7 things the residents of Highgate Cemetery gave the world

George Michael pictured in 1998, shortly before the release of his famous song 'Outside'. Picture: S

George Michael pictured in 1998, shortly before the release of his famous song 'Outside'. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Highgate Cemetery is home to the great and the good – a who's who of pop stars, authors, philosophers and artists.

Here are seven of the great contributions they gave to the world, one way or another.

1. Last Christmas

Fans have been laying tributes to George Michael in The Grove since he died on Christmas Day 2016.

Fans have been laying tributes to George Michael in The Grove since he died on Christmas Day 2016. Picture: Michael Stephens/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

With numerous hits in his arsenal, Freedom singer George Michael has plenty to keep the party going, people just need a little Faith.

The Wham! singer's sudden death on December 25 rocked the world.

Hits like Careless Whisper and I'm Your Man will entertain fans for decades to come, but how about one of the truly great festive songs as his crowning glory, Last Christmas.

2. Anarchy

Malcolm McLaren has an eye on the camera as the Sex Pistols signing a recording contract outside Buckingham Palace

Malcolm McLaren has an eye on the camera as the Sex Pistols signing a recording contract with A&M Records outside Buckingham Palace - Credit: PA

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Anarchy In the UK may have been the Sex Pistols' song, but it was manager Malcolm McLaren who brought the anarchy to the people.

Further controversy would follow, particularly with God Save the Queen satirising the Silver Jubilee in 1977.

But shock tactics were not new for this artist/wheeler-dealer.

In 1966 he was arrested for attempting to set light to an American flag outside the US embassy during a demonstration against the Vietnam War.

3. The smartphone and Wikipedia

Undated handout photo issued by St John's College, Cambridge of Douglas Adams during his student day

Douglas Adams during his student days. - Credit: PA

Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy first appeared as a radio serial in 1978.

Yet it centred around a handheld device through which users could access unheard of amounts of information, of varying accuracy. Sound familiar?

It could be argued he foresaw both the smartphone and Wikipedia. 

In his version the words "Don't Panic" are inscribed on the cover – something that would perhaps be a useful addition to Twitter's branding.

4. The pre-viral video

Television personality Jeremy Beadle at Buckingham Palace, where he recieved an OBE from the Queen.

Jeremy Beadle OBE - Credit: PA

You've Been Framed would probably never have got off the ground had video sharing already existed.

But in 1990 the show launched with Jeremy Beadle at the helm, and with YouTube some 15 years away it provided the only outlet for hilarious pratfalls and terrifyingly dangerous close shaves.

Harry Hill may have later put a different slant on it, but in the 1990s, Beadle was what it was about.

5. Left-wing politics

The grave of Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery East

The grave of Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery East - Credit: PA

It may be flippant to credit Malcolm McLaren with bringing us anarchy, but it is fair to say that no theorist has had such an impact on left-wing politics as Karl Marx.

Despite the fame of his neighbours in the cemetery, Marx stands head and shoulders above them. Well, head anyway.

6. Brother vs brother

Ralph Miliband

Ralph Miliband - Credit: Archant

Noel and Liam Gallagher brought a fraternal soap opera with them when they moved to north London in the 1990s, but a 2010 Labour leadership contest pitted brother against brother on a national stage.

The Marxist theorist is Ralph Miliband is buried in the cemetery near Karl himself. As well as  his significant academic achievements, he and Marion Kozak gave the world David and Ed.

How would the next decade in the UK have played out if the contest had gone the other way (or, indeed, put Ed Balls, Andy Burnham or Diane Abbott in the hot seat)?

7. Middlemarch

Silas Marner and Middlemarch author George Eliot's real name was Mary Ann Evans.

One of the reasons she wrote under a pseudonym was to escape the stereotype of women's writing being limited to lighthearted romances. 

How things have change? Well, no. The number of women writers who go by their initials in a bid to be taken seriously suggests not.