Icons of England
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2000 to present

The new millennium: war in Iraq, the Eden Project and the London Eye; and the end of the road for the Routemaster

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01 Jan 2000: Millennium Dome

Unlike the London Eye, this millennium attraction did not triumph over the press scepticism when it finally opened. It housed an exhibition during 2000 and then closed with its future uncertain. Now it looks set to be an entertainment and sports venue seating 20,000 people - lucky we won the bid for the 2012 Olympics!

2000: How To Be A Domestic Goddess

Nigella Lawson coins a phrase. Have you tried her chocolate brownie recipe? Goddess indeed.

2000: The Naked Chef on the BBC

This was the programme that made Jamie Oliver a star. His campaign to raise awareness of the quality of school dinners in 2004 continued the trend for celebrity chefs to use their celebrity for more than promoting their own restaurants.

2000: Tate Modern

Formerly Bankside Power Station, this enormous building opens as part of the Tate Gallery and is a huge hit with visitors. Some people think the building is more impressive than the collection! The huge Turbine Hall at the centre has new pieces commissioned for it approximately twice a year.

2000: Pasty summit

Held in Truro, Cornwall, this pledged to get the EU to legislate that only pasties made in Cornwall can be called "Cornish".

March 2000: London Eye raised

Much was made in the press about the difficulties of raising the giant ferris wheel from the surface of the Thames to its present imposing height. But once the technical problems were out of the way, the Eye became an instant hit with visitors - even being voted the Best Tourist Attraction in the world in one survey.

July 2000: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

This becomes the fastest selling book ever in the history of publishing. Made into a movie in 2005.

2001: Last pint pot made

The final UK pint pot manufacturer goes out of business

2001: First broadcast of The Office

Written by Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais, this dead-pan mock-documentary soon becomes a classic comedy series.

March 2001: Eden Project opens to the public

The twin domes of the Eden Project nestling in a Cornish quarry have already become a recognisable landmark. The space-age transparent domes provide two different climates to grow plants in: Humid Tropics and Temperate. The project's aim is the study of our environment and the promotion of ideas on how to care for it.

19 Apr 2001: Tikka Masala our national dish?

In Robin Cook's speech to the Social Market Foundation in London, he says, "Chicken Tikka Masala is now a true British national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences. Chicken Tikka is an Indian dish. The Masala sauce was added to satisfy the desire of British people to have their meat served in gravy."

2002: Hartlepool mascot becomes mayor!

Hartlepool United's H'Angus the Monkey, the all-singing, all-dancing mascot of the local football club, is voted in as town mayor with the slogan "Free Bananas for School Children".

2002: Further immigration legislation

The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act simplifies the system for those coming to work in the UK through established channels ("managed migration") but makes it harder to claim to be a refugee.

SS Empire Windrush

2002: Bombay Dreams opens

The unlikely marriage of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Bollywood proves a huge hit, with the Lloyd Webber-produced West End show Bombay Dreams. The music was composed by Bollywood legend A R Rahman and introduced a new audience to the fun of the Bollywood musical.

2002: Gateshead Millennium Bridge opens

Combining innovative solutions to practical problems with gracefulness of design, this bridge is a stunning addition to a quickly regenerating area. It looks particularly fantastic when floodlit at night!

09 Apr 2002: Funeral of the Queen Mother

More than one million people turn out to pay their respects to this deeply loved member of the royal family

Nov 2002: Battle of Green Lanes

Tensions erupt in a street battle with guns, knives and baseball bats between rival gangs in the Turkish and Greek Cypriot area of London, Green Lanes.

20 Mar 2003: Invasion of Iraq

Invasion of Saddam Hussein's Iraq by English and American troops. This was despite unprecedentedly well-attended protest marches across the country. A turning point for Blair's government?

07 Apr 2003: Shame of TV's "Coughing Major"

Major Charles Ingram is convicted of cheating on thr popular television quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

29 Aug 2003: Routemasters begin to be withdrawn

Over the next two years every Routemaster route is taken over my one-man operated buses.

The Routemaster Bus

22 Nov 2003: England win the Rugby World Cup

Thanks to a drop goal from Johnny Wilkinson, a nail-biting 26 seconds before the end of the game!

2004: Jeremy Deller wins the Turner Prize

Deller's entry includes Five Memorials, one of which is a brightly coloured embroidered banner at Tilbury Docks commemorating the arrival of the Empire Windrush.

SS Empire Windrush

2004: Primary school bans Punch and Judy

Ronnie Alden is stopped from performing his show at a school in Shropshire on the grounds that it is too violent for five- to six-year-old children.

Punch and Judy

2004: Citizenship ceremony introduced

New citizens must now swear an "oath of allegiance" to their adopted country and sing the national anthem. These ideas will be developed into having to pass an English language test and displaying a working knowledge of English culture and history. How would you do?

SS Empire Windrush

May 2004: Nitin Sawhney concert with BSO

Birmingham Symphony Orchestra commissions Nitin Sawhney to compose a new piece for its repertoire and it is performed as a Family Concert in May.

24 May 2004: Fire at the Saatchi warehouse

Many important works of "Britart" are destroyed in the Momart warehouse fire in East London. Works lost include Tracey Emin's Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, Hell by Jake and Dinos Chapman and works by Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili, Sarah Lucas and Rachel Whiteread.

2005: Spamalot opens on Broadway

This Tony Award-winning musical is based on Monty Python And The Holy Grail and written by Eric Idle. Starring Tim Curry, Hank Azaria and David Hyde Pierce, it is a remarkably faithful, and remarkably silly, rendition of the film.

12 Sep 2005: England win the Ashes!

Finally, victory after a "drought" of 18 years.

09 Dec 2005: Last Routemaster bus off the road

Did we really appreciate them before they were gone? The last Routemaster bus route to go is the 159.

The Routemaster Bus

09 Jan 2006: Launch of the Icons Project

And here we are!