Part 2 of our 2019 Entertainment Top 25 as chosen by the entertainment fanatics at Red Bee.
20) YEARS AND YEARS
Years and Years is good enough to rank amongst the very best TV dramas of the last decade. An unsettling yet believable vision of UK life in the near future touches on many inter-related themes that are all too worrying in our 2019 reality: the climate emergency, extremist politics, the refugee crisis, good and bad uses of technology, impending financial storm clouds, superpower geopolitical tensions and much more. All of this is wrapped up in the gripping saga of one extended family that hurtles along with a banging soundtrack and superb ensemble cast, amongst which Lydia West emerges as a future superstar and Jessica Hynes turns in a performance that demonstrates her Colmanesque talent and versatility. And that’s not to mention the remarkable Emma Thompson as a terrifying populist politician who is only a tad more grotesque than some of Westminster’s current finest. Magnificent TV from the imagination of Russell T. Davies.
19) MUFF BUSTERS: VAGINA MYTHS AND HOW TO FIGHT THEM (VAGINA MUSEUM)
“The world's first Vagina Museum, an opening that's long overdue” - TimeOut London
We agree. Opening this year in Camden Market, The Vagina Museum is an empowering space, that manages to wonderfully juggle a sense of play, pride and gender politics. From exhibitions like “Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How To Fight Them”, to crochet clitoris patterns … this is not only entertainment, it’s an important conversation starter. And arriving as it does in the year that AMV BBDO follow up their taboo-busting ‘Blood Normal’ campaign, by redefining lip-synching in the wonderful “Viva la Vulva” … we are delighted to be ending 2019 with such positivity and joy around periods and genitals.
18) NEWSNIGHT - THE PRINCE ANDREW INTERVIEW
One of the most compelling dramas on our screen this year wasn’t some big budget box set, but rather the shambolic PR disaster that was Prince Andrew’s hour-long interview with Emily Maitlis, supposedly conducted in order to put an end to the allegations relating to his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Rather than quietly draw a line under the affair, it reformatted it in bold, added highlighter and cranked it up to font size 72. Not only did Andrew fail to show any sympathy towards the victims, he then proceeded to tell us that he barely knew Epstein, despite staying at his house for four days in order to tell him they couldn’t be friends any more. He goes on to proclaim his innocence as he visited Pizza Express in Woking on the day of the allegations, and that he was once afflicted with an inability to sweat. None of it felt particularly edifying for the monarchy, but the papers lapped it up, keeping the story spinning for days, with many commenting how it was more dramatic than the latest series of The Crown.
17) OLAFUR ELIASSON – IN REAL LIFE (TATE)
Eliasson was the guy behind the phenomenally popular glowing sun exhibition at Tate Modern back in 2003. He’s back and his new latest exhibition has the same interactive spirit. You’ll lose sight of yourself (literally) as you walk through a brightly lit fog tunnel, be shattered and re-configured in a kaleidoscopic mirror, and multiplied in a simple, but somehow addictive, light projector set-up. It’s fun and interactive (in the best way) and definitely worth a trip before the exhibition ends in Jan 2020.
16) THE EDGE
A remarkable piece of storytelling about the rise and fall of the England cricket team under coach Andy Flower. It avoids all the clichés of narrative structure and presents something more powerful – an insider’s view of the mental pressures of playing sport at the highest level, with the emotional highs and devastating lows. Visceral, vivid and evocative.