The year we were reading Harry Potter and listening to the Spice Girls

The Spice Girls, performing at the Brit Awards in London, in 1997
The Spice Girls, performing at the Brit Awards in London, in 1997
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This week in 1997, the mother of murdered Stephen Lawrence called on the public to help track down her sons’s killers and override the “dangerous kind of apartheid” rife in Britain.

Just days after a inquest jury ruled that her son was unlawfully killed “in a completely unprovoked racist attack by five white youths”, Doreen Lawrence said: “If the family of Stephen Lawrence are to continue to hunt down the killers themselves, we hope everyone will be involved.”

Stephen Lawrence

Stephen Lawrence

Elsewhere, a ‘tasteless’ joke by TV presenter and chat show host Jonathan Ross about the health of singer Frank Sinatra prompted angry calls to a television watchdog.

Ross introduced the then Labour leader Tony Blair during the annual British Comedy Awards on ITV as a man who needed an introduction “about as much as Frank Sinatra needs next year’s calendar”.

In other news, the Spice Girls and Manic Street Preachers shared the honours at the BRIT Awards – but it was the five feisty females who stole the show.

Spice Girl Geri Halliwell strutted her stuff in a mini Union flag dress as the group mimed to their single Who Do You Think You Are?

Anthony Minghella, director of The English Patient, with his awards for Best Film and  Best Screenplay (Adapted) at the Royal Albert Hall, in London, at the 1997 BAFTA award ceremony.

Anthony Minghella, director of The English Patient, with his awards for Best Film and Best Screenplay (Adapted) at the Royal Albert Hall, in London, at the 1997 BAFTA award ceremony.

The Spice Girls won best single for Wannabe and best video for Say You’ll Be There.

The Manic Street Preachers took the best group and best album awards at the BRITs, the latter for Everything Must Go, which reached number two in the charts.

In sport, Ian Wright was facing a misconduct charge, after trying to tangle with old adversary Peter Schmeichel, following Arsenal’s 2-1 home defeat to title favourites Manchester United.

The England striker, who earlier in the season had accused the Danish goalkeeper of racist abuse, had to be restrained as he rushed to confront the United man.

Wright, who had earlier been booked, spared the controversy with a lunging challenge on Schmeichel, which had United manager Alex Ferguson raging on the touchline.

Hungarian-American businessman, engineer and author Andy Grove was named Time Person of the Year.

Also in 1997, Scottish football legend Billy Bremner died, just two days before his 55th birthday.

The word ‘emoji’ was added to the dictionary for the first time.

The best-selling children’s book was JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Also that year, romantic war drama the English Patient, starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche won the BAFTA Best Film category.

American reality TV star Kylie Jenner was born this year.

One of the most popular TV shows was the Teletubbies!

In the charts, the following 20 albums were at the top:

1. Be Here Now – Oasis

2. Urban Hymns – the Verve

3. Spice - Spice Girls

4. White on Blonde _ Texas

5. Spice World – Spice Girls

6. The Fat Of The Land – The Prodigy

7. Let’s Talk About Love - Celine Dion

8. OK Computer – Radiohead

9. Greatest Hits – Eternal

10. The Best Of Wham!: If You Were There – Wham!

11. Ocean Drive – The Lighthouse Family

12. Backstreet’s Back – Backstreet Boys

13. Older – George Michael

14. Postcards From Heaven – Lighthouse Family

15. Sheryl Crow – Sheryl Crow

16. Travelling Without Moving – Jamiroquai

17. Fresco – M People

18. Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon – John Lennon

19. Paint the Sky With Stars – Enya

20. All Saints – All Saints