These were the five biggest stories of the year you were reading that weren't COVID

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Donald Trump, the Epstein investigation and Boris Johnson were among the top five non-COVID  searches of 2020 (Getty Images)
Donald Trump, the Epstein investigation and Boris Johnson were among the top five non-COVID searches of 2020 (Getty Images)

While the biggest news story of 2020 isn’t in doubt, there were plenty of other topics that made the headlines outside of coronavirus.

The spread of the virus - including the measures taken to try and halt it, the economic impact and the vaccines being developed to fight it - was the most important issue on people’s minds this year.

However, the coronavirus wasn’t the only thing Britons wanted to read about in 2020.

According to data compiled by Yahoo Search UK, when Britons weren’t looking for information on the pandemic, they were interested in Donald Trump, the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein, Brexit, Boris Johnson and the Madeleine McCann case.

The data is comprised of total searches for all Yahoo Search UK users — which includes users not based in the UK but who have chosen to use Yahoo Search UK. Yahoo Search gets billions of searches per year, globally and in the UK we have hundreds of millions of searches and millions of users.

Outside the top five topics, according to Yahoo Search data, the US election was the sixth most popular term, as Joe Biden overcame Trump to become president-elect.

Johnson’s former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, found his own spot in the top 10 in seventh place, largely thanks to his 260-mile trip during the first national coronavirus lockdown, followed by his ignominious exit from Downing Street later in the year.

Watch: Dominic Cummings leaves Downing Street for the last time

The Black Lives Matter movement was ninth in the list, after a series of protests across the UK followed those in the US.

The final two places in the top 10 were filled by North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon.

Top Five news searches in 2020 not related to COVID-19:

1 Donald Trump

OCTOBER 5th 2020: President Trump was released from The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and was flown via Marine One helicopter to The White House where he will continue treatments for the COVID-19 coronavirus. - OCTOBER 2nd 2020: President Trump was taken via Marine One helicopter to The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland for treatment and observation after contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus. - OCTOBER 2nd 2020: President of The United States of America Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. - File Photo by: zz/Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 2016 9/7/16 Donald Trump speaks at The Conservative Party of New York State's 2016 Presidential Reception. (NYC)
Donald Trump was the most searched news item apart from coronavirus in 2020. (AP)

Donald Trump began the year planning a long march to election victory, but things didn’t work out that way.

Not only did he lose November’s US election to Joe Biden, Trump was heavily criticised for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and ended up contracting COVID-19 himself along with a number of his White House staff.

In the election fallout, Twitter branded many of his tweets “misleading” as the outgoing President falsely claimed the election had been stolen and was fixed.

Read more: Boris Johnson still has good relationship with Donald Trump

Trump’s year was also marked by his response to the Black Lives Matter protests - during which he drew widespread condemnation after a crowd of peaceful demonstrators were cleared for him to pose for a photo opportunity outside a church close to the White House in Washington DC.

2 Epstein Investigation

FILE - This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry, shows Jeffrey Epstein.  A U.S. prosecutor overseeing the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking investigation said Monday, Jan 27, 2020 that Britain's Prince Andrew has been uncooperative in the inquiry so far. Speaking at a news conference outside Epstein's New York mansion, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, said prosecutors and the FBI had contacted Prince Andrew's lawyers and asked to interview him. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)
Financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein died in jail in 2019. (AP)

The investigation into financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in a New York jail in August 2019, gathered pace this year, with British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell arrested in July and charged with trafficking minors for him.

The investigation has garnered much interest in the UK with the involvement of Prince Andrew, a friend of Epstein and Maxwell, who has been accused of refusing to co-operate with the investigation - something he denies.

3 Brexit

Brexit protesters outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London.
Brexit protesters outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. (PA)

In January, before coronavirus gripped the world, it looked like Brexit would remain the big talking point among UK web users.

But it spent long periods off the radar in 2020, in between the UK officially leaving the EU on 31 January and the upcoming end of the transition period on 31 December.

The recent race to secure a trade deal between the two parties has brought it back to the forefront of the news agenda in recent weeks.

4 Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19).
Prime minister Boris Johnson during one of his many media briefings at Downing Street this year. (PA)

You don’t expect the prime minister to be out of the news for very long in any given year, but 2020 was far from normal.

Boris Johnson was the fourth most popular news search term, according to Yahoo Search data, and it isn’t difficult to see why.

From his constant addresses to the nation during the coronavirus pandemic to the equally continuous criticism of his handling of the crisis, Johnson was always on the British public’s minds, particularly when he was taken to intensive care after contracting COVID-19.

His personal life also garnered much interest, including the birth of his new son, Wilfred, and his engagement to Carrie Symonds.

5 Madeleine McCann

German police stand during a search in a garden allotment in the northern German city of Hanover on July 29, 2020, in connection with the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann. - Police resumed searching an allotment plot in Germany, with hopes high of some light finally being shed on the years-long mystery. Officers used sniffer dogs and an excavator as they dug up the site in the city of Hanover, with several police vehicles parked around a cordoned-off area. (Photo by Hauke-Christian Dittrich / AFP) (Photo by HAUKE-CHRISTIAN DITTRICH/AFP via Getty Images)
German police searched a garden allotment in Hanover in July in connection with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. (AFP via Getty)

This year saw a major breakthrough in the Madeleine McCann case, when police in Germany announced in June they had a new prime suspect, a 43-year-old German man named in reports as Christian B.

The suspect, who is in prison for drug smuggling and rape, reportedly refused to answer questions about Madeleine McCann unless prosecutors prove he was involved in her disappearance in Portugal in 2007.

In July, police searched a garden allotment at a property in the city of Hanover in connection with the case.

Watch: Police dig at allotment over Madeleine McCann case

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