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10 things that ended in 2006 (when OpenLearn was born)

Updated Thursday, 10 March 2016
OpenLearn was born in 2006 but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) some things ended this same year. We look back as part of our ten year anniversary celebrations.

This page was published over 7 years ago. Please be aware that due to the passage of time, the information provided on this page may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate, and any views or opinions expressed may no longer be relevant. Some technical elements such as audio-visual and interactive media may no longer work. For more detail, see how we deal with older content.

1: Sven-Göran Eriksson's role as England football manager

Sven-Göran Eriksson

'Sven, Sven, Sven-Göran Eriksson' (sing it!) was the first foreign manager of the England national team. His 5-year reign spanned 67 matches with England winning 40 and losing 10.  The Football Association announced that Eriksson would leave his role in 2006, a decision that was met with several protests and a "Save Our Sven" campaign from the Official England Fan organisation backed by several British tabloid newspapers. A controversial undercover interview by the News of the World was said to be part of the reason why he left his role. 

  • Could you be the next Sven? Find out more about management in football with this free course: The Business of Football

2: The Western black rhino species

Black rhinos in crater

The western black rhino (a sub-species of the black rhino) emerged about 8 million years ago. While its population was once the highest out of all the rhino species, there was a 96% population decline between 1970 and 1992 because of widespread poaching. While the western black rhino was declared officially extinct 2011, it was last seen in 2006 in Cameroon's Northern Province and conservationists believe that the rhino was extinct about five years before it was officially declared so by the IUCN.

3: Britney Spears' and Kevin Federline's marriage


After three months of dating, American popstar Britney Spears and dancer Kevin Federline (known as K-Fed) announced their engagement in July 2004. This received lots of media attention because Federline had recently broken up with actress Shar Jackson, who was still pregnant with their second child. This destroyed Britney's squeaky-clean image. After having two children together, Spears filed for divorce on November 7, 2006, citing irreconcilable differences. 

4: Steve Irwin's life

Steve Irwin at Australia zoo

Famous for phrases such as 'crikey!' and 'Isn't she a beauty?', Steve Irwin AKA The Crocodile Hunter, was a wildlife expert, television personality and founder of Australia Zoo. Irwin died on 4 September 2006 after being pierced in the heart by a stingray barb in the Great Barrier Reef while filming an underwater documentary film titled Ocean's Deadliest.

  • Take a look at the understanding of and attitudes towards death with our free course: Death and Dying

5: Charles Kennedy as leader of the Liberal Democrats

Charles Kennedy

On 5 January 2006 Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats, pre-empted a broadcast by admitting that he had been treated for alcoholism and called a leadership election in which he intended to stand. However, the admission damaged his standing and 25 MPs signed a statement urging him to resign immediately, which he did. 

  • Want to find out more about the role of a leader of a political party? Find out more about politics with our free course: What is Politics?

6: Turkey Twizzlers

Turkey twizzlers and potato smilies

Love them or loathe them, Turkey Twizzlers were a staple of the nineties/early noughties school canteen. Jamie Oliver's 2005 television series Jamie's School Dinners saw Bernard Matthews' product became the subject of heated debate. Oliver wanted to remove mass-produced unhealthy food from school meals. After a petition was taken to Downing Street, several catering organisations announced that they would no longer serve Turkey Twizzlers in schools. By 2006 Bernard Matthews had discontinued them. 

7: A tall, dark James Bond


In November 2006 Casino Royale premiered and was the highest grossing Bond film (until Skyfall years later). In the lead up to the release, however, there was much controversy about the casting of Daniel Craig as James Bond. The 5ft 10 in, blond Craig was considered by many shaken and stirred cynics to not fit the tall, dark Bond portrayed by the likes of Sean Connery. Once the film was released, Craig's performance was highly acclaimed.

8: Britain's debt from the Anglo-American loan

Signature Anglo American loan agreement 1945

Britain was in the black again (well, sort of) on 29th December 2006, when it paid back the final instalment of the Anglo-American Loan Agreement. The loan from the USA of  $3.75 billion was made to support British overseas expenditure in the immediate post-war years. However, it was eventually needed to pay for the Labour government's welfare reforms.

  • Could you use some help managing your finances? Take control of your debts with our free course: Managing my Money

9: London's boring weather record

Tornado on May 3, 1999, in central Oklahoma

Yes, in 2006 the people of London found that they definitely weren't in Kansas anymore when the capital was hit by a tornado with an estimated T4 intensity on the TORRO scale. This weather, usually reserved for the likes of Torando Valley in the USA, struck the Kensal Green area of North-West London and tore through several streets in under a minute, injuring six people, and causing damage to at least 100 properties. Thanks for the taster but we'll stick to rain in future, Mother Nature. 

10: Grandstand

After almost 50 years of being on air, the BBC announced in April 2006 that Grandstand, its flagship sports programme, would be phased out. This was to meet the challenges of the digital, on-demand world. Its last transmission was in January 2007. The theme tune, however, remains an absolute classic - we can't get it out of our heads, 10 years later! 

The Open University launched OpenLearn, a website dubbed 'The home of free learning', in October 2006 and since then it has gained over 40 million unique users and won awards recognising its array of valuable free learning content.
To celebrate OpenLearn's 10th anniversary, we are releasing a new listicle centralised round the number 10 on the 10th of every month in the 10 month lead up to October. Check out our Ten Years of OpenLearn hub to enjoy even more free learning!


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