Event lines up the 100 best things to see and do in 2020. Whether you want a night out at the movies, a good old binge-watch at home or to sample the best of the country’s theatres and museums, look no further when planning your cultural exploits of 2020
Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, returns, with little known about the sequel’s plot except we’ve jumped seven decades forward in time
Ana de Armas in No Time To Die. She makes her debut as Bond Girl Paloma in the new film
Five years after Spectre, Daniel Craig is back in his much-awaited final outing as 007 in No Time To Die
Footage from the highly-anticipated film shows Craig back in the role but no longer working as the spy, therefore relinquishing his 007 credentials and licence to kill
Look out for Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek as evil new baddie Safin. The film is out in April
1. The Personal History Of David Copperfield
Out January 24
Slumdog Millionaire and Lion star Dev Patel plays the title character in this new adaptation of the much-loved Charles Dickens classic, co-written and directed by Armando Iannucci of Veep and The Death Of Stalin fame. Look out for Iannucci regular Peter Capaldi as Mr Micawber, Ben Whishaw as Uriah Heep and Tilda Swinton as Betsey Trotwood.
Out February 7
Robert Downey Jr stars as the doctor who can talk to animals, although the surprise – at least according to the trailer – is that he seems to be sporting a Welsh accent. Still, visual effects have at last caught up with Hugh Lofting’s extraordinarily vivid imagination, so the animals look stunning, and Stephen Gaghan directs a cast that also includes Antonio Banderas, Marion Cotillard, Ralph Fiennes and Emma Thompson.
Out March 20
What The Theory Of Everything did for Stephen Hawking, Marjane Satrapi’s unconventional-looking biopic hopes to do for Marie Curie, the Polish-French scientist whose pioneering work in the field of radioactivity won her the Nobel Prize not once but twice. Rosamund Pike heads a cast that also includes Sam Riley, Anya Taylor-Joy and Aneurin Barnard.
Out March 27
Disney continues to plunder its own back catalogue of animated classics, turning them into lucrative live-action remakes. This year it’s Mulan, with our young Chinese heroine torn between family duty to make a good marriage and fulfilling her destiny, and possibly saving her father’s life, by becoming a warrior. It’s not yet clear whether Mushu, the mayhem-loving dragon, will be returning.
Disney continues to plunder its own back catalogue of animated classics, turning them into lucrative live-action remakes. This year it’s Mulan, with our young Chinese heroine torn between family duty to make a good marriage and fulfilling her destiny
Hugh Laurie, Ben Whishaw, Dev Patel, Peter Capaldi and Tilda Swinton in The Personal History Of David Copperfield
5. No Time To Die
Out April 3
Ah, we’ve been expecting you, Mr Bond. Yes, five years after Spectre, Daniel Craig is back in his much-awaited final outing as 007. And he’s brought some familiar faces with him, with Léa Seydoux and Christoph Waltz returning as Madeleine Swann and Ernst Blofeld respectively, while franchise regular Jeffrey Wright is back once more as Felix Leiter. Look out for Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek as evil new baddie Safin, and Lashana Lynch, the beautiful double-0 agent who’s after Bond’s, er… job.
6. The Secret Garden
Out April 17
David Heyman, producer of the Harry Potter and Paddington films, lends his considerable film-making heft to a new adaptation of Francis Hodgson Burnett’s enduring children’s classic. Colin Firth plays Lord Craven, Julie Walters is a housekeeper for about the 300th time, while Mary, Colin and Dickon, the eternal childhood triangle at the story’s heart, will obviously be there. But any hint of ‘magic’ will certainly upset purists and, indeed, gardeners.
IT’S A FACT
An action scene from the original Top Gun was used by the Chinese state TV station, purporting to show its own air force in action.
7. Black Widow
Out May 1
Given the outcome of Avengers: Endgame, we’re inevitably going back in time to explore the life and times of Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson returns to the role, while Florence Pugh – fresh from her success with Little Women – plays her equally kick-ass ‘sister’, Yelena. Will any of the other Avengers turn up? We’ll have to wait and see.
Out May 8
This is based on the 1955 novel The Good Shepherd, by CS Forester. Tom Hanks plays the captain of an American Merchant Marine vessel leading a convoy of ships through the U-boat-filled seas of the Atlantic Ocean. But America is new to the Second World War and the captain’s experience is modest.
9. The Woman In The Window
Out May 15
No, not a remake of the Edward G Robinson film noir of the same title but certainly sounding a lot like Hitchcock’s Rear Window, this sees Amy Adams playing an agoraphobic New York woman who starts spying on her neighbours and sees… well, I’m guessing nothing nice. Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman lead a classy-looking supporting cast.
Tom Cruise has described this long-anticipated sequel to the 1986 original as ‘a love letter to aviation’, so I think we can confidently expect planes, lots of planes
Dixie Egerickx stars as Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden. David Heyman, producer of the Harry Potter and Paddington films, lends his considerable film-making heft to a new adaptation of Francis Hodgson Burnett’s enduring children’s classic
Steven Spielberg directs West Side Story, with Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as the star-crossed lovers and – quite amazingly – Rita Moreno returning from the original cast
10. Wonder Woman 1984
Out June 5
Three years ago, the original film not only introduced the world to the Israeli actress Gal Gadot, but was also widely credited with rescuing the entire DC Comics universe. Now Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, returns, with little known about the sequel’s plot except we’ve jumped seven decades forward in time, Chris Pine is inexplicably back too, and bad things seem to be happening at the White House. Kristen Wiig makes her debut as arch-enemy Cheetah.
11. Top Gun: Maverick
Out July 17
Tom Cruise has described this long-anticipated sequel to the 1986 original as ‘a love letter to aviation’, so I think we can confidently expect planes, lots of planes. What else? The trailer revealed few plot details so all we know is that 49-year-old Jennifer Connelly joins the cast, 62-year-old Kelly McGillis – who played Charlie in the original – is a notable absentee, and that dog-fight-loving fighter pilots such as Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (57-year-old Cruise) are facing the end of an era. ‘But not today, sir, not today.’
Out July 17
Only Christoper Nolan could come up with a film rumoured to combine international espionage, time travel and evolution. But whatever it actually turns out to be about, there’s no doubt a Nolan film is always a big cinematic event – his last was Dunkirk, of course – and that he’s attracted a top-notch cast including John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh and Michael Caine.
Three years ago, the original Wonder Woman film not only introduced the world to the Israeli actress Gal Gadot, but was also widely credited with rescuing the entire DC Comics universe
13. Death On The Nile
Out October 9
Will cobras still be found in first-class cabins? We’ll find out as Kenneth Branagh bravely steps into the Hercule Poirot story most closely associated with the late Peter Ustinov and embarks on an inevitably deadly river cruise down the Nile. An eclectic supporting cast includes Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening… oh, and Russell Brand, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders too.
14. The Witches
Out October 16
Can it really be 30 years since Anjelica Huston gave us her delicious turn as the Grand High Witch in Nicolas Roeg’s adaptation of the particularly dark Roald Dahl story of a little boy who is turned into a mouse by a coven of witches? Apparently it can, so high time for a state-of-the-art remake with visual-effects specialist Robert Zemeckis directing, Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch and Stanley Tucci, Octavia Spencer and Chris Rock leading the supporting cast.
15. West Side Story
Out December 18
First there was William Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet, then came the Broadway show that pitched Jets against Sharks, featured music and lyrics by the great Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim respectively and was turned into a 1961 film that won an astonishing ten Oscars. Now, Steven Spielberg is having another go, with Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as the star-crossed lovers and – quite amazingly – Rita Moreno returning from the original cast.
16. Avenue 5
Sky One, January 22
Armando Iannucci follows up Veep with this space-tourism comedy starring Hugh Laurie as the suave captain of a cruiser in the solar system. Disaster strikes while orbiting Saturn and the crew are ill-equipped to cope.
Adam James and Alice Eve in Belgravia. The new Downton Abbey is nigh: Julian Fellowes’ follow-up details the secrets, lies and, you guessed it, scandal among the upper echelons of 19th-century London society on the eve of the battle of Waterloo
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc in Hitmen. After many years in comedy, partners-in-laughs Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc star in their first sitcom
Michael Sheen plays Chris Tarrant in the extraordinary 2001 story of the ‘coughing Major’ and his wife’s attempted heist on quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Sky One, spring
After many years in comedy, partners-in-laughs Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc star in their first sitcom. They play an unlikely and spectacularly useless pair of assassins in this killer new series.
IT’S A FACT
None of Julian Fellowes’ romantic dramas can match his own: he proposed to his wife Emma Joy 20 minutes after meeting her.
The new Downton Abbey is nigh: Julian Fellowes’ follow-up details the secrets, lies and, you guessed it, scandal among the upper echelons of 19th-century London society on the eve of the battle of Waterloo. Stars Tamsin Greig, Philip Glenister and Harriet Walter.
Three-part drama following the fallout from the 2018 novichok poisonings on the Wiltshire community, starring Anne-Marie Duff, Rafe Spall, Mark Addy and MyAnna Buring.
Ahem! Michael Sheen plays Chris Tarrant in the extraordinary 2001 story of the ‘coughing Major’ and his wife’s attempted heist on quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Support from Matthew Macfadyen, Sian Clifford and Helen McCrory.
21. The Undoing
Sky Atlantic, summer
Nicole Kidman reunites with Big Little Lies creator David E Kelley to play a therapist whose life is torn apart overnight in a psycho-thriller co-starring Hugh Grant and Donald Sutherland.
22. Space Force
Steve Carell’s workplace comedy follows the misadventures of a new Trumpian branch of the US armed forces defending satellites from attack. Also starring John Malkovich.
Stephen Graham in The North Water. Period thriller charting an ill-fated 19th-century whaling expedition to the Arctic
Sheridan Smith in Four Lives. It’s a far cry from Extras as Stephen Merchant takes on the grim role of ‘Grindr killer’ Stephen Port, convicted of the murder of four young men in 2016
23. Four Lives
It’s a far cry from Extras as Stephen Merchant takes on the grim role of ‘Grindr killer’ Stephen Port, convicted of the murder of four young men in 2016. Three-part drama, co-written by Jeff Philomena Pope and co-starring Sheridan Smith.
David Hare’s political thriller casts Hugh Laurie as a narcissistic Tory minister attempting to out-run revelations about his private life. Unlikely to help the Beeb’s ongoing spat with Boris Johnson’s Government. Helen McCrory plays the PM.
Mike (Doctor Foster) Bartlett’s multi-stranded drama follows the ups and downs of the seemingly ordinary residents sharing a four-flat house in Manchester. The ensemble cast is headed by the always wonderful Alison Steadman.
Tom Hollander and Saskia Reeves play the mismatched couple at the centre of this four-part adaptation of David Nicholls’s hugely popular comic novel. The Killing’s Sofie Gråbøl also stars.
Al Pacino stars in Hunters. This Nazi-hunter drama from Oscar-winning Jordan (Get Out) Peele is set in 1977 New York as a plot is uncovered to create a Fourth Reich in the US
Tom Hollander and Saskia Reeves in Us. They play the mismatched couple at the centre of this four-part adaptation of David Nicholls’s hugely popular comic novel
27. The North Water
BBC2, late 2020
Period thriller charting an ill-fated 19th-century whaling expedition to the Arctic. On board are a murderous psychopath and enough harpoons to last all four episodes. The top-notch, male-dominated cast includes Colin Farrell, Stephen Graham and Tom Courtenay.
28. McDonald and Dodds
TV’s latest crime-fighting duo comprises fiercely ambitious DCI McDonald (newcomer Tala Gouveia) and quietly modest DS Dodds (Jason Watkins), who are thrown together on the mean streets of Bath. Also starring Robert Lindsay and Joanna Scanlan.
Amazon Prime, 2020
This Nazi-hunter drama from Oscar-winning Jordan (Get Out) Peele is set in 1977 New York as a plot is uncovered to create a Fourth Reich in the US. Al Pacino makes his starring TV debut at the grand old age of 79.
30. Truth Seekers
Amazon Prime, 2020
The X-Files this decidedly ain’t as Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play a pair of part-time paranormal investigators for an online TV channel. The eight-part horror comedy also stars Malcolm McDowell and Julian Barratt.
31. Pet Shop Boys
Out January 24
Whatever else is happening in the world, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe just keep doing their thing. Their 14th studio album will be followed by a greatest hits tour from May 28 to June 6.
Three years after Dua Lipa’s self-titled debut, which sold 1.2 million copies worldwide, the pop star is back with the follow-up
32. The Boomtown Rats
Citizens Of Boomtown
Out March 13
In 1977 the Rats blazed a trail for The Clash by blending punk with classic rock. By 1984 they were a spent force, and then Bob Geldof started Band Aid, which took over his life. Now they return with Citizens Of Boomtown, their first new album for 36 years. If you’d rather hear the hits, there’s a tour from March 26 to May 2.
IT’S A FACT
When she was 11, Dua Lipa was told by her choir teacher that she couldn’t sing. Seven years later she signed her first recording contract.
33. Ren Harvieu
Revel In The Drama
Out April 3
She came from Salford, released a gorgeous debut album and then disappeared. After seven years of hard knocks, ranging from being dropped by her record company to breaking her spine, the mistress of melodrama is back.
34. Dua Lipa
Three years after her self-titled debut, which sold 1.2 million copies worldwide, the pop star is back with the follow-up. Entitled Future Nostalgia, it was apparently inspired by Gwen Stefani, Madonna, Moloko, Blondie and OutKast. The tour of the same name runs from May 26 to June 15.
Untitled new album
Out early summer
It’s all happening for the Mael brothers in 2020. There’s a documentary about them by Edgar Wright, who used music so well in his film Baby Driver. They’ve written a movie themselves, a musical called Annette, starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. And they have a new album, which is sure to be quirky, fizzy and witty.
Tim de Lisle
36. Eric Clapton And Friends
Eventim Apollo, London, February 17
An evening in memory of Ginger Baker, the late, great, pyrotechnic drummer who joined Clapton in Cream and Blind Faith. Eight days later, at the London Palladium, Mick Fleetwood leads a tribute to another giant of that generation, Peter Green, the guitarist who co-founded Fleetwood Mac with him. The twist is that Green is still alive.
Stormzy begins a European tour in Brussels next month, reaching the UK in September
Diana Ross in 1974 – she will perform at the Glastonbury festival this summer. Paul McCartney headlines
37. Bryan Ferry
Touring March 3-13
His fans would love to see one last tour from Roxy Music, but these days Ferry just wants to be alone. The consolation is that his set list is two-thirds Roxy, all the way from Virginia Plain to Avalon. An album, Live At The Royal Albert Hall, 1974, arrives on February 7.
38. The Pussycat Dolls
Touring April 6-19
Every band reunites in the end, with the possible exception of The Smiths and Talking Heads. The Pussycat Dolls are back together after a decade-long hiatus – although we’ve seen more of Nicole Scherzinger in that time than we ever did before.
Taylor Swift will be among the younger acts playing at Glastonbury this coming summer
39. Harry Styles
Touring April 15-26
His first solo tour was a let-down, but since then the dishiest member of One Direction has proved himself a proper pop star – camp, cartoonish and endlessly willing to be silly.
40. Glastonbury Festival
Pilton, Somerset, June 24-28
Last year, music’s greatest festival gave the golden oldies the cold shoulder. This time, to celebrate its 50th birthday, it welcomes two people who were superstars before it began: Paul McCartney as the Saturday headliner, and Diana Ross in the Sunday-teatime legend slot, ahead of her solo tour (June 30 to July 19). Younger acts will be available, including Taylor Swift as the Sunday headliner.
41. Randy Newman
Touring June 7-10
The gig I’m most looking forward to in 2020. At times it will be like an evening with Jonathan Swift, gleaming with scornful intelligence. Then, once we’ve been softened up, there will be the sudden beauty of Feels Like Home, and a big singalong on You’ve Got A Friend In Me.
42. Billie Eilish
Touring July 21-30
This girl is a star, and she’s only 18. Her first big UK tour consists of seven dates, all sold out, including four at the O2 in London.
Billie Eilish. This girl is a star, and she’s only 18. Her first big UK tour consists of seven dates, all sold out, including four at the O2 in London
43. Eagles: Hotel California
Wembley Stadium, London, August 29 & 30
Until last year, the Eagles had never performed their most famous album in full. They premiered it, only 43 years late, in Las Vegas, backed by an orchestra and choir, and it made a magical evening. I had never seen so many songs receive a standing ovation.
Touring September 2-22
The biggest figure in British black music inspires so much admiration that plenty of fans won’t wait until late summer to catch him – they’ll be on the Eurostar for the start of his European tour in Brussels in February. See you there.
45. Elton John
Touring November 2 to December 17
The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour may well be the longest goodbye in pop history. Two years after it began, it comes to a close – allegedly – with 23 shows in British and Irish arenas, including no fewer than nine at the O2 in London. There may well be tantrums; there will surely be tears.
Tim de Lisle
46. Uncle Vanya
Harold Pinter Theatre, London
January 14 to May 2
Chekhov’s hilarious, heartbreaking play of hidden passions set on a crumbling country estate stars Toby Jones in the title role, alongside Richard Armitage (as Astrov), Dearbhla Molloy and Ciarán Hinds. The new adaptation is by Conor McPherson, writer of Girl From The North Country, currently in the West End.
47. Kunene And The King
Ambassadors Theatre, London
January 24 to March 28
Set in modern South Africa, this richly humane play is written by the country’s veteran actor John Kani, who appears as the black, at-home nurse looking after a cantankerous, white, terminally ill Shakespearean actor played by Antony Sher.
Mark Rylance in Semmelweis. The Oscar-winner stars in the new play about a 19th-century Hungarian doctor who utterly disregarded medical convention and saved countless lives
David Mitchell leaps off the telly to make his West End debut in his role as Shakespeare in Ben Elton’s stage adaptation of his own hit BBC sitcom, Upstart Crow
Wyndham’s Theatre, London
January 25 to June 13
Any new play by the great Sir Tom Stoppard, now 82, is an event. Directed by Patrick Marber, this is a tragi-comic panorama of the life of Vienna’s doomed Jews in the first half of the last century. The cast features Adrian Scarborough and Stoppard’s son, Ed.
The Old Vic, London
January 27 to March 28
How far from Harry Potter can you get? Daniel Radcliffe stars in Samuel Beckett’s weird and wonderful play as Clov, the servant to Alan Cumming’s wheelchair bound and blind Hamm, and his legless parents who live in dustbins! It’s part of a double-bill with another Beckett short, Rough For Theatre II.
Jessica Chastain makes her West End debut in A Doll’s House. The play is Ibsen’s early feminist masterpiece
50. Upstart Crow
Gielgud Theatre, London
February 7 to April 25
David Mitchell leaps off the telly to make his West End debut in his role as Shakespeare in Ben Elton’s stage adaptation of his own hit BBC sitcom. We meet Mitchell’s baldy Bard aged 40 and desperate for a hit, set in full authentic Elizabethan period but without the smells. Gemma Whelan also stars.
IT’S A FACT
Of the six signatures of the Bard believed to be in his handwriting, not one spells his name, ‘William Shakespeare’.
51. The Seven Streams Of The River
Ota Lyttelton stage, National Theatre, London
A rare chance for buffs to see one of the great theatre events of the Nineties by the French-Canadian director Robert Lepage and his company. This meandering epic starts with the bombing of Hiroshima and expands into a mushroom cloud of theatrical magic. Seven hours long – including several breaks – but utterly worth it.
52. A Doll’s House
Playhouse Theatre, London
June 10 to September 5
The brilliant film star Jessica Chastain – star of The Help and Zero Dark Thirty – makes her West End debut in Ibsen’s early feminist masterpiece. She plays Nora, the mother who finally slams the door on her husband and kids. Jamie Lloyd directs.
Bristol Old Vic
June 13 to July 25
Oscar-winner Mark Rylance makes his Bristol debut with a new play about a 19th-century Hungarian doctor who utterly disregarded medical convention and saved countless lives. The play is a collaboration between writer Stephen Brown, Rylance and director Tom Morris.
John Kani plays opposite Antony Sher in Kunene And The King. The play runs from January 24 to March 28
Julian Clary and Matthew Kelly in The Dresser, Ronald Harwood’s affectionate, nostalgic backstage play set in wartime Britain
54. Life Of Pi
Wyndham’s Theatre, London
June 28 to October 4
The next War Horse has arrived! Expect superb puppetry and video wizardry in this tale – which transfers from Sheffield – about a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, a tiger and a 16-year-old boy, all stuck on a lifeboat in this extraordinary multi-media adaptation of Yann Martel’s best-selling novel.
55. The Dresser
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, and Theatre Royal, Bath
September 10-19 and 21-26
‘Lord of the Mince’ Julian Clary stars as Norman, the prissy assistant to an old ham actor called ‘Sir’ (Matthew Kelly), on a tatty tour of King Lear in Ronald Harwood’s affectionate, nostalgic backstage play set in wartime Britain.
56. The Prince Of Egypt
Dominion Theatre, London
February 5 to September 12
British premiere of the stage musical version of the animated 1998 film about Moses and the Children of Israel. Stephen Schwartz – who wrote Wicked and Godspell – has composed new songs, but the show has five from the film, including When You Believe.
Back To The Future arrives in Manchester next month. The musical of the 1985 film classic is arriving, with music and lyrics by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard, in a score that includes the movie’s iconic numbers The Power Of Love and Johnny B Goode
Rebecca Trehearn in City Of Angels. This acclaimed Humphrey Bogart-era movie musical, partly staged in black and white, is about a Hollywood writer caught up in his own film noir
Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Saunders in Sister Act. Ticket prices are sky-high but this is a rare chance to see Whoopi Goldberg live in a revival of a show first seen in London in 2009
57. BE MORE CHILL
The Other Palace, London
February 12 to May 3
A cult hit Broadway musical with a huge teen following. It’s about a boy – the school dork – who takes a pill to make himself popular. The much-streamed score has music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and a cast that includes Renee Lamb and Millie O’Connell, two former queens from the hit musical Six.
58. Pretty Woman
Piccadilly Theatre, London
February 13 to January 2, 2021
Walking down the street is this musical transfer from Broadway of the 1990 Julia Roberts film about a beautiful prostitute and her super-rich client played by Richard Gere. It has an original score co-written by Bryan Adams and it’s staged and choreographed by Kinky Boots director Jerry Mitchell.
59. Back To The Future
Manchester Opera House
February 20 to May 17
Fire up the DeLorean! The musical of the 1985 film classic is arriving, with music and lyrics by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard, in a score that includes the movie’s iconic numbers The Power Of Love and Johnny B Goode. The film’s writer, Bob Gale, is also on board.
60. City Of Angels
Garrick Theatre, London
March 5 to September 5
This acclaimed Humphrey Bogart-era movie musical, partly staged in black and white, is about a Hollywood writer caught up in his own film noir. The 2014 West End staging won two Olivier Awards, so this year’s cast, including Hadley Fraser, Rosalie Craig and Rebecca Trehearn, have a lot to live up to.
61. Sunday In The Park With George
Savoy Theatre, London
June 11 to September 5
Hollywood’s Jake Gyllenhaal plays the French painter Georges Seurat and Annaleigh Ashford his lover, Dot, in Stephen Sondheim’s great 1984 musical. This acclaimed production was first seen in New York in 2017.
62. Our Man In Havana
Watermill Theatre, Berkshire
June 11 to July 25
This alluring small-scale show comes with Cuban-inspired songs written by Ben Morales Frost and Richard Hough. It’s based on Graham Greene’s delightful 1958 novel about a vacuum-cleaner salesman caught up in Cuba on the brink of its revolution.
63. Sister Act
Hammersmith Apollo, London
July 29 to August 30
Ticket prices are sky-high but this is a rare chance to see Whoopi Goldberg live in a revival of a show first seen in London in 2009. Goldberg reprises her film role as Deloris, a lounge singer forced to join a convent, and Jennifer Saunders plays the Mother Superior. The original score is by the multi-Oscar-winning Alan Menken.
64. Hello, Dolly!
Adelphi Theatre, London
August 11 to March 6, 2021
Imelda Staunton is back where she belongs… on stage playing matchmaker Dolly in this bubbling Sixties musical by Jerry Herman. It’s directed by Dominic Cooke, who is reunited with Staunton, after the hit Follies at the National Theatre.
65. The Drifters Girl
Theatre Royal, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Garrick Theatre, London
September 5-19 and October 1 to February 13, 2021
Queen of British soul Beverley Knight stars in this musical tribute to Faye Treadwell, the legendary manager who turned the Fifties band into a worldwide sensation. Expect every hit in The Drifters’ mighty playbook.
66. Strictly Come Dancing Live
Touring January 16 to February 9
The much-loved 2018 winner Stacey Dooley hosts another arena edition of the hit television show, with a line-up of contestants including Saffron Barker and current champion Kelvin Fletcher. Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas are their eagle-eyed judges.
Nestor Garcia Gonzalez in Message In A Bottle at the Peacock Theatre, running from February 6 to March 21
67. Message In A Bottle
Peacock Theatre, London
February 6 to March 21
ZooNation’s Kate Prince, creator of Some Like It Hip Hop and Into The Hoods, has taken Sting’s songbook as inspiration for her high-octane new show about a village under siege and fighting back.
Sadler’s Wells, London
After his success with Giselle, the brilliant choreographer Akram Khan returns to English National Ballet with what promises to be a radically different adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Gothic thriller, Frankenstein.
69. The Dante Project
Royal Opera House, London
May 6 to June 1
A hugely ambitious project choreographed by Wayne McGregor, based on Dante’s medieval epic poem The Divine Comedy. Edward Watson leads a cast of the Royal Ballet’s finest dancers, including Francesca Hayward and Matthew Ball.
Stacey Dooley hosts Strictly Come Dancing Live. The much-loved 2018 winner hosts another arena edition of the hit television show
70. Don Quixote
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s new director, Carlos Acosta, inaugurates his regime by importing his much–acclaimed production of this romantic comedy spectacular, with the original choreography by Marius Petipa and new designs by Tim Hatley.
71. Alexei Sayle
Touring January 31 to April 7
The Scouse hardman of Eighties alternative comedy may look avuncular now that he’s well into his 60s, but he still packs a fearsome political punch in his first tour since 2013.
Steve Martin and Martin Short have been ribbing each other since starring in Three Amigos in 1986. Now they visit the ‘comedy motherland’ with their double act, putting Hollywood in the firing line before turning on each other
Rob Brydon. The cheesy patter merchant – and Gavin And Stacey star – backed by an eight-piece band, serves up songs from Sondheim to Simon, interspersed with stories and impressions
72. Leicester Comedy Festival
England’s biggest laugh-in runs for three weeks with acts of the calibre of Stewart Lee, Rhod Gilbert, Jo Brand, Milton Jones, Griff Rhys Jones and not forgetting the annual UK Pun Championships.
73. Rob Brydon
Touring February 26 to April 30
The cheesy patter merchant – and Gavin And Stacey star – backed by an eight-piece band, serves up songs from Sondheim to Simon, interspersed with stories and impressions.
IT’S A FACT
If a person laughs so much that they fall unconscious, there’s a medical term for that: Lachschlaganfall.
74. Steve Martin & Martin Short
Touring March 9 to 15
The Martins have been ribbing each other since starring in Three Amigos in 1986. Now they visit the ‘comedy motherland’ with their double act, putting Hollywood in the firing line before turning on each other.
75. Tim Vine Is Plastic Elvis
Touring May 1-June 30
Leaving aside his rata-tat, one-liner pun gun, Vine invents a new genre as tribute act meets comedy in this concert dedicated to the King. Uh-huh-huh.
76. Groupthink: A Study In Self Delusion
Bloomsbury £20, out March 19
According to the late journalist, ‘groupthink’ involves the adoption of a common belief not based on the truth; the establishment of a consensus of an in-group of ‘right-minded’ people, and the need to condemn the views of dissenters. Sound at all familiar? Booker investigates the disastrous impact on society of the rise of groupthink.
Disgraced media tycoon Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991. Maxwell disappeared from his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, named after his daughter. His body was found in the water
Cher in 1978. The singer and Hollywood star announced in 2018 that she was working on a memoir and said: ‘It’s going to take me a while because I have a lot to tell.’ She’s not wrong
Victoria Wood: The Authorised Biography. It’s being written by journalist Jasper Rees with ‘the exclusive authority and full co-operation’ of Wood’s family
77. The Ratline
W&N £20, out April 23
Otto von Wächter was a Nazi politician and high-ranking member of the SS. Wanted for mass murder, he went on the run after the war and died under strange circumstances in Rome in 1949. Sands, a law professor who won the Baillie Gifford Prize for East West Street, uncovers the secrets of the Nazi’s days as a fugitive in this book based on his compelling podcast of the same name.
78. Fall: The Last Days of Robert Maxwell
Viking £18.99, out July 16
The author of the acclaimed A Very English Scandal, about Jeremy Thorpe and his trial for conspiracy to murder, turns his attention to another controversial figure, media tycoon and fraudster Robert Maxwell. Maxwell disappeared from his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, named after his daughter, in November 1991. His body was found in the water. Accidental death… apparently.
79. Victoria Wood: The Authorised Biography
Trapeze £20, out October 29
This biography of the beloved writer, actor and comedian – creator of Acorn Antiques and Dinnerladies, winner of four Baftas and subject of two South Bank Show profiles – who died of cancer in 2016 was the subject of a nine-way auction between publishers. It’s being written by journalist Rees with ‘the exclusive authority and full co-operation’ of Wood’s family.
80. Cher memoir
HarperCollins, price and release date to be confirmed
The singer and Hollywood star announced in 2018 that she was working on a memoir and said: ‘It’s going to take me a while because I have a lot to tell.’ She’s not wrong. There’s her award-laden, six-decade career in music and film; marriages to Sonny Bono and Gregg Allman; flings with Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer; and the fact that she is, by her own admission, ‘the poster girl for plastic surgery’.
81. The Mirror And The Light
Fourth Estate £25, out March 5
The final instalment of Mantel’s immersive Wolf Hall trilogy was originally slated for 2014, and she’s spoken candidly about the pressure she’s felt under to get it right. At nearly 900 pages, it seems well worth the wait, promising electrifying drama as the last four years of Thomas Cromwell’s incredible life play out amid the treachery and intrigue of the Tudor court.
82. This Lovely City
HQ £12.99, out March 12
Snapped up for a six-figure advance, this atmospheric debut novel is set in Fifties Brixton where musician/postman Lawrie, who arrived from the Caribbean aboard the Windrush, makes a grim discovery on Clapham Common one misty morning. The ensuing mystery is a twisty delight, offering a timely illumination of enduring cultural tensions.
83. Utopia Avenue
Sceptre £20, out June 2
After six years, the Cloud Atlas author returns with a portrait of ‘the strangest British band you’ve never heard of’, a bunch of Sixties rockers who release only two LPs, but whose dizzying rise and precipitous plummet pose questions about whether we can change the world, or whether it’s the world that changes us.
84. The Lying Life Of Adults
Europa £20, out June 9
Ferrante’s first new work of fiction in five years weaves a tale of adolescent rebellion, set against the same Neapolitan backdrop as her cult quartet. It opens in the early Nineties, when an overheard comment inspires 12-year-old Giovanna to track down her mysterious aunt Vittoria, teeing up a reprise of some of the novelist’s best-loved themes.
85. Just Like You
Viking £16.99, out September 17
Hornby’s first new novel in six years sets out to probe the truth of that hoary old saying, opposites attract. Having built a life with someone the same age, and who shares the exact same background and interests, the protagonist is about to fall head over heels in love with someone utterly different. Expect a story that’s sharply observed and full of heart.
Neil Armstrong and Hephzibah Anderson
Touring January 11-25
The guitarist from Montenegro withdrew from public performances in 2016 because of problems with his hand but has since returned with a hit album, Sound Of Silence, which he is touring. While his choice of some popular pieces can be baffling, his technique is unquestionable.
Chewbacca, Princess Leia, C-3PO, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in 1983’s Return Of The Jedi
Royal Opera House, London, March 1-17
Jonas Kaufmann takes on the role of Florestan in Beethoven’s only opera, in the composer’s bicentenary year. With Royal Opera Music director Antonio Pappano conducting, it should be an early spring treat.
88. Joseph Calleja
London Palladium, March 3
I have long spoken openly about how the Maltese tenor and our own Mansfield mezzo Carly Paoli should sing together. And it has come to pass, as Carly joins Joseph for a Radio 2 night of popular classics such as Strangers In The Night, Moon River and Music Of The Night.
89. Dialogues des Carmelites
Glyndebourne, May 21 to July 19
Barrie Kosky’s Glyndebourne Saul was superb five years ago and, in his first production there since then, he opens the festival with Poulenc’s opera about the Martyrs of Compiègne. Danielle de Niese in the role of Blanche adds to its pulling power.
90. Return Of The Jedi
Royal Albert Hall, London, October 23-25
John Williams’s music sounds wonderful in the Royal Albert Hall, as evidenced by the screening of ET there last month accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra. This time, the London Symphony Orchestra – the band on the original Star Wars films – play along as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader have their final showdown in Return Of The Jedi.
91. Naum Gabo
Tate St Ives, January 25 to May 3
The revolutionary Russian sculptor Naum Gabo ought to be perfect for St Ives with his weightless explorations of space freed from mass. Worth a trip down to this beautiful gallery.
Ladies And Gentlemen: Alphanso Panell by Andy Warhol. Warhol is an artist who redefined how we thought of art
Gregory by David Hockney, 1982. Hockney is the best draftsman of his generation, and one who has used it most wittily and with most thought
92. Young Rembrandt
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford February 27 to June 7
Rembrandt died in autumn 1669 so this is a little late for the 350th anniversary, but no year should be without Rembrandt. His late works are so great that sometimes we forget the charm, power and magical uniqueness that was there from the very start of his career.
93. David Hockney: Drawing From Life
National Portrait Gallery, London February 27 to June 28
Hockney is the best draftsman of his generation, and one who has used it most wittily and with most thought. Combine this enticing show with a trip to Glyndebourne to see a revival of the greatest of his stage designs, for Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.
94. Aubrey Beardsley
Tate Britain, London March 4 to May 25
Aubrey Beardsley is an artist that each generation rediscovers for itself. This very full exhibition will bring new admirers to his corrupt, morbid, exquisitely controlled world of still shocking images.
IT’S A FACT
Only nine people attended the premiere of Andy Warhol’s movie Sleep – and two walked out. The film showed a man sleeping… for five hours.
95. Andy Warhol
Tate Modern, London March 12 to September 6
Warhol is an artist who redefined how we thought of art, a man who – as Elton John reminds us in his new autobiography – was never without a camera. We can resist him but he’s not going away.
96. Titian: Love, Desire, Death
National Gallery, London March 16 to June 14
Titian is the embodiment of the Venetian Renaissance, with his devotion to colour, texture and the sensuous excitements of myth. The National Gallery’s show reunites a cycle of six mythological ‘poesie’, not seen together for centuries.
National Gallery, London April 4 to July 26
Artemisia Gentileschi is one of very few first-rate women artists from before the 19th century. With an astonishing and compelling personal story and superb, original abilities, she deserves a substantial exhibition.
98. The Box, Plymouth Opens in the spring
Plymouth is getting a new museum to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage to America. It’s going to be big, ambitious, confident, and an exciting space that will take a few years to develop its own character.
99. Marina Abramovic: After Life
Royal Academy Of Arts, London September 26 to December 8
Abramovic is the creator of high-intensity emotional events – an air of danger hangs over her happenings, and some have had to be prematurely closed because of physical danger, or proceedings threatening to spiral out of control. This is going to be a compelling high-wire ride.
100. Epic Iran
Victoria & Albert Museum, London October 17 to May 3, 2021
Iran might be the major world civilisation now most closed to us, so few of us have had the opportunity to see the great masterpieces of millennia until now.