Alex’s End of Year Prizes 2015

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It’s Boxing Day! Which means a couple of things – firstly, cold meat and pickles in endless bounty (YAY). And secondly, also means it’s time for me to hand out my second annual End of Year Prizes on this here blog.

Unbelievably it’s now been a whole 12 months since we last handed them out, so grab some more Roses/Quality Street and a cuppa, and pull up a chair/sofa as I hand out my prizes to the great and good I’ve loved in music, telly, books and film this last year…

MAN OF THE YEAR and STYLE ICON

And the winner is… OLLY MURS!

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For the second year running, Mr Murs takes home my ‘Man of the Year’ prize, and what a year to take it on, with a world tour, presenting X Factor, a new album, a book, singles galore and numerous events (most of which I’ve NOT been at. I jest of course!) packing his schedule but he has more than proved that he’s at the top of his game and still incredibly grounded with all he has achieved. He also takes home the Style Icon prize for his many dapper turns whilst hosting X Factor…nice one Murs!

WOMAN OF THE YEAR

And the winner is… NIGELLA LAWSON!

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After a lengthy absence from our screens and cookbook shelves, in which time everyone (not these quarters, mind) got obsessed with the smug bravado of MasterChef and the ‘soggy bottom’ hype of The Great British Bake Off, Nigella returned this year with easily her best series and book to date in ‘Simply Nigella’. Simple in both title and execution, but utterly delightful as always, and a pleasure to have her back.

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

And the winner is (or should I say are)…LITTLE MIX for ‘Black Magic’!

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Since winning X Factor four years ago, the Little Mix ladies have quietly become a real pop force to be reckoned with, with three awesome albums now to their credit. They cemented their position as the girl group of the hour by spending three weeks at the top of the UK chart this summer with a big chorused, melodic and upbeat offering of 80’s disco pop that’s sure to be a classic in years to come.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

And the winners are…YEARS & YEARS for ‘Communion’!

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Fronted by the haunting, charismatic vocals of Olly Alexander, electro-soul three piece Years & Years started 2015 as the annual ‘BBC Sound of’ poll winners, and bucked trend by being the first winner of that poll since Little Boots to not be awful. Their debut album boasted two of this year’s best pop singles in chart topping ‘King’ and also brilliant ‘Shine’, and we’re sure there’s gonna be more of this to come from them in 2016.

FILM OF THE YEAR

And the winner is…MINIONS!

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Having cemented themselves as the true stars of both the ‘Despicable Me’ films, three of the cutest, funniest and darn right silliest yellow creatures from those films – Kevin, Stuart and Bob (sorry. KING BOOOOOOB!) took over the big screen this year with their own spin off movie, and what a hoot it was, with brilliant star turns from Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm as well.

ACTOR OF THE YEAR

And the winner is…MIRANDA HART!

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Whilst we sadly started 2015 waving goodbye to her much loved BBC sitcom (but happily so, as her and Gary finally tied the knot. Captain Fun Times!), this year saw Miranda make her big screen Hollywood debut in the brilliant action comedy caper ‘Spy’ alongside Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham. It proved there was more to her talents than fruit friends and falling expertly over a pile of boxes, and is hopefully the start of even more promising things for her film career.

BOOK OF THE YEAR

And the winner is… GIOVANNA FLETCHER for ‘Dream a Little Dream’!

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Not only one of the most brilliant vloggers around with her weekly ‘Dear Carrie’ entries on YouTube, Giovanna Fletcher is a one woman writing tour-de-force, and her third novel, ‘Dream a Little Dream’, showcased the further development of her witty, heart warming and gorgeously romantic talents as an author. A must read.

TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

And the winner is…THE X FACTOR!

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It came in for its fair amount of (unnecessary) criticism this year – namely from people who comment on the Daily Mail. Tells you all you need to know – but returning to ‘The X Factor’ on our autumn weekends this year was our best telly watching decision we made. Olly & Caroline’s adorable ‘will they won’t they’ banter. Last year’s superb finalist Fleur East with THAT homecoming performance. Ché Chesterman’s mind blowing vocal turns. 4th Impact being generally amazing. And Reggie & Bollie? Nuff said.

SINGER OF THE YEAR

And the winner is…JAMIE LAWSON!

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As Ed Sheeran has now clocked off for a year’s break, it’s left a gap open which has rather handily come in the shape of the first signing to his new record label, Gingerbread Man. Plymouth born singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson is a well discovered signing – having already released three albums off his own back, his self titled fourth release soared straight to number one in October whilst the heart breakingly beautiful ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’ stormed the top 3.

BAND OF THE YEAR

And the winners are…COLDPLAY!

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It’s unbelievably been 15 years since Coldplay made their debut, but Britain’s biggest rock band of a generation went from strength to strength this year, releasing their 7th (and dazzling) new album ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ which raced to number one on iTunes in 23 different countries upon release. With another world tour in their diary for the new year, it’s safe to say Chris and the boys aren’t going anywhere else anytime soon.

COMEDIAN OF THE YEAR

And the winner is…RUSSELL HOWARD!

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Since coming to prominence as the dorkiest panellist on BBC2’s ‘Mock the Week’, Russell Howard has gone from strength to hilarious strength with his ‘Good News’ show on BBC Three – the most recent series of which, saw him do a hilarious rant in favour of junior doctors under pressure from NHS targets (if you haven’t seen it, YouTube it immediately). He’s also branched out into acting with his sister Kerry with the ‘Gert Lust’ series – Christmas special of which, incidentally, is on BBC2 tonight. A must watch!

COMEBACK OF 2015

And the winners are…THE CLANGERS!

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Proof that some things are just as good when bought back the second time round, Oliver Postgate’s charming, wittiest, wooliest and lo-tech creatures of outer space, The Clangers, were resurrected for a (now BAFTA winning) new series on CBeebies this year, lovingly narrated by Michael Palin, and thus introducing a new generation of viewers young and slightly less young (i.e. me) to the delights of music trees, hoots and blue string pudding. Long may their adventures continue to clog up storage space on my iPlayer app!

LEGEND OF 2015

And the winner is…CAROLINE FLACK!

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Reuniting with her TV (and, let’s be honest, should be real life also) husband Olly Murs as co-host of X Factor would have been enough to make Caroline our legend of 2015. But the former Strictly champ has equally dazzled this year, publishing her brilliant autobiography ‘Storm in a C Cup’, winning a Cosmopolitan award for TV Personality, having one of the most addictive, nay hilarious Instagram accounts, and also, more importantly, having AMAZING legs. Bravo Flackers, bravo indeed.

Big congratulations to all my prize winners this year, and a huge thank you to you for reading today and all of this year on this here blog. See you all in 2016!

Much love always,

Alex 😄 😄 😄 x x x

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