are the same length, they now contain fewer triangles and weigh less. We can confirm after extensive tasting that the flavour is the same…



Another one the polls didn’t predict – after months of campaigning to become the next US president, Republican candidate Donald Trump was elected, beating his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Trump secured more electoral votes than Clinton, and despite being a controversial character with little political experience, he’s set to take over from Barack Obama and become president of the United States in January.



After a phenomenal year for Andy Murray, becoming a father for the first time, Wimbledon champion for a second time and winning gold at Rio, the sports star achieved his life-long dream when he was ranked world number one, unseating rival Novak Djokovic in the process. Murray is the first British man, and only the 26th different man, to attain the world No.1 ranking in singles since records began in 1973. Andy and his brother, Jamie Murray, also became the first brothers to finish as year-end No.1 ranked players in singles and doubles, respectively.