From the king of pop to the queen of reality TV, from swine flu to MPs' expenses, these are among the year's most-read stories.
There are goodbyes and near-misses, extremes in the weather, and a few light-hearted moments alongside more serious tales.
Two near misses and a certain Time Lord grabbed the headlines in January.
It was new year, new Doctor, as
Matt Smith was named
as the actor to take over from David Tennant in Doctor Who. At 27, he will be the youngest to take on the role when he appears on TV in 2010.
A pilot ditched an Airbus A320 in the Hudson River after a double bird strike
Attention turned to Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo, who
wrote off his Ferrari
in a crash near Manchester Airport but walked away unscathed.
Another lucky escape attracted plenty of attention when
a pilot crash-landed an airliner
in New York's Hudson River after birds disabled its engines. All 155 passengers and crew were rescued.
Two technology stories also made headlines this month. The first told how a Windows "worm"
infected millions of computers,
and the second revealed plans for
broadband to be in every UK home
Bank of England cut interest rates
to 1.5% - the lowest level in its 315-year history.
One story dominated the most-read list in February - the
UK's worst snowfall for almost 20 years
and ensuing winter chaos.
Road, rail and air
transport was badly affected,
hundreds of schools were closed and a shortage of road salt created what the AA called
"a safety crisis".
London was covered in 4in (10cm) of snow - the most recorded in 18 years
Three separate tragic tales provided the focus for the rest of the month.
Terminally ill reality TV star
Jade Goody, who had cervical cancer, married her fiance Jack Tweed
in Essex. She died, aged 27, a month later.
Conservative leader David Cameron's "beautiful" six-year-old son
Ivan, who had cerebral palsy and epilepsy, died at a hospital
And nine people were killed and 84 injured when a Turkish Airlines
plane crashed on landing
at Amsterdam's Schiphol international airport.
March offered little in light relief, until the end of the month at least. First,
gunmen attacked a bus
carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team near the Pakistani city of Lahore, killing six police escorts and a driver.
Chelsea and England footballer
Ashley Cole was arrested
for being drunk and disorderly after swearing at police officers.
Vanessa Redgrave's daughter was injured during a skiing lesson
A teenage gunman killed 15 people
on a rampage at a school in south-west Germany, including nine pupils and three teachers.
Natasha Richardson died
from head injuries sustained in a skiing accident in Canada.
But the mood was lifted by the most clicked on story of the month, which raised smiles and possibly a few pilots' eyebrows.
secretly painted a 60ft penis
on the roof of his parents' £1m Berkshire mansion. It was there for a year before they found out.
April saw swine flu emerge from Mexico and spread to Britain. But these were early days. The number of
UK cases was still in single figures
not yet a reality.
The BBC said Balding "had no intention" of upsetting the jockey
Alistair Darling's budget
drew widespread attention. He tore up a New Labour election pledge by unveiling
a new tax rate
for earnings over £150,000.
Memories of February's snow faded, as Met Office
forecasters predicted a "barbecue summer"
for the UK with no repeat of recent washouts.
Almost. Summer temperatures were warmer than the previous two years, but average rainfall was up 40%.
It was a month to forget for BBC presenter Clare Balding who apologised to Grand National winning jockey Liam Treadwell for
making fun of his teeth on air.
After urging him to show his pearly whites, she told him he could now afford to "get them done" with his prize money.
The rumblings, uproar and recriminations in Westminster over MPs' expenses hogged this month's headlines.
Health minister Phil Hope said he would
repay £41,709 in second home allowances,
then Labour MP
Shahid Malik stepped down as justice minister.
The couple met while on reality show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!
"Appalled" Conservative leader
David Cameron, meanwhile, said he would lead senior Tories in repaying "excessive" claims.
But it did not end there. Under-fire Commons Speaker
Michael Martin was next to quit -
making him the first in that role to be effectively forced out of office for 300 years.
Away from politics, it was all over for Peter Andre and Katie Price too. The celebrity couple
announced they were separating
after three-and-a-half years of marriage.
Then there was the competition to land the "best job in the world". Hampshire man
Ben Southall beat 34,000 applicants
to become the new caretaker of an Australian tropical island.
Another month, another round of political stories.
Hazel Blears quit the cabinet
on the eve of two sets of elections, increasing pressure on the prime minister.
in the English local elections, and two days later,
Labour slumped to an historic defeat
in the European polls.
Divers recover a large section of the rudder of Flight 447
There was huge interest in the Air France plane which
vanished over the Atlantic
in a storm carrying 228 people from Brazil to France.
Within a week
rescuers were recovering debris and, inevitably, bodies
from the ocean.
Michael Jackson died.
The 50-year-old pop legend was pronounced dead at his home in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, after he stopped breathing.
On a lighter note, the Stig, a mystery driver who tests cars on BBC's Top Gear,
was "revealed" as Michael Schumacher -
although many feel sure the whole thing was a stunt.
One of the most popular stories this month concerned a new directory service for people
to find mobile phone numbers.
Elsewhere, Michael Jackson's family and fans said
farewell to the superstar
at an emotional memorial service.
Jackson's daughter Paris, 11, said he was "the best father" imaginable
Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard was
in court on an affray charge
after a row over music at a bar in Southport.
Former Wales, Arsenal and Celtic striker John Hartson was in a
critical condition after brain surgery
following a cancer diagnosis.
Swine flu reared its head again after an estimated
100,000 new cases
in a week. Earlier in the month a
GP and a six-year-old girl died
after contracting the virus.
Finally, in Scotland, an off-duty police dog handler took a video of what he claimed was a
panther-sized big cat
on a railway line.
Football got some high-profile coverage in August - for the wrong reasons. A man was stabbed in the chest during
"large-scale trouble" involving hundreds of fans
at a West Ham v Millwall match.
Jaycee Lee Dugard disappeared in 1991, aged 11
West Ham centre-back Calum Davenport's career was threatened when he was
stabbed in the legs
at his mother's home in Bedfordshire.
And a British
teenager found dead in Crete
was revealed to be the younger brother of Aston Villa and England footballer Luke Young.
Also drawing plenty of attention was the case of a US woman in California found 18 years after she was abducted as a girl in 1991.
Jaycee Lee Dugard was kept in a "hidden backyard within a backyard" and
bore two children by her alleged kidnapper
And finally, the funniest joke of this year's Edinburgh Fringe, as voted by viewers of TV channel Dave.
Comedian Dan Antopolski won the prize for this one-liner: "Hedgehogs. Why can't they just share the hedge?"
Here is the list of gags he beat.
Two celebrity deaths on the same day -
celebrity chef Keith Floyd died
following a heart attack, and
Dirty Dancing actor Patrick Swayze lost
his two-year battle against pancreatic cancer.
This gold cap for the end of a sword handle is one of 1,500 items found
Elsewhere, private school teacher Helen Goddard, 26, was
jailed for having sex
with a 15-year-old female pupil.
Sir Terry Wogan announced he was stepping down
as presenter of BBC Radio 2's breakfast show.
Keisha Buchanan left the pop group,
claiming it was not her decision.
Then there was a story that was pure gold -
the UK's largest haul of Anglo-Saxon treasure
discovered by a metal detectorist in Staffordshire.
Showbiz figures dominated the most-read list in October, led by the
sudden death of Boyzone singer
Stephen Gately on holiday in Majorca.
Friends, fans and stars paid tribute
to the 33-year-old ahead of a post-mortem examination which found
he died of natural causes.
Eight million people watched Mr Griffin's Question Time appearance
Meanwhile, Little Britain star
Matt Lucas pulled out of a West End play
after his former partner Kevin McGee was found hanged.
Barbara Windsor announced she was quitting
BNP leader Nick Griffin said he would complain
to the BBC for facing a "lynch mob" on Question Time.
And finally, when it came to relationship age gaps, Somalian man Ahmed Muhamed Dore took some beating.
He claimed he was 112
when he married 17-year-old Safia Abdulleh.
Weather stories led the way as
parts of southern England were flooded
in the middle of the month, with worse to come.
A week later about 200 people were rescued from the town of Cockermouth as Cumbria was hit by the worst floods in its history.
RAF helicopters airlifted at least 50 to safety.
Dozens of people spent the night in rescue centres in Cumbria
There was disappointment for millions of bank customers hoping to be refunded overdraft charges.
The Supreme Court overturned earlier rulings
allowing the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the fairness of charges.
Edward Woodward died
at 79, after suffering pneumonia and various other illnesses.
And there was tragedy in Liverpool when
a four-year-old boy was mauled to death
by a dog at a family home.
But it was not all doom and gloom - for some at least.
I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! produced two of the month's popular stories as first
ex-Strictly Come Dancing star Camilla Dallerup
then model Katie Price quit the show.
A cold snap, and heavy snow and ice meant
travel was thrown into chaos, schools closed and power supplies were cut.
holiday plans were disrupted
as many airports cancelled flights.
Chancellor Alistair Darling's pre-Budget report
was also keenly observed. He said National Insurance would rise, and announced a bank bonus tax scheme.
The Rage song was originally released in 1992 when it reached number 25
The Italian trial of Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend ended with their conviction.
Knox cried as she was jailed
for 26 years for the murder and sexual violence of British student Meredith Kercher.
Golfer Tiger Woods' private life attracted much speculation. A week after he apologised to his family for letting them down, his
mother-in-law was suddenly admitted to hospital
while staying at his Florida home.
The most competitive battle in years for the Christmas number one also proved very popular.
Rage Against the Machine's single, Killing In The Name, beat X Factor winner Joe McElderry's The Climb
after an internet spoiler campaign.
underwater footage of an octopus surprised scientists
when it revealed the creatures carried halved coconut shells with them to use later as shelters.