Part 4 of our 2019 Entertainment Top 25 as chosen by the entertainment fanatics at Red Bee.
A slow burn comedy that crept up on you like a warm hug. Beautifully written and acted, the smallest of actions conveyed the biggest emotions. It didn’t shy from the pain of grief, but it tempered it with the absurdity of life, moving you from tears to spitting out your tea with laughter. A lifetime of disappointments reflected in Peter Mullen’s crumpled face, lifted by the tiniest flicker of hope in the wonderful Lesley Manville’s eyes. A love story to soften the hardest of hearts.
9) KUBRICK AT THE DESIGN MUSEUM
Not only was Kubrick a great director, he was a champion hoarder too. Every note, sketch, photograph, model and piece of poster artwork. This treasure trove of material, combined with a wealth of clips, made for an astonishing exhibition. Kubrick’s obsessive attention to detail and relentless perfectionism threw up gems that stuck in your mind, like the poor location scout who had to stand on a ladder to shoot the entire length of the Commercial Road as a possible location for Eyes Wide Shut. It was like walking into the mammoth mind of a genius, you came out reeling, yet immediately wanting to go back round again.
8) HIS DARK MATERIALS
The BBC and HBO’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s novels is an autumnal triumph. It is no surprise given the pedigree of Exec Producers Jane Tranter, Julie Gardner and writer Jack Thorne, but this is a masterpiece of family drama. 13-year-old Dafne Keen is the breakout star, but closely pursued by Framestore’s exquisite creation of the Daemons. In the office we have all been playing at discovering who our lifelong soul mates are through the Discover Your Daemon app on the BBC Twitter account.
7) MATTHEW BOURNE’S ROMEO AND JUILIET
Matthew Bourne’s most recent ballet is a dramatic and chillingly violent adaptation of the classic love story, Romeo and Juliet. This contemporary version is set in a white-tiled clinical institution, with teenage inmates controlled and abused by authority. The storytelling is unpredictable and fast paced, with endless controversial twists. Through hauntingly beautiful set design, ferociously passionate dancing and a stunning orchestra, Bourne re-tells this classic play with an entirely new interpretation of forbidden love in a divided society.
6) WHEN THEY SEE US
When They See Us, Netflix’s gut-wrenching dramatization of the story of five New York boys put on trial and sentenced for the rape and beating of a Central Park jogger, deservedly ranks high in our picks of the year. The four-part series is a directorial triumph from Ava DuVernay, who commanded incredibly harrowing, affecting performances from all five young actors who play the Central Park Five, as they came to be known collectively. The final moments, where we are confronted with the faces of the real Kevin, Corey, Antron, Yusef, and Raymond, are exemplary of the ability of great TV to stir up powerful emotions. Utterly heartbreaking. A must-watch.