Valentine's Day; the origins are sketchy but some believe it was named after a Roman priest who was executed in the third century AD for having performed marriages against the orders of Emperor Claudius, who believed that married men made bad soldiers. Others trace it to the ancient festival of Lupercalia, during which naked men spanked young women with animal hides in a fertility rite. But how did Valentine's Day become associated with love? It's quite possible that our present-day idea of this special day was born in a 14th-century romantic poem penned by Geoffrey Chaucer …

The father of English literature, Chaucer was born in the 1340s and worked a number of jobs throughout his life: as a scrap metal collector, courtier, diplomat, civil servant and, of course, writer. He is best remembered for The Canterbury Tales, regarded as one of the greatest poetic works in English. His stature as a literary giant is so otherworldly that a crater on the far side of the moon is named after him. And that's not all: a fictionalised version of Chaucer is depicted in the 2001 medieval adventure comedy film A Knight's Tale, which stars the late Heathcliff Andrew Ledger …

Best known for his depiction of the Joker in The Dark Knight and a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain, Ledger's acting career started when, as a 10-year-old, he was cast in his Perth school's production of Peter Pan. He also starred in the 2005 romance Casanova, which is loosely based on the life of the 18th-century Venetian adventurer and author. As New York Times film critic A.O. Scott puts it, the film takes a few cues from Casanova's "notoriously untrustworthy memoirs" but it actually "seems more directly inspired by the lighthearted, madcap comedies of near contemporaries like Pierre Marivaux and Casanova's fellow Venetian, Carlo Goldoni" …

Born in 1707 to a pharmacist, the precocious Carlo read comedies from his father's library and ran away from school at the age of 14 to join a travelling troupe of actors. He eventually returned to school, only to be expelled for writing a work that satirised the women of his town. His passion for writing wasn't dampened, however, and Goldoni went on to pen some of Italy's most popular and renowned plays. One of his best works is Servant of Two Masters, which, in 2011, was adapted to become One Man, Two Guvnors. Playing the "one man" on Broadway was actor James Corden …

Although a self-confessed bad driver, the chubby Briton indulges in "carpool karaoke" - in which celebrities are taken for a spin in his car while belting out tunes - on his American talk show, The Late Late Show with James Corden. A recent passenger was Adele, the best-selling musical artist of 2015, and the resulting video has been watched more than 66 million times on YouTube. The segment isn't the first time Corden has shown off his musical abilities; the actor who portrayed reality star and tenor Paul Potts on film also, in 2014, lip-synced flawlessly to Estelle's Free in an advert for Cadbury …

Founded in 1824 by Englishman John Cadbury, the grocery shop selling tea, mustard, cocoa and drinking chocolate grew to become one of the world's most recognisable chocolate brands. When Cadbury retired nearly 40 years later, his two sons, Richard and George, took over. In 1868, Richard struck upon an idea: why not create a box that could be used to store mementos in after the contained chocolates had been eaten? He thus created the first known heart-shaped box of chocolates for … Valentine's Day.