It all started way back in 1951 as part of that year's Festival of Britain celebrations. Officially titled the "Festival Bikini Contest," it was the British press who dubbed it "Miss World." The media frenzy welcomed a global audience bigger than international events like the World Cup and the Olympic Games.
Fifty years later, it attracts an annual audience of 2.5 billion people. Founder Eric Morley, a former bingo hall manager, originally intended the contest to be a one-time event. But when the Miss Universe Pageant entered the equation the following year, he decided to make his show an annual one.
For Eric and his wife, Julia, it then became a life's work and passion. Here's a brief look at the history of the pageant over the years.