People of the year 2013
Pope Benedict made way for Pope Francis, Edward Snowden revealed the US's secrets, and the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a future king
"It is a Ronseal deal - it does what it says on the tin." So says David Cameron as he marks the halfway point of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition. The PM later yields to Tory backbenchers by promising an in-out referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017. Angry at French President François Hollande's proposed 75% higher tax rate, actor Gérard Depardieu takes up Russian citizenship. He calls his adopted country "a great democracy". Hollande is too busy deploying troops to Mali - to help drive Islamist militants out of the north of the country - to respond. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, cyclist Lance Armstrong finally admits to doping. There is uproar - and no shortage of jokes - when Tesco Value beefburgers are found to contain horsemeat. Later, dozens of brands are caught up in the scandal: the meat in some meals is identified as 100% equine.
South African paralympian Oscar Pistorius is arrested for shooting dead his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, in his bathroom. Prosecutors reject his claim that he mistook her for an intruder, and charge him with murder. The Roman Catholic world is rocked when Pope Benedict XVI becomes the first pontiff to step down in 600 years. Following a papal conclave, his successor is named as Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who takes the name Pope Francis I.
One of the longest-running sagas in recent British politics comes to an end when former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce are jailed for eight months for perverting the course of justice. She had accepted speeding points on his behalf. David Miliband gets out of his brother's hair by resigning as an MP and moving to New York to head up a charity. His nickname (Brains) and the name of the charity (International Rescue Committee) prompt a raft of Thunderbirds puns. Boris Johnson finally admits that he wants to be prime minister, saying he'd "have a crack" at the job "if the ball came loose from the back of a scrum". Soon afterwards Johnson is given a mauling in an interview with the BBC's Eddie Mair, who lists some of his previous indiscretions - lying about an affair, being sacked as a journalist for making up quotes - before suggesting: "You're a nasty piece of work, aren't you?"
Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first female prime minister, dies aged 87. On the day of her funeral, the chimes of Big Ben are silenced as a mark of Parliament's respect. However, she proves as divisive in death as she was in life: news of her passing prompts glowing tributes from world leaders as well as celebratory street parties. Nicolás Maduro is sworn in as Venezuela's president, five weeks after the death of Hugo Chávez. Mick Philpott, a father of 17 children in Derby, is sentenced to life for killing six of them, in a house fire he had hoped to blame on his ex-lover. Three people are killed when a bomb explodes at the finish line of the Boston marathon. One of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is killed in a police shoot-out three days later; his brother Dzhokhar is captured after a huge manhunt. The West comes under mounting pressure to intervene in the two-year civil war in Syria, when evidence emerges that President Assad's forces have been using chemical weapons.
"Send in the clowns," cries Nigel Farage as UKIP - earlier dismissed by veteran Tory Ken Clarke as a "collection of clowns" - secures almost a quarter of the votes in local elections. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield creates one of the viral hits of the year with a cover version of David Bowie's Space Oddity recorded on his last day in the International Space Station. Angelina Jolie reveals that she has had a double mastectomy to lower her risk of developing breast cancer. Twenty-six years after taking over as Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson finally calls it a day. The hyperbolic tributes are led by BBC political editor Nick Robinson, who describes Fergie as the "greatest living Briton". There is embarrassment for the CIA when one of its alleged agents, a diplomat called Ryan Fogle, is arrested in Moscow wearing an ill-fitting blonde wig and carrying a letter promising to pay a potential intelligence recruit $1m a year. Fusilier Lee Rigby is brutally killed in a daylight attack outside his barracks in Woolwich, southeast London. Two suspects apprehended at the scene admit to killing him, and are found guilty of murder. Three women are rescued from a house in Cleveland, Ohio, where they had been kept prisoner for a decade. Their abuser, Ariel Castro, later commits suicide in prison.
Hollywood star Michael Douglas tells a journalist his throat cancer was caused by an STD acquired through cunnilingus. He and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, separate soon afterwards. Having acquired documents leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, The Guardian reveals that US and UK spies have been collecting electronic data on millions of citizens around the world. The newspaper is threatened with legal action unless it destroys its material. Editors comply by taking an angle grinder to the hard-drives, under the watchful eye of two GCHQ officials. Rupert Murdoch files for divorce from his third wife, Wendi Deng; Tony Blair is forced to deny rumours that he and Deng had an affair. Nigella Lawson leaves her husband Charles Saatchi, following the publication of pictures of him grabbing her by the throat outside a restaurant. Saatchi insists the two were merely having a "playful tiff" but accepts a police caution. "SHAM-BURGER" roars The Sun, after George Osborne tweets a picture of himself eating a humble burger and chips, only for it to emerge that the food came from Byron, an upmarket burger chain. The Chancellor's excuse - that McDonald's doesn't deliver - falls flat when it emerges that Byron doesn't deliver either.
Cameron's controversial gay marriage bill receives the royal assent. George Clooney lookalike Mark Carney starts work as the governor of the Bank of England. Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, is overthrown in a coup d'état. Seventy-seven years after the last male British winner, Andy Murray triumphs at Wimbledon. The Cuckoo's Calling, a little-known crime novel, rockets to the top of the bestseller charts when it emerges that its author, Robert Galbraith, is in fact a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling. Home Secretary Theresa May succeeds where six of her predecessors failed, by having radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada deported to Jordan.Feminism activist Caroline Criado-Perez succeeds in her campaign to retain a female figure on British banknotes (other than the Queen), and finds herself bombarded by abusive tweets and rape threats. "OUR LITTLE PRINCE" gushes The Daily Telegraph above a picture of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's newborn son. The third-in-line to the throne is named George Alexander Louis.
Green MP Caroline Lucas is arrested at an anti-fracking protest in West Sussex, and charged under the Public Order Act. Bradley Manning, the soldier who leaked thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, is jailed for 35 years, and changes his name to Chelsea. Senior UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom comes under fire for advising the Government to cut its aid to "bongo-bongo land". He later resigns from the party. David Miranda, whose partner Glenn Greenwald worked for The Guardian on the Snowden revelations, is detained and questioned for nine hours at Heathrow airport. Simon Cowell admits that he is to become a father for the first time. "Twerking" enters the vernacular when former Disney child star Miley Cyrus provokes uproar for performing the raunchy, rump-shaking dance move at an awards show. George Osborne puts on a brave face at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland when President Obama mistakenly refers to him as Jeffrey. David Cameron is humiliated when his plan to join a US-led military strike on Syria is defeated in the Commons.
As the US carries on with its plans to intervene in the Syria conflict, US Secretary of State John Kerry remarks that if President Assad destroyed all his chemical weapons, the strike would be halted. Assad immediately agrees to do so. German Chancellor Angela Merkel - known to voters as Mutti (Mummy) - wins a historic third term. In a sign of a thaw in US-Iran relations, President Obama speaks to his Iranian counterpart, the recently elected moderate Hassan Rouhani, on the phone. Helen Fielding releases a third instalment of Bridget Jones's diary, but fans are shocked to discover that she has killed off the story's dashing hero, Mark Darcy. Sixty-seven people are killed and 175 injured when Islamist militants attack the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi. Gordon Brown's former spin-doctor, Damian "McPoison" McBride, releases a set of indiscreet memoirs. The revelations lay bare the divisions within New Labour - and completely overshadow the party's autumn conference. The Daily Mail comes under fire for describing Ed Miliband's late father, Ralph, as "The Man Who Hated Britain".
"Obamacare", President Obama's flagship healthcare system, is finally launched, but soon descends into chaos because of IT glitches. Peter Higgs jointly wins the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the Higgs boson. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who survived being shot by the Taliban, is overlooked for the Nobel Peace Prize in favour of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The much-anticipated phone-hacking trial doesn't disappoint, when it emerges in court that former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson had a six-year affair. DJ Paul Gambaccini becomes the latest celebrity to be arrested on suspicion of historic sex offences. Rolf Harris, Dave Lee Travis and Max Clifford are among those already charged as part of Operation Yewtree.
"It's a dream come true for me," says a delighted David Dimbleby on unveiling his first tattoo - a scorpion on his shoulder. The 75-year-old's fellow BBC presenter, Jeremy Paxman, had earlier attracted headlines for growing a beard. After months of speculation, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford finally admits that he has smoked crack cocaine, but insists it was merely during one of his "drunken stupors", and refuses to resign.
A bitter war of words erupts between Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi during the trial of two of their staff for alleged theft. Lawson rejects allegations that she is a habitual drug-user - Saatchi dubbed her "Higella" in one email - but admits to having taken cocaine on a handful of occasions. The Rev Paul Flowers, former chairman of the Co-operative Bank, is caught on camera buying large quantities of cocaine and crystal meth. The five surviving members of the Monty Python team announce that they will reunite on stage for the first time in 33 years next summer. SNP leader Alex Salmond launches a White Paper on Scottish Independence ahead of the referendum next September. Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, dies aged 95. At a memorial attended by dignitaries from around the world, Barack Obama describes him as the "last great liberator of the 20th century". ·