1951: Eight-year-old dancing prodigy Jacqueline Mason, of Moredon Park, Pinehurst, was celebrating her latest and greatest success. She was commended in the Royal Academy of Dancing’s ballet (second class) examination. Jacqueline had begun learning dance only a year earlier.

1961: A festive freeze was reported as bringing misery to many Swindon households. In some cases water was seen coursing from beneath front doors on to driveways. One elderly Somerset Road couple, Mr and Mrs S Dann, spent Christmas Day visiting relatives and arrived home to find that four leaks in their upstairs bathroom had sent water gushing down walls.

1971: The first visit by the French prototype Concorde 001 to the home of its British counterpart in Fairford was postponed. The aircraft had been due to make the flight to test its radar systems, but minor engine problems meant the trip was delayed.

The world

1822: Louis Pasteur, chemist and bacteriologist, was born in Dole, France.

1831: Admiralty survey ship HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin on board, set out from Plymouth on a scientific voyage around the world, which led to Darwin writing his controversial Origin Of Species.

1901: Marlene Dietrich, German actress who starred in The Blue Angel, was born.

1904: The first performance of James Barrie’s Peter Pan took place at the Duke of York’s theatre in London.

1927: Broadway staged the first performance of Show Boat by Jerome Kern, at the Ziegfeld Theatre.

1945: The International Monetary Fund was established in Washington.

1965: The Sea Gem oil rig collapsed in the North Sea - 13 died.

1978: Spain became a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.

1985: Arab terrorists killed 12 people in attacks on El-Al check-in desks at Rome and Vienna airports.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: MasterChef judge John Torode assured fans he was doing well after being taken to hospital on Boxing Day.

BIRTHDAYS Christopher Benjamin, actor, 83; Janet Street-Porter, broadcaster, 71; Gerard Depardieu, actor, 69; Duncan Ferguson, former footballer, 46; David Knopfler, musician, 65; Gilles Simon, French tennis player, 33; Salman Khan, Bollywood actor, 52; David Dunn, footballer, 38.