January: Greece entered the European Economic Community (predecessor of the EU).
February: A powerful earthquake hit Athens, killing 22 people, injuring 400 people and destroying several buildings and 4,000 houses.
March: The first London Marathon took place, with 7,500 runners.
April: The Bucks Fizz song ‘Making Your Mind Up’ won the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin.
May: Francois Mitterrand became French President.
June: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US reported that five gay men in Los Angeles had a rare form of pneumonia seen only in patients with weakened immune systems; the first recognised cases of AIDS.
July: A worldwide television audience of 750 million people watched the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer.
August: The first 24-hour video music channel, MTV, was launched in the US and aired its first video, Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles.
September: Postman Pat was first aired on BBC One.
October: Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat, was assassinated.
November: The Church of England General Synod voted to admit women to holy orders.
December: Arthur Scargill became President-elect of the National Union of Mineworkers.