What happened in the UK in 1991?

Splitting 1991 into the largest news, sports and entertainment events; here’s what happened …

The “Gulf War” began at the beginning of the year following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, which led to British forces leaving to fight Saddam Hussein’s army. The fighting lasted only a couple of months, but it is well remembered because it was the first war that was televised on the news.

Little beloved media mogul Robert Maxwell met a mysterious end while on vacation on his boat off the coast of Tenerife. Struggling under financial pressure, with his company on the brink of collapse, he was thought to have gone overboard even though no one really knows what happened.

Another mystery that emerged was an outbreak of “crop circles”. Around 600 new ones appeared (one in the Prime Minister’s garden!) In the UK during the summer of ’91, putting Britain in the global media spotlight. Some experts pointed the finger at human pranksters, some claimed abnormal weather conditions were the cause, while others were 100% sure they were messages from aliens.

In terms of sport, England hosted the 1991 Rugby World Cup but, despite having a home advantage, were eliminated in the final by the Australians. Paul Gascoigne, the new soccer star, injured his knee while playing for Tottenham in the FA Cup final which led to a one-year stint on the sidelines.

The TV saw a couple of newcomers leaving their mark and an old-fashioned comeback. Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer (better known as Vic & Bob) debuted on channel 4 and their style of quirky humor quickly caught on, making their surreal show a hit in 1991. Back with dumber games, less than special guests and “gunk” was Noel Edmonds in his live show (broadcast from the fictional “Crinkley Bottom”) “Noel’s House Party”. Accompanying Edmonds was his pink and yellow friend Mr. Blobby who surprisingly managed to get a single number one despite being unable to speak!

The best film of 1991 was “The Silence of the Lambs” with lead roles by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. As Hannibal Lecturer (a psychotic cannibal) and Clarice Sterling (a young FBI cadet) form a strange kind of partnership to hunt down a still unknown serial killer named “Buffalo Bill”. In the same year, one of the few sequels to improve the original was also released; he said “I’ll be back” and Arnold Schwarzenegger was in “Terminator 2”. This time she plays one of the good guys trying to protect the boy destined to save the human race.

On the UK music front in ’91, the year belonged to Bryan Adams and his HUGE hit “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”. The title track of “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves” topped the charts for a record 16 weeks and remained in the Top 40 for a total of 6 months. As for the best-selling album of 1991, that went to Simply Red and their “Stars” album. Christmas number one was a reissue; Queen release “Bohemian Rhapsody” again to commemorate the death of singer Freddie Mercury earlier this year.

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