This week's UK news: 4 January 2013
4 January 2013

Skyfall breaks UK records

The James Bond film Skyfall has become the first film to earn more than GBP 100m at UK cinemas. This is perhaps even more surprising as the Bond series has now been running for 50 years.
The film, which stars British actor Daniel Craig as the spy, has earned more than $1bn worldwide (GBP 620m). The two previous Bond films starring Craig both earned around GBP 365m worldwide, but before that the most profitable was Goldeneye, with GBP 219.5m.
However, the Bond films are not the most popular films in British cinemas. The record is still held by Gone With The Wind, released in 1935, which sold 35m tickets. The Sound of Music sold 30m in 1965 and Walt Disney's Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs is in third place, selling 28m tickets since its release in 1938.

Family's unusual Christmas

People in the UK like to spend time with their families at Christmas, but the relationships can sometimes be difficult. One family decided to spend a few days in a holiday cottage -- which turned into a week when they were trapped by floods. Very heavy rain had made the River Severn burst its banks.
The family drove through six inches of water to reach the cottage and were then stuck inside for a couple of days because it rained so much. They did not realise that they had a problem until two of the group decided to walk to the local pub. When they came back, the water was up to their chests.
A neighbour with a boat helped them get to the pub for food and the family was eventually rescued, after a week.

Memorial to pioneering doctor -- and his brave patients

The second world war caused many awful injuries to those fighting in it, particularly those whose planes had caught fire or crashed. A doctor working in a little town in Sussex decided to specialise in helping these men, inventing plastic surgery techniques to rebuild hands and faces.
Sir Archibald McIndoe drove  round the country getting bandaged men from other hospitals and bringing them to East Grinstead, where he would operate on them so that they could live more normal lives. The men formed a club, called the Guinea Pigs Club (in English, we say someone is a guinea pig if we experiment on them). They made sure they had fun, drank lots and made lots of jokes about their condition.  For instance, they chose a man with no legs to look after the money - because he couldn't walk off with it. The men went out in their bandages and many married nurses and local women.
There is still a specialist burns unit in East Grinstead, which the men called "the town that did not stare" and now a sculptor, Martin Jennings, has been asked to create a memorial to McIndoe and the Guinea Pigs. Jennings' own father was helped by McIndoe so it is a very special work for him.

The return of the real book

Last-minute Christmas present buyers created the best week for sales of real books for three years. E-books, on gadgets like Amazon's Kindle, are now very popular in the UK.  But paper books worth GBP 75m were sold in the last week before Christmas, the best sales since 2009.
The best-seller was a cookbook by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, which has recipes for meals which can be prepared in just 15 minutes. That has sold more than 140,000 copies. The other best-sellers were also written by well-known people, including Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and comedian Miranda Hart.

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