A look at some of the people who made the headlines in 2018.


Theresa May’s new year relaunch falls flat when her reshuffle descends into what one insider describes as “the night of the blunt stiletto”. Jeremy Hunt insists on staying on as Health Secretary rather than taking the business brief, and Justine Greening chooses to resign rather than move from Education to Work and Pensions. A tell-all book about life in the White House by Michael Wolff claims that Donald Trump sits in bed from 6.30pm most nights, watching three TVs at once and eating cheeseburgers. UKIP leader Henry Bolton briefly makes headlines when he is revealed to have left his wife for a 25-year-old model. He is later ousted. Comedian David Walliams says he is “appalled” by reports that “hostesses” at the all-male Presidents Club charity dinner he hosted were groped and assaulted by attendees.


Oxfam’s reputation is badly tarnished when it emerges that its aid workers traded aid for sex in Haiti while caring for victims of the 2010 earthquake. The culprits included Roland van Hauwermeiren, the charity’s director in the country at the time. Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the North Korean leader, becomes the first member of the Kim dynasty to visit South Korea when she attends the Winter Olympics. Snapchat loses $1.3bn in market value after the 20-year-old US reality TV star Kylie Jenner – hailed months later by Forbes magazine as potentially “the youngest ever self-made billionaire” in history – tweets that she no longer uses the app. Xi Jinping abolishes the two-term limit on China’s presidency, paving the way for him to remain in power indefinitely.


Gary Oldman wins an Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. Frances McDormand (pictured) picks up the statuette for best actress, only for it to be stolen at the after party (it is later returned). Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, is poisoned in Salisbury, along with his daughter Yulia. The British firm Cambridge Analytica, and its Old Etonian chief executive, Alexander Nix, are found to have used personal data, harvested without consent via Facebook, to target voters in Trump’s election and the Brexit campaign. Rex Tillerson joins the exodus from the Trump adminis-tration when he is fired as secretary of state – by tweet.


The authoritarian Viktor Orbán wins Hungary’s parliamentary elections by a landslide, securing a third term in office. Theresa May joins the US and France in a joint missile strike on Syria designed to punish Bashar al-Assad for using poison gas against civilians. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is dragged before Congress and taken to task for his failure to protect users’ data. Traditionalists are outraged by news that the Football Association may be about to sell Wembley Stadium for £600m to the luxuriantly moustachioed Pakistani-American billionaire Shahid Khan, nicknamed the Tache with the Cash. He later pulls out. Housing chief Dominic Raab’s secretary is caught selling sex online; many are equally shocked by her revelation that her boss has exactly the same lunch from Pret a Manger every day.


Sajid Javid promises to “do right” by the people affected by the Windrush scandal as he replaces Amber Rudd as Home Secretary. Rudd resigned after admitting to having inadvertently misled Parliament over targets for removing illegal immigrants. An inquiry later concludes that Rudd was let down by her own officials. There are calls for the resignation of John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, after he is accused of bullying his staff. Almost two billion people around the world watch Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle in Windsor in a service notable for The Most Rev. Michael Curry’s impassioned sermon.


Having slapped tariffs on steel and aluminium from the EU, Canada and Mexico, Donald Trump heads for a landmark summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, where he praises the North Korean leader as a “very talented man”. After 26 years at the helm, the powerful Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre announces that he is stepping down from his front-line role. Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old boy with severe epilepsy, is admitted to hospital after his medicinal cannabis oil is confiscated. The Home Office later relaxes the rules on cannabis-derived medicines. Pundits struggle to work out what – if anything – Melania Trump intends to signal by wearing a coat bearing the words “I really don’t care, do u?” to visit a centre where migrant children are being held on the US-Mexico border.


The world celebrates the safe rescue of 12 young Thai boys, and their football coach, after their 18-day ordeal stranded deep in a flooded cave system. Billionaire Elon Musk is embroiled in a bizarre war of words with a British diver who assisted in the rescue; in a tweet, he refers to him as a “pedo”. Police launch a murder inquiry following the death of Dawn Sturgess in Salisbury. The mother-of-three, and her boyfriend Charlie Rowley, had come into contact with the Russian nerve agent used against the Skripals four months earlier. Gareth Southgate (pictured), manager of the England football team, is hailed as a national hero after he shepherds the squad – with quiet modesty and his ever-present waistcoat – all the way to the semi-finals of the World Cup. Donald Trump visits Britain, staying clear of protesters and the “Trump baby” blimp tethered in Westminster. The former cricket star Imran Khan is elected prime minister of Pakistan. On a visit to China, Jeremy Hunt reduces his host to fits of laughter when he tells them his Chinese wife is Japanese.


Jeremy Corbyn finally breaks his silence on the charges of anti-Semitism that have dogged Labour all summer. He concedes that it is a “real problem” and that the party has been slow to react; a disciplinary action against Margaret Hodge, launched after she reportedly called Corbyn an “anti-Semite” and a “racist”, is dropped. Boris Johnson is accused of Islamophobia for writing that Muslim women in face veils resemble “letter boxes”. The Tory heavyweight later reveals that he has split from his wife of 25 years, Marina Wheeler. Italy’s populist interior minister, Matteo Salvini, blames the EU for the collapse of part of a motorway viaduct in Genoa, which caused 43 deaths. Madonna is criticised for giving a ten-minute speech about the late Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Awards – and devoting nine minutes of it to herself.


At the Lib Dem conference, Vince Cable shakes up his party’s rules to allow a non-MP to succeed him as leader; but he fluffs a key line in his speech by talking about the “exotic spresm” of Brexit; he meant “erotic spasm”. Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle firm Goop is fined for making unsubstantiated claims about the therapeutic powers of vaginal eggs. Karen Bradley causes a stir by admitting that, until she was made Northern Ireland Secretary, she hadn’t realised that nationalists didn’t vote for unionists and vice versa. Serena Williams clashes with the umpire at the final of the US Open and calls him a “thief” for imposing penalties on her. In an interview for Russian TV, the two men identified by British police as the Salisbury poisoners insist they were innocent tourists who merely wanted to visit the city’s cathedral, “famous the whole world for its 123-metre spire”. The leader of the Scottish Tories, Ruth Davidson, reveals that she does not want to become PM, because she fears the pressure of life at No. 10 would bring back the mental health issues that she has had since her teens.


Theresa May displays more of her unique moves as she shimmies onto the stage at the Tory conference to the strains of Dancing Queen. Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi dissident, disappears in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. It subsequently emerges that he has been killed and dismembered, allegedly on the orders of the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The rapper Kanye West visits the White House, where he reduces the president to a startled silence with a ten-minute rant in which he reveals that his “Make America Great Again” cap (pictured) makes him feel like Superman. Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the first female Doctor Who is watched by 8.2 million people, giving the programme its highest launch ratings in a decade. Nick Clegg, the former deputy PM, takes up a job as chief lobbyist for Facebook. Banksy shocks the art world by arranging for one of his paintings to be shredded in its frame moments after being sold at Sotheby’s. Angela Merkel signals the end of an era in German politics by announcing that she won’t stand for chancellor at the next elections. Philip Green faces renewed calls for the revocation of his knighthood following accusations that he has sexually harassed and racially abused employees.


A 33-year-old man from Grantham, Ross Edgley, becomes the first person to swim around the entire 1,792-mile coastline of Great Britain. In an interview marking his 70th birthday, Prince Charles insists that when he becomes king, he won’t meddle in affairs of state. “I’m not that stupid,” he says. The United Arab Emirates brings a diplomatic row to an end by freeing a British academic, Matthew Hedges, whom it had jailed for life on spying charges. UKIP’s leader, Gerard Batten, defends his decision to hire Tommy Robinson, the far-right activist, as a special adviser on “rape gangs and prison reform”. The appointment prompts Nigel Farage to quit the party in disgust.


The BBC confirms that Fiona Bruce, the TV journalist best known as the presenter of Antiques Roadshow, will replace David Dimbleby as the host of Question Time. France’s President Macron offers concessions in a bid to end successive weekends of violent protest in Paris prompted by planned fuel tax rises. In an apocalyptic opening speech to climate talks in Poland, David Attenborough warns that, without rapid action, “the collapse of our civilisations… is on the horizon”. José Mourinho is sacked as manager of Manchester United after a dismal start to the Premier League season. Having survived a vote of no confidence, Theresa May battles to persuade MPs to support her Brexit deal, in advance of a Commons vote due in January.