LOSE YOURSELF IN 1961
7 JANUARY – THE
AVENGERS IS FIRST AIRED ON ITV ABC Television largely created The Avengers as a vehicle for the up-and-coming young actor, Ian Hendry, focusing on Dr David Keel’s attempts to find the drug ring that killed his fiancée. Assisting him was intelligence officer, John Steed, played by Patrick Macnee, who remarked of his character: ‘He doesn’t follow the Queensbury rules and although he works indirectly with the police, he is not too popular with them.’ 13 MARCH – THE PORTLAND SPY TRIAL Harry Houghton, Ethel Gee, Gordon Lonsdale and Morris and Lona Cohen (aka Peter and Helen Kroger) go on trial at the Old Bailey as key members of the Portland Spy Ring that passed nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. 12 APRIL – YURI GAGARIN BECOMES THE FIRST HUMAN IN SPACE On this day, at 9.06am, the Soviet cosmonaut Major Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin commenced his journey into outer space for the first time in the history of the human race. There was no countdown for the launch of his Vostok 3KA capsule (that was always a NASA thing). On the return journey, Gagarin ejected and landed in some fields. A startled local resident asked if he had come from outer space. To which Gagarin replied: ‘As a matter of fact, I have.’
Gagarin was the first human in space.