Alex’s End of Year Prizes 2015

image

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!

image

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!

image

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’!

image

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’!

image

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!

image

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!

image

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’!

image

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!

image

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!

image

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!

image

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!

image

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!

image

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!

image

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

Advertisements

Alex’s End of Year Prizes 2014

Merry Christmas to you all! Hope you’re all having a great time so far and are eating, drinking and sharing with loved ones aplenty. (Here come the emojis 😄 🎄 🎁 🎀 ❄ 🎅 🐧)

2014 has been a busy and exciting year for me, and usually, those who’ve read my Facebook for the last five or six years will know that I focus on writing about my what-I-call ‘Personal Bests’. This is typically a rundown of my 50 best albums and 50 best singles of the year. Alas, I haven’t found near enough that amount of albums or singles to justify lists of that length this year.

Nonetheless, I did want to write some end of year pieces about not just my favourite music, but my favourite films, TV and books from the past year. So today, I am handing out these bad boys, I give you…

image

Yes. In something that I hope to become a broader, more annual tradition at this time of year, think of it as my equivalent of Smash Hits (RIP) Poll Winners Party crossed with the BRITs when it was good. So ladies and gentleman, please take your seats for our End of Year Prizes…

WOMAN OF THE YEAR

And the nominations are:

MIRANDA HART
CLAUDIA WINKLEMAN
CAROLINE FLACK
CHERYL
FRANKIE BRIDGE

And the winner is…

CAROLINE FLACK!

image

image

Xtra! Xtra! News…FLASH! Just a couple of weeks after she deservedly lifted the glitterball trophy on Strictly Come Dancing, our favourite presenter on the box Caroline’s had a pretty amazing year this year, and now, set for even more amazing achievements to come in 2015 she takes home our prize for ‘Woman of the Year’.

Our next award is a special prize, for:

COMEBACK OF 2014

This is an award with only one nominee, and thus one winner given in recognition of an outstanding comeback this year.

And the winner is…

S CLUB 7!

image

image

Over 10 years on from their split, the pop reunion we were really waiting for with the S Club gang finally happened as they brought it all back to us this year (see what we did there?) with a blast of a reunion performance on Children in Need in November. They’ll hit the road again in spring 2015 and we for one cannot wait. Ooh, ooh, it’s a party over here…

Our first film award is next…

FILM OF THE YEAR

And the nominations are:

MUPPETS MOST WANTED
THE LOVE PUNCH
SAVING MR BANKS
BEAUTIFUL LIES
BRAVE

And the winner is…

SAVING MR BANKS!

image
image

Based on the personal travails that P.L Travers, author of the original Mary Poppins books faced when Walt Disney was to turn her creation into the family favourite we all know and love, we’re shocked that neither Tom Hanks or Emma Thompson in their brilliant lead roles in this got a look in at the Oscars. Thankfully though this wonderful film gets a look in from us today.

Next up, our first music award:

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

And the nominations are:

CLEAN BANDIT AND JESS GLYNNE (for ‘Rather Be’)
ED SHEERAN (for ‘Sing’)
CHERYL AND TINIE TEMPAH (for ‘Crazy Stupid Love’)
MNEK (for ‘Wrote a Song About You’)
OLLY MURS AND TRAVIE MCCOY (for ‘Wrapped Up’)
McBUSTED (for ‘Air Guitar’)
GEORGE EZRA (for ‘Budapest’)
PHARRELL WILLIAMS (for ‘Happy’)
CHARLI XCX (for ‘Boom Clap’)
NICOLE SCHERZINGER (for ‘Your Love’)

And the winner is…

PHARRELL WILLIAMS for ‘Happy’!

image

image

Originally scooting in at #2 on the Christmas chart this time last year, it shot up to #1 across the globe in January, and ‘Happy’ hasn’t left the UK top 40 for the large majority of this year, selling over a million copies in this country alone. And, not only did it put Pharrell back on the map after a few years in producer wilderness, it offered a bright ray of sunshine in a chart landscape that was otherwise bereft of sunny, upbeat and well, ‘happy’ pop.

Next, we present another one nominee, one winner award…

BOOK OF THE YEAR

And the winner is…

DERMOT O’LEARY for ‘The Soundtrack to My Life’!

image

image

Most celeb biographies are badly written tosh. But not so Mr O’Leary, who gave us what we feel is easily the funniest, warmest and most candid read we’ve had all year, telling his life story to date through the medium of the music that has defined who he is as a person. It’s also the only book in living memory to make reference to both Terry Wogan and 90’s boyband 5ive. Go figure.

We’ve had our Woman of the Year, and with woman, must surely, come man…

MAN OF THE YEAR

And the nominations are:

PHARRELL WILLIAMS
OLLY MURS
JAMES CORDEN
JOHN BISHOP
MARVIN HUMES

And the winner is…

OLLY MURS!

image

image

Turning 30 this year. Releasing another brilliant new album with ‘Never Been Better’. Winning both a GQ award in Germany and Rear of the Year. But all of that pales in comparison to him receiving an End of Year Prize for Man of the Year, because he really is still the same man we first met five years ago. Don’t ever change Olls. Top geez!

Another music award is up next…

BAND OF THE YEAR

And the nominations are:

THE SATURDAYS
CLEAN BANDIT
COLDPLAY
McBUSTED
LOVEABLE ROGUES

And the winners are…

McBUSTED!

image

image

Combining the already brilliant McFly with the best members of their equally brilliant mentors and predocessors Busted at the end of last year proved to be a pop match made in heaven. Their supergroup tour was the stuff of legend among pop gig goers this year, packing the O2 out several times over as well as Hyde Park in the summer. They also made one of our favourite pop singles of the year with ‘Air Guitar’ and with another tour on the horizon in 2015, you can be assured that McBusted aren’t gonna stop anytime soon.

Time for another one nominee, one winner prize next…

COMEDIAN OF THE YEAR

And the winner is…

JOHN BISHOP!

image

image

Liverpool’s finest was still as riotously funny as ever this year, with another brilliant stand up tour to his name as well as captaining in a hilarious series of Olympic style challenges for Sport Relief. Not to mention as well what was one of the TV highlights of the year when he and our Man of the Year, Olly Murs, battled each other in a ‘Lipsync Off’ on his ITV special!

The penultimate music award is next up…

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

And the nominations are:

THE SCRIPT (for ‘No Sound Without Silence’)
OLLY MURS (for ‘Never Been Better’)
SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTOR (for ‘Wanderlust’)
PHARRELL WILLIAMS (for ‘Girl’)
COLDPLAY (for ‘Ghost Stories’)
GEORGE EZRA (for ‘Wanted on Voyage’)
ED SHEERAN (for ‘X’)
VARIOUS ARTISTS (for ‘BBC Radio 2 presents Sounds of the 80’s’)
ONEREPUBLIC (for ‘Native’)
LOVEABLE ROGUES (for ‘This ‘n That’)

And the winner is…

ED SHEERAN for ‘X’!

image

image

The biggest selling album of the year in the UK at a time when many were writing the album off as a format – and deservedly so too. Making an album that is quite possibly even better than his debut, Ed mixed it up a bit working with Pharrell Williams on chart topping ‘Sing’ whilst retaining his relatability and raw emotion on ‘Photograph’ and this album’s other big hit ‘Thinking Out Loud’. The most simple but effective pop album that continues to highlight what a true talent he is.

Another screen based prize is up next…

TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

And the nominations are:

BIRDS OF A FEATHER
STRICTLY COME DANCING
THE VOICE
THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW
ALAN CARR: CHATTY MAN

And the winner is…

THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW!

image

image

With so many chat shows on in the late evening slot, it’s Graham’s one on Friday nights that continues to shine above the rest – largely by having all his guests on at once, making for some televisual (and thus YouTube) gold. Want Miranda Hart rapping with Tinie Tempah? Jennifer Aniston presenting Olly Murs with a Rear of the Year award? Gary Barlow rapping to the Fresh Prince with actual Will Smith? Or Lee Mack chewing the cud with Cheryl over tattoos? Graham’s your man.

Last music award now, and it’s a biggie…

SOLO ARTIST OF THE YEAR

And the nominations are:

PHARRELL WILLIAMS
CHERYL
OLLY MURS
ED SHEERAN
NICOLE SCHERZINGER

And the winner is…

ED SHEERAN!

image

image

With his second prize of the year, Ed has gone from a small time busker to the biggest – but we must also say least starry (and we mean that in a nice way) – popstar on the planet. We always approve of any man who counts tea with Van Morrison as their highlight of the year. Hopefully winning an End of Year Prize from us is the icing on the cake for him.

Three more one nominee, one winner prizes to finish now. First up…

ACTOR OF THE YEAR

And the winner is…

EMMA THOMPSON!

image

image

Apart from being robbed of a look in at the Oscars this year that we mentioned earlier, the question is almost what is there about Ms. Thompson that makes her an unworthy winner? Not much, is the answer. Proving she can turn her hand so wittily from a very British, clipped role as P.L Travers to a riotously funny wife in ‘The Love Punch’, as well as being a great screenwriter and speech giver (look up on YouTube, if you will, her speech at the Empire magazine awards this year), I’m sure she’d express her thanks far greater than we ever could.

Now for the most refined prize of them all…

STYLE ICON OF 2014

And the winner is…

DAVID BECKHAM!

image

image

Mr Posh Spice has come a long way from the days of sarongs and buzz cuts and has very quietly become something of a real and very British style icon – perhaps nowhere more so this year than on his BBC documentary ‘Into the Unknown’, which saw him traversing into the wilds of South America pulling off a rugged biker look far better than we ever could. But for all our envy enduction it was inspiring for our wardrobe nonetheless, and for that we raise our hat to him.

Now for our final award, and it’s recognising an individual who has basically made our 2014 across all fields…

LEGEND OF 2014

And the winner is…

PHARRELL WILLIAMS!

image

image

As we sort of mentioned with the prize for ‘Happy’ earlier, Pharrell did that one thing this year that many people have tried to claim music and never will do – make the world a bit of a better place. But as the man himself says, ‘That which makes you different, is that which makes you special’.

He’s pushed boundaries not just in music but with his more philanthropic initiatives, namely his ‘i am OTHER’ foundation looking to give the next generation of ‘different’ in music, arts and fashion their big break. He continues to be an innovator in all senses of the word and for that, Mr Williams we salute you!

A big congratulations to all the prize winners, and thanks to all who’ve read my blog this last year. More of the same to come in 2015!

Much love,

Alex 😁 x