Alex’s End of Year Prizes 2017

Happy Boxing Day people!

Hope your Christmas is going spiffingly festive so far. It’s time, as always, for our annual End of Year Prizes for 2017. This is the time for us to hand out our awards to the great and good that we’ve loved in music, TV, film and books over the last 12 months.

This here blog – our last of the year – will be the place for you to find out who’s won what. And if that’s not enough, we find out who you, the readers of this here blog, have chosen as the winner of your first ever Reader’s Choice Award.

So go make yourself a cuppa/turkey sandwich, pour another mulled wine, or faceplant a tub of Celebrations, and let’s start giving out our #EndofYearPrizes2017


(Also nominated: Tom Fletcher / Richard Osman / Olly Murs / Dave Grohl)

Can it really be 12 months since one of our all time favourite Strictly contestants lifted the show’s 14th glitterball trophy with his professional partner Joanne Clifton? Well now, the man behind the show’s best Jive and American Smooth bar none has won our Man of the Year prize, after an incredible year that has seen him rule the airwaves on BBC Radio 2, host the brilliant Strictly podcast, and even take to the stage on Children in Need with this brilliant tribute to the legend that is Gene Kelly. And 2018 looks set to be another brilliant year for the man of multiple talents. Congratulations Ore!


(Also nominated: Miranda Hart / Giovanna Fletcher / Emma Thompson / Mollie King)

One half of Britain’s leading female double act – now 30 years into her career – Dawn has remained a comic legend, both with her work with comedy partner Jennifer Saunders, and now, this year, in her hilarious and moving one woman show, 30 Million Minutes, and also with the release of her brilliant, life affirming book Me · You, A Diary. Big well done from us Dawn!


(Also nominated: Ed Sheeran / Mollie King / Craig David / Olly Murs)

In a year when all of One Direction splintered off into solo ventures, there was one of their number who, undoubtedly, made the biggest impression of them all. With a string of hit singles like ‘Slow Hands’ and ‘Too Much to Ask’, and a brilliant solo album ‘Flicker’ (which topped the US Billboard chart) under his belt on both sides of the Atlantic, and an AMA and Radio 1 Teen Award to his credit, Niall’s star is going to keep rising for some time yet.


(Also nominated: Coldplay / The Vamps / Foo Fighters / The Corrs)

SINGLE OF THE YEAR – Steps – ‘Story of a Heart’

(Also nominated: Arcade Fire – ‘Everything Now’ / Mollie King – ‘Hair Down’ / Niall Horan – ‘Slow Hands’ / Ed Sheeran – ‘Castle on the Hill’)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Steps – ‘Tears on the Dancefloor’

(Also nominated: Ed Sheeran – ‘Divide’ / Niall Horan – Flicker / The Corrs – ‘Jupiter Calling’ / Una Healy – ‘The Waiting Game’)

In a year when the stock of out and out pop music was at its lowest, there was one band who you could count on to fly the flag high for it. Step forward (pardon the pun) Lee, Faye, H, Claire and Lisa – Steps – who celebrated their 20th anniversary in music this year, with a brilliant new album and some corking singles to boot – the second of which, ‘Story of a Heart’ in June proving to be the finest of all, a storming Scandopop belter written by Bjorn and Benny from ABBA. 5,6,7,8 – who do we appreciate?

LIVE ACT OF THE YEAR – Olly Murs (24 HRS Tour 2017)

(Also nominated: Una Healy – St Pancras Old Church, Album Launch / Busted – 15th Anniversary Concert, Royal Albert Hall / Craig David – Glastonbury 2017 / Foo Fighters – Glastonbury 2017)

A brand new award to the End of Year Prizes this year, honouring the music star we most enjoyed seeing live this year. Little surprise then, that it was the man we saw twice over the course of this year on the mammoth spring arena and summer open air gigs in support of his fourth number one album ’24 HRS’. Olly delivered with bells on for his best tour to date – our videos of the Bournemouth show of the tour we went to should give you an idea of why it was our favourite!

BOOK OF THE YEAR – Miranda Hart – ‘Miranda’s Daily Dose of Such Fun!’

(Also nominated: Richard Osman – ‘The World Cup of Everything’ / Giovanna Fletcher – ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’ / Mikael Lindnord – ‘Arthur: The Dog That Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home’ / Dawn French – ‘You · Me – A Diary’)

After just missing out on previous years we’ve done our End of Year Prizes for this award, finally it’s a Mira-cle for Miranda Hart, as she walks away with this year’s prize for our favourite book of 2017. Written to raise money for Comic Relief back in March, this day by day guide for each day of the year to make life ‘such fun’ and encourage positive mental well being can’t help but lift your mood when you read it. We’ve even done the blind gifting she suggested on one day!

TV SHOW OF THE YEAR – Michael McIntyre’s Big Show (BBC One)

(Also nominated: Strictly Come Dancing (BBC One) / All Gardens Great and Small (More4) / Joanna Lumley’s India (ITV) / Cold Feet (ITV))

Now into it’s third series, one of Britain’s best loved stand up comedians now wins his second End of Year Prize for his Big Show. Making Saturday just that bit more humorous with a mix of sidesplitting comedy, games, skits and music, it’s bought old fashioned variety back to primetime Saturday nights and it’s all the better for it.

FILM OF THE YEAR – Bridget Jones’ Baby

Yes, we know this came out in 2016 and not this year, but we only finally saw it this year so nyer. Twelve years on from Ms Jones’ last cinematic outing, Renée Zellweger – along with Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey – returned to the role that she continued to play with such adorable, klutzy but spirited verve, with a hilarious, touching and fabulous screenplay from her co-star Emma Thompson to boot. It also forever altered our ability to not refer to Ed Sheeran as ‘the Starbucks guy in Balham’.

ACTOR OF THE YEAR – Cel Spellman

There is unquestionably one role and one role alone that has made Cel Spellman the winner of this award from us this year – playing Matthew, the teenage son of Adam (James Nesbitt) in the second revived series of the hit ITV drama Cold Feet. His storyline on the show this year involving a teenage pregnancy was so sensitively and beautifully handled (we cried a lot, put it that way), and he is fast proving himself to be one of Britain’s brightest young acting hopes, at home in both drama and comedic roles.


In a year where the news has got increasingly depressing to read and hear about, thank God for Australia’s finest export since Kylie, in the shape of the comedian and presenter who tries to make sense of it all, on Channel 4’s light hearted weekly look at the news in The Last Leg. Adam has equally proved himself just as at home on stand up – his brilliant sketch from Live at the Apollo highlighting this.

COMEBACK OF 2017 – Bananarama

It’s fair to say 2017 has been the year of 80s revivals, and they haven’t come bigger or better than the full scale reunion tour and greatest hits album from the original line up (Sara, Karen and Siobhan) of that decade’s most successful girl group by far. Still rocking it with their hip, sassy and knowing attitude and grit, Bananarama put what remains of today’s girl groups in the shade – and their biggest hits have remained supremely awesome. Yeah baby, they’ve still got it.


Another brand new award for this year’s prizes, given especially to an act we think are going to be huge in 2018. The runaway winners of this year’s series of The X Factor, Myles, Jamaal, Ashley and Mustafa are Watford based man band Rak-Su. Friends since childhood, they won us over completely with their self penned songs they performed on the show like ‘Mamacita’, and their debut single ‘Dimelo’ – a collaboration with Naughty Boy and Wyclef Jean which, by peaking at #2 on the UK charts so far, has already become one of the most successful and original winner’s singles of such a show in recent years. Their infectious camaraderie and winning blend of pop, R&B, hip hop and Latino is sure to be one of the sounds of the coming year.


We first introduced this special prize last year, to honour a great name from the public eye whom we sadly lost this year. In August, Sir Bruce Forsyth, one of the nation’s best loved entertainers for 75 years, from the London Palladium, to the Generation Game, to Strictly Come Dancing, passed away at the age of 89. His mark on the world of entertainment will never be forgotten, and it only felt fitting the prize was given to him. Here, again, is the beautiful tribute to him performed on this year’s Strictly launch show.

And so, to our final prize – our first ever Reader’s Choice Award, where you, the readers of this blog, got to pick your favourite from a shortlist to win a prize entirely voted for by you. We have had over a hundred votes cast in the last three weeks since we opened the vote for this award. Although initially a two horse race between two names in particular, one nominee started lapping up the votes left, right and centre last week, and we now have your winner…


(Also nominated: Ore Oduba / Giovanna Fletcher / Miranda Hart / Olly Murs)

With a whopping 45% of the final vote, the man with the answers on our favourite game show Pointless, Richard Osman, is your first ever Reader’s Choice Award winner. This year has seen Richard also host a new show, the brilliant House of Games for BBC Two – which returns for a new run in 2018 – and publish The World Cup of Everything, his brilliant book dissecting, by process of elimination, the best in everything, from biscuits to Christmas films. A very worthy winner for that alone – even if it has ignited the age old ‘Is a Jaffa Cake a cake?’ debate again.

Massive congratulations to all our winners this year – and thank you so much everyone who has read along, commented or liked any of my blogs this year. More of the same to come in 2018, we will return on New Year’s Day. See you all then!



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