This week in 1996, the IRA admitted planting a bomb that exploded in the Docklands area of London.
Among the 39 casualties, two men were killed in the blast and give more people were rushed to hospital. The bombing marked the end of a 17-month ceasefire during which Irish, British and American leaders worked for a political solution to the troubles in Northern Ireland.
British Prime Minister John Major said there was now a “dark shadow of doubt” where optimism had existed. The IRA struck again just days later, planting a bomb in the centre of London, after warning that its terror campaign would continue.
Scotland Yard said the device “bore all the hallmarks of the Provisional IRA” and criticised the imprecise locations given by the bombers in two coded warnings. The bomb – left in a holdall in a telephone box in Charing Cross Road – led to a security alert which caused chaos in the West End as a square mile of streets was cordoned off. The bomb was discovered and made safe as the IRA vowed to continue its campaign “as long as necessary.”
In other news, pop sensations Take That announced they were to split, leaving millions of teenagers heartbroken. The multi-million selling boyband said they would be going their own separate ways after the release of a single and an album. In a statement to the press, Take That member Mark Owen said: “We have done all that we can do as Take That.”
Singer Gary Barlow later told a tabloid newspaper he knew their days were numbered during a concert.
“I stared out into the crowd and realised that the 13-year-olds were now 18-year-olds.
“I knew then that just as the fans had grown, so must we and that would only mean one thing – splitting up.”
Also the week in 1996, the Highland epic Braveheart, starring Mel Gibson, was nominated for 10 Oscars – including that of Best Picture – more than any other film.
Also making the headlines that year was the death of actor Jon Pertwee.
He was well-known for his TV roles as Dr Who and Worzel Gummidge.
Time Person Of the Year was David Ho, Taiwanese-American medical doctor, well-known for his scientific contributions to the understanding and technological treatment of HIV infection.
Among the new words added to the dictionary that year was ‘cyberattack’.
Sense and Sensibility – starring Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant – won the BAFTA for Best Film.
Games Of Thrones actress Sophie Turner was born in 1996.
People were spending their Friday nights watching TFI Friday.
The top 20 albums of 1996:
1. Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morrisette
2. (What’s The Story?)... Morning Glory – Oasis
3. Spice - Spice Girls
4. Falling Into You – Celine Dion
5. Older - George Michael
6. Take Two – Robson and Jerome
7. The Score – The Fugees
8. Greatest Hits – Take That
9. Greatest Hits – Simply Red
10. Blue Is A Colour – The Beautiful South
11. Moseley Shoals – Ocean Colour Scene
12. Recurring Dream: The Very Best of Crowded House – Crowded House
13. Ocean Drive – Lighthouse Family
14. Bizarre Fruit/ Bizaree Fruit II – M People
15. Travelling Without Moving – Jamiroquai
16. K – Kula Shaker
17. The Smurfs Go Pop – The Smurfs
18. A Different Beat – Boyzone
19. Different Class – Pulp
20. Everything Must Go – Manic Street Preachers