The DYR blog

The DoYouRemember.co.uk blog with general chat about all things from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s plus news about new features and developments on the website.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The best (and worst) of 1999

Here are the biggest news, sport and entertainment stories of 1999…

The UK prepared to celebrate the new millennium in style with the Queen's official opening of the £758m Millennium Dome. It was well over budget and had received bad reviews but was still much anticipated. Unfortunately, the Millennium Wheel must have fallen foul of the Millennium Bug as its opening was delayed due to technical faults. The Millennium Bug in general turned out to be a big fuss about nothing as the nation’s toasters and hairdryers managed to cope with the change in date and not spontaneously combust! As for the people, lots went to large organised events in city centres, many went to pubs and clubs, some went to street parties, and others simply opened a bottle of bubbly at home.

Another reason for many to celebrate in ’99 was the government’s introduction, for the first time ever, of a legally-binding minimum rate of pay for all workers in the UK. Set at £3.60 an hour, about two million people benefited from the move; their wage packets being increased by up to a third.

On the darker side of the year, London suffered 3 nail-bomb attacks in 2 weeks and was, for a time, gripped in fear. Fortunately, the police quickly tracked down the perpetrator (who claimed he was a Nazi) and sentenced him to life in prison. Another sentenced to life in prison was Tony Martin, the farmer who shot a burglar who was in his house. Given the circumstances, many saw his punishment to be unfair and huge campaigns were set-up to free a man who people felt was a victim, not a criminal.

Lawrence Dallaglio was another one not celebrating the millennium after being stripped of the captaincy of the English national rugby team. Tabloid newspapers alleged that the clean cut, saviour of the game had took and dealt drugs whilst at university and the unwelcome publicity was enough for the Rugby Association to act; something they may have regretted when a lack of evidence (surely they should get this before publishing stories?!?) led to him being cleared of the charges. Football wise, Manchester United won the premier league for the 5th time in the 90s, making them the new undisputed heavyweights of the domestic game.

In the entertainment world, the leader of the Staines Massive, Ali G, launched his career as part of the 11 O’Clock Show on Channel 4. Masquerading as a simple, streetwise ‘gangster’ (who lived with his Gran), Sacha Baron Cohen made fools of political figures by asking questions about drugs, violence and sex and getting them to show how out of touch they were. Over on the BBC, the licence money was well spent on the big-budget natural history programme ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’; viewers being fascinated to see genuinely realistic looking computer generated dinosaurs roaming the earth.

The British film industry got back to business with Guy Ritchie’s ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’. The mix of professional actors with real East End villains (even football hard man Vinnie Jones got involved) was a success and the box office took millions as people went to see the story of a group of London lads desperately trying to come up with the £500,000 they owed. Another movie hit of 1999 was ‘Fight Club’ featuring Brad Pitt (that’s all I can say about that though as the first rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club!).

For a full rundown of the of the best selling 1999 music

…alternatively, 90s music charts for every year of the decade.

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