This week's UK news: 19 October 2012
19 October 2012

The world of Henry VIII wins double prize

The Booker Prize is the UK's biggest award for novels. Each year a panel of judges spends months reading new books to create a shortlist of six, and finally select the winning book. Sales of the shortlisted books rises, and the winner usually becomes a best seller if it isn't already.

This year's winner is very unusual. Hilary Mantel is the first woman to win the prize twice. She is the first British novelist to win twice. And her book is the first sequel (second book in a series) to win as well.

Hilary Mantel's two winning books are about England's most famous king, Henry VIII, who almost 500 years ago broke the country away from the Catholic church because he did not have a son with his wife and so he wanted to marry again. Henry married six times before he died, divorcing two wives and beheading two, as English schoolchildren learn.

Mantel is telling the story of Thomas Cromwell, the man who helped Henry create his own church, divorce one wife and execute another. The story will eventually be three novels. The first two have both won the Booker prize.

Millions watch competition final

Most TV competitions involve singing or dancing. So a programme called The Great British Bake Off is unusual - but amazingly popular.

This show has now run for three years and about 5 million people watch each series. Every week amateur cooks are asked to bake cakes, breads and pastries in a time limit. Sometimes they can choose what they do, sometimes they have to make a particular kind of cake or bread which is usually difficult. One is knocked out of the competition each week.

The results are judged by a cookery writer who has been well known for decades and a baker, and is presented by two comedians. It sounds dull but the show is very popular and is being adapted for French TV. TV analysts say it is popular because baking is comforting when many people have money problems.

The final programme was shown this week and the winner was a young man who was taking his final exams of a law degree during the competition. He got a First in his degree, won the competition... and now plans to learn to be a professional French baker.

The Rolling Stones play live again

The Rolling Stones played their first concert 50 years ago and later became the biggest band in the world with songs like I Can't Get No Satisfaction. They have just announced that they will play two UK concerts next month to mark the anniversary. The cheapest tickets are GBP 100, more than they were paid for their first concert.

Hurricane anniversary

This week people have been remembering the night 25 years ago when a hurricane hit the South of England.

In the biggest storm for 300 years, around 15 million trees blew over, ferries ran aground and cars were crushed. Parks and gardens were left unrecognisable by 110mph winds. But the storm brought good things. Many country parks decided to leave the trees as they were without removing all the fallen wood. This turned out to be very good for wildlife. And the weather forecast on the TV just before the storm is now so famous it was used in the Olympic opening ceremony.

The weather forecaster, Michael Fish, said a woman had rung the studio because she had heard a hurricane was on its way. "If you're watching, don't worry. There isn't," he said.


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