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Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 16:28 GMT
Faces of the year - the men

Some of the men who have made the headlines in 2005, as featured by the BBC News profiles unit. The women of the year will be profiled next week.

Comedian Peter Kay enjoyed another bumper year. The co-writer and star of Phoenix Nights fronted a video to accompany Tony Christie's 70's classic, Amarillo, which became an unexpected number one hit. He also appeared in Coronation Street, wowed the crowd at Live8 and featured in the Wallace and Gromit film, Curse of the Were Rabbit. Now his Max and Paddy workout video is flying off the shelves. Perhaps next year he'll buy Amarillo.

October saw the British playwright, actor and poet, Harold Pinter, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The creator of The Homecoming and The Birthday Party was too ill to travel to Stockholm to receive the Prize in December. But, in a video lecture, Pinter showed that he had lost none of his political passion, calling for Tony Blair and George W Bush to be prosecuted as war criminals over the Iraq conflict.

The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair, underwent a baptism of fire. As London's chief police officer, his handling of the aftermath of the 7 July bomb attacks drew general praise. But he was criticised after armed police shot dead an innocent man, Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, later that month. And now the Independent Police Complaints Commission says it will be investigating Sir Ian's conduct following the shooting.

In November, John Sentamu became the first black Archbishop of York in a colourful ceremony in York Minster which evoked his African background. Ugandan-born Dr Sentamu, later called upon English people to rediscover their identity, adding: "Multiculturalism has seemed to imply, wrongly for me, 'Let other cultures be allowed to express themselves but do not let the majority culture at all tell us its glories, its struggles, its joys, its pains'".

Following the death of Pope John Paul II, Roman Catholic cardinals took less than two days to choose the German, Joseph Ratzinger, to succeed him. The new pope, who took the name Benedict XVI, was quick to reaffirm Church policy keeping homosexuals and "supporters of gay culture" out of the priesthood. And, in December, he continued in the same vein as his predecessor by proclaiming 19 new saints and "blesseds".

David Cameron started the year as a relatively obscure Conservative MP: he ends it as Leader of the Opposition, having easily defeated David Davis in a poll of Tory Party members. The Eton and Oxford educated Cameron has consistently refused to comment on allegations that he has taken cocaine. But he was more than happy to take Tony Blair to task at Prime Minister's Question Time, telling him: "You were the future once."

England did its duty by its greatest naval hero, Lord Nelson, with two days of celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of his audacious victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Prince Charles, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Andrew attended a service of commemoration in St Paul's Cathedral, where Nelson is buried. And the tributes to the admiral ended with a sound and light show in Trafalgar Square.

Many a tear was shed as Jack Nicklaus played in his last major championship, fittingly at the home of golf in the Open at St Andrews. The 65-year-old Golden Bear didn't make the cut, but ended his last round in style by holing his putt for a birdie. Nicklaus took the golf world by storm when he won the US Masters in 1965. 40 years on, his tally of 18 Major victories remains one even Tiger Woods may never surmount.

David Blunkett lost his second ministerial job in a year after breaking a code of conduct over paid work he took while out of the Cabinet. Mr Blunkett said he had "to take the consequences" of his mistake in not consulting an advisory committee. Stepping down as work and pensions secretary, he'd previously resigned as home secretary over claims his office had fast-tracked a visa application for his lover's former nanny.

In a heavily-guarded courtroom inside Baghdad's fortress-like Green Zone, the trial began of the former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein. He is accused of killing more than 140 men in the mostly Shia town of Dujail after a failed assassination attempt against him. Saddam has been defiant throughout, telling the judges at one stage to "go to hell". He and his co-defendants all deny the charges but could be executed if convicted.

A relative newcomer to American politics, Ray Nagin found himself in the global spotlight when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The city's mayor was criticised for failing to evacuate people in time, and for rushing to reopen roads as the subsequent Hurricane Rita approached. Nagin, meanwhile, blasted federal authorities for their delay in bringing aid to the beleaguered streets. In an emotional radio interview, he asked, "Where is the beef?"

The saga of troubled singer Pete Doherty continued. The Babyshambles frontman was arrested in February on charges of robbery and blackmail, and vowed to kick his heroin addiction. After a wobbly performance at Live8, he was back in the news in September, snapped allegedly taking cocaine with his then girlfriend, Kate Moss. Doherty has felt the long arm of the law many times since, most recently for "driving in an erratic manner".

Michael Jackson was acquitted of child abuse in a Californian court, but his reputation was ruined. His trial raised more questions than answers about his singular lifestyle at his Neverland estate, and controversy continued to dog him. Two jurors questioned the verdict, and another abuse case emerged. He found respite in Bahrain, there to ponder another small matter - a $200million loan he must repay, or lose the Beatles' back-catalogue.

Andrew "Freddy" Flintoff became the nation's hero when the charismatic Lancashire cricket all-rounder did as much as anyone to topple the Aussies and regain the Ashes for England. Few will forget his sporting gesture when he consoled Brett Lee who had just failed to stave off defeat for the Australians in the Second Test. Fewer still will forget Flintoff's bleary-eyed presence on the celebration bus tour following his all-night celebrations.

Lord Sebastian Coe assumed the leadership of London's 2012 Olympic bid team with Paris way out in the lead, and Madrid in second place. But armed with a canny sense of sporting politics, Coe began to reel his opponents in. On the final bend, by now on Paris's shoulder, he delivered a masterly speech describing his own Olympic inspiration. On the home straight he had secured another memorable victory.

George Galloway confirmed his reputation as a street-fighting politician when he appeared in front of a U.S. Senate committee hearing in May to counter charges that he had profited from Iraqi oil deals. Later, in November, the same committee accused the combative MP of lying under oath saying it had seen bank records linking Mr Galloway and his former wife with Iraqi government vouchers. Mr Galloway dared the committee to charge him with perjury.


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