The twelve most read stories of 2015

Ellen Stewart
Saturday 26 December 2015 15:30

The year was 2015, David Cameron was declared prime minister of the first Tory majority government in 20 years, people were confused about a picture of a blue and black (or was it white and gold?) dress on the internet and celebrated its first birthday.

Here are the 12 most read stories we published in the last 12 months...

12. The best story about the Queen and King Abdullah you will read today

In September 2015 our very own Queen Liz became the longest reigning UK monarch ever. To mark the occasion recalled a story which resurfaced upon the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

In 1998 Abdullah paid a trip to HRH at Balmoral. During his visit, the Queen, an ambulance driver in WWII, offered a tour of the royal estate. Upon instruction the Saudi king climbed into the passenger seat of the Queen's Land Rover, but was surprised when she took to the wheel (NB: women aren't permitted to drive in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).

His nervousness only increased as the Queen, an Army driver in wartime, accelerated the Land Rover along the narrow Scottish estate roads, talking all the time. Through his interpreter, he implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead

  • Sherard Cowper-Coles, former Saudi ambassador

11. Here's how the election results would look under proportional representation

TL;DR: Ukip. Ukip. Ukip.

Following the result of the general election, smaller parties were grumbling about the UK's first past the post voting system. In 2015 Ukip won 12.6 per cent of the of the vote but just one seat. Under proportional representation there'd be 82 Ukip MPs in the Commons.

10. Seven laws the Lib Dems stopped the Tories from passing

This year saw the first majority Tory government instated in 20 years. The Liberal Democrats were almost completely wiped out, losing all but eight of the 57 seats they won in 2010.

After the final results were in, highlighted the seven Tory policies Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems had blocked from becoming law.

From the ever unpopular Snooper's charter to amendments to renewables funding, we asked whether things really were better than assumed under the coalition.


9. Man covered in mentos jumps into bath of coke

A man walks into an internet cafe, turns on a PC and asks: "How is this news?"

It's not, it's a video of a man covered in mentos submerging himself in a bath full of Coca Cola. Enjoy anyway:

8. Here's what a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist drew after the second Paris terror attack this year

In November this year, a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist reminded us the pen is mightier than the sword as he published a series of cartoons in the aftermath of the second "terror attack" on the French capital in 2015.

He quoted the motto of Paris: "fluctuat nec mergitur", which means: "It is beaten by the waves but does not sink".

The people who died tonight were out living, drinking, singing. They didn't know they had declared war

  • Joann Sfar

7. This American tourist's list of observations about small-town Britain has gone viral

In the summer of 2015, Florida man Scott Waters visited the UK. While holidaying the artist and photographer made a number of observations about Britain, wrote them down and posted them on Facebook.

A genuinely astounding 85,000 shares later, everyone on the internet had read Waters' comprehensive list.

Highlights included:

  • Cake is one of the major food groups

  • The pubs close too early

  • There are no guns

  • The newspapers can be awful

  • Their healthcare works, but they still bitch about it

  • There are no guns

Waters said his favourite thing about the UK is Cornish pasties, and his least favourite thing is Birmingham.

6. Comedian goes on rant against [REDACTED], nails it

Comedian and The Last Leg presenter, Adam Hills' incredible tirade against a "professional s--t stirrer" garnered a lot of attention this year. However, we have no further comment on the matter.

5. An open letter to [REDACTED]

This year made an editorial call to cease coverage of anything [REDACTED] said or did. An open letter in which we laid out our reasons behind the decision was the fifth most read story of 2015.

However, no amount of clicks will change our stance on [REDACTED].

4. This woman had the best response when a Tinder date said she was too fat to love

A woman called Michelle Williams made headlines in 2015 when she penned an open letter to a guy she met on Tinder.

After going on an unremarkable date with a man she'd been chatting with on the app, she wasn't too bothered about seeing him again, but that seemingly didn't stop him writing a brutal body-shaming rejection message, laying out exactly why (in his offensively shallow mind) she wasn't quite the gal for him...

I'm not going to bulls--t you. I f--king adore you Michelle and I think you're the prettiest looking girl I've ever met. But my mind gets turned on my someone slimmer.

... So whilst I am hugely turned on by your mind, your face, your personality (and God I really, really am), I can't say the same about your figure. So I can sit there and flirt and have the most incredibly fun evening, but I have this awful feeling that when we got undressed my body would let me down. I don't want that to happen baby. I don't want to be lying there next to you, and you asking me why I'm not hard.

Rather than taking the utter crap, Michelle made his message public and wrote her own incredible response.

She told "If he can send that message to a woman whom he barely knows so thoughtlessly he obviously hasn't made the connection that somebody could treat his daughter that way.

"We need a frank and honest conversation about body shaming."

You can read her open letter here.

3. What the Dalai Lama said when he was asked whether we should pray for Paris

Following the second "terror attack" on Paris within the space of a year, people across the world were prompted to turn to prayer.

The hashtag #PrayForParis was trending within hours of the news breaking. But when asked whether we should indeed be praying for Paris, religious leader the Dalai Lama had this to say:

We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.

He added that many of the world's problems have been caused by "superficial differences" of religion and nationality.

His message for the world was clear... "We are one people."

2. This man is painting penises on potholes so the council has to take action

In early 2015, a mysterious phallic vigilante who fittingly went by the name Wanksy came up with a pioneering (and, as it turns out, effective) way of spurring his local council into action over the state of the roads.

Speaking to the anonymous street artist said that while he'd been working on his spray painted dick pics "on and off for a couple of years" the pothole situation in Ramsbottom, Manchester had become "really bad".

Not satisfied with how long the local authority were taking to fix the gaping holes in the asphalt, Wanksy upped his spray painted penis efforts, citing a particular pothole - which had been left unfilled for eight months - tarmacked over in less than 48 hours.

1. Everyone should read this brilliant NHS "complaint" letter

In June 2014 Yael Biran paid a visit to A&E after falling and breaking her elbow.

Following her trip, the animator from south-east London, Biran sent a letter of complaint to Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust's patient advice and liaison service.

I came armed with a book to help me pass the waiting time! Actually enjoying the fact that I am going to get to read a book for a chance!

But no... the bloody nurse sees me in six minutes! Six ruddy minutes! all I had time for was to send a text, settle down, get my glasses out and find the right page, and they bloody call me in!

Within a day the trust's chief executive Tim Higginson replied to the "complaint".

It is always refreshing to receive a 'complaint' such as this which has brought a smile to the faces of many of our staff who were involved in highlighting it for my attention.

Read both letters in full here.

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