2016 started with the deaths of several famous celebrities including David Bowie and Alan Rickman, both of whom passed away in January. Right up until its very end, 2016 continued to claim the souls of celebrities with George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds all passing away in late December. That begs the question: did more famous people die last year than usual?
Back in April, the BBC's Obituaries Editor Nick Serpell checked if the trend was unusual
by counting the number of pre-prepared BBC obituaries that ran across radio, TV and online. He found that there had been a huge increase with twice as many notable people passing away in the first three months of the year
compared to the same period in 2015 and five times as many as in 2012.
Across the whole year, there was a 50 percent increase in BBC pre-prepared obituaries used in 2016 compared with 2015. Serpell feels the trend is unsurprising due to the onset of flourishing pop and TV culture since the 1960s. It is important to note that the definition of celebrity needs to be taken into account as the BBC doesn't do an obituary for every famous person that dies.