Arts and entertainment highlights for 2016

Arts and entertainment highlights for 2016

Daniela Soave looks at what we’ll really want to see, do and be talking about in the upcoming events in the year of 2016.

You know it’s going to be a cracking year when January kicks off with a mesmerising movie performance by Eddie Redmayne in ‘The Danish Girl’, and David Bowie’s album ‘Darkstar’ – sadly, as it turns out, a powerful epitaph. Yep, 2016 promises to be a cultural cornucopia, whether you’re a music fan, film buff, follower of the performing arts or simply enjoy a quiet night in front of the TV.

Here’s a taste of what lies ahead…

Don’t-miss exhibitions

Fashion, photography, ancient history, painting and contemporary cultural shift form the backbone of 2016’s showcases. Painting The Modern Garden – Monet to Matisse has already opened at the Royal Academy, and is set to be the first blockbuster show of 2016, while Tate Liverpool features Francis Bacon – Invisible Rooms from 18 May. In July, David Hockney and Georgia O’Keefe have major retrospectives (from 2 July at the Royal Academy and from 6 July at Tate Modern respectively).

If you have an eye for style, from 11 February there is a fabulous photographic exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (Vogue 100: A Century of Style) while at the V&A from 16 April, Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear takes a peek at undergarments and their role in the fashionable wardrobe. Finally, Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost World at the British Museum will be a landmark show revealing life in two ancient cities, recently rediscovered in the depths of the sea (from 19 May)

Most-wanted television

Dramas currently in production include Cold Feet, returning after a gap of 13 years with the original cast; the eight-part Victoria, with Jenna Coleman in the title role as the young regent, and Tennison, an ‘Endeavour’-like prequel to ‘Prime Suspect’ set in the 1970s, cast to be announced (all ITV). Also in the works are remakes of the EM Forster Howard's End; Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White and the six-parter Press, a behind the scenes drama about the people who shape the headlines from the team that created last year’s ‘Dr Forster’ (BBC). Rowan Atkinson stars in two films as the French detective Maigret (ITV), one early in the year and a second in autumn. David Mitchell plays William Shakespeare in a new sitcom from Ben Elton (BBC), and Mick Jagger takes on the role of executive producer in Martin Scorsese’s new Sky Atlantic series, Vinyl, beginning in February, about a 1970s New York record label owner. In the digital world, look out on Netflix for 10-part The Crown, starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith in a late 20th century Buckingham Palace drama. Also on Netflix, Ashton Kutcher’s sitcom The Ranch, about two brothers trying to launch a business on a Colorado ranch, is tipped to be a big hit.

Family bookings

You might be young at heart, a 50-something parent of teens or a very young grandparent. So here are some choices to enjoy with your favourite young person. Expected to be one of the year’s most popular exhibitions, Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius at the Science Museum (from 10 February) explores the artist’s precocity as an engineer and inventor. Harry Potter comes to the stage with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & 2, in which Potter, now a father of three, is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic (Palace Theatre, 7 June to 27 May 2017). Film highlights include The Jungle Book in April with the voices of Idris Elba, Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson, The Angry Birds Movie in May, and Stephen Spielberg’s take on the Roald Dahl classic The BFG in July. Finishing 2016 on a high, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them – the J K Rowling spin-off about the creatures in her world of wizardry – is released in November.

Must-hear music

The first headline release of the year is Elton John’s new album, ‘Wonderful Crazy Night’, released on 5 February. Further ahead, new albums are promised by Kanye West, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead, Jimmy Page, Beyonce, Chic and PJ Harvey. Record-breaking Adele kicks off her much-anticipated UK tour on 29 February, followed hot on her heels by Janet Jackson on 30 March. Blasts from the past Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra make a welcome return in April, with Coldplay embarking on the British leg of what is rumoured to be their last-ever tour (June 4-18). Expect it to be emotional.

Hot-ticket theatre

Glenn Close makes her West End début by reprising her award-winning performance as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard with ENO, from 1 April, while in June Pixie Lott begins a West End run as Holly Golightly in Breakfast At Tiffany’s at the Theatre Royal. 2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, so you can expect to come across the Bard on stage and screen. In an inspired stroke of casting, Kenneth Branagh directs Richard Madden and Lily James in Romeo and Juliet, at the Garrick Theatre. If you can’t get to the theatre, the live cinema broadcast in July will be a must.

Must-see movies

Most notable among the franchises returning in 2016 is the long-awaited Bridget Jones’s Baby, with Patrick Dempsey (‘Grey’s Anatomy’) joining Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant in a ‘who’s the daddy?’ romp. Other returners include the new Ghostbusters (July 15) with all-female leads, the as-yet untitled Bourne sequel with Matt Damon returning to the role (July 28) and Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher in Never Give Up (October 7). Also in the ‘must-see’ list are A Bigger Splash, an erotic thriller starring Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson and Matthias Schoenaerts (12 February), and in October, the much-anticipated The Girl on The Train with Emily Blunt and Justin Theroux bringing Paula Hawkins’ bestseller to the big screen.


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