Tuesday, October 19

Heroes, villains and the best television: John Crace presents his awards for 2020 | Politics


In such an untiringly bleak year, one of its most uplifting characteristics has been the large number of people who have strived to make life as bearable and as normal as possible. From the NHS, home care and mental health workers to delivery drivers, store staff and waste pickers. My family, friends and colleagues have done more than their share to keep me more or less sane.

But there have been a few people who have stood out, and in most years the award would have gone to Captain Tom Moore, who set out to raise £ 1,000 by walking around his garden in the weeks leading up to his 100th birthday. He ended up raising almost £ 33 million and was rewarded with a knighthood.

Captain Sir Tom Moore receives his knighthood from the Queen
Captain Sir Tom Moore receives his knighthood from the Queen during a ceremony at Windsor Castle. Photograph: Chris Jackson / PA

However, the clear winners have to be the husband and wife German team of Dr. Uğur Şahin and Dr. Özlem Türeci, who founded the pharmaceutical company BioNTech that developed the first approved coronavirus vaccine. It is very important to know that your work could save the lives of millions of people.

Best TV Drama Series

Having spent most nights watching TV over the past 10 months, I feel better qualified than usual to receive this award, although there have been some tough decisions to make. I was late for the Succession and Ozark parties, so I had a lot to catch up on when they entered their second and third series respectively. I also loved The Queen’s Gambit, and The Undoing was set to be in my top five until the very last episode. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t finished the series yet, but the reasons will probably be pretty obvious to anyone who has.

But my big favorite was the fifth and penultimate series of Better Call Saul, the prequel to Breaking Bad, with Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill / Saul Goodman. I’ve been watching the series from the beginning and the way it has built up tension as events draw closer to the beginning of Breaking Bad has been a storytelling masterpiece. I’m also desperate to find out what happens to Kim Wexler, as she doesn’t appear in the first Breaking Bad series …

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill / Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul, season four.
Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill / Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul, a masterpiece of storytelling. Photograph: Nicole Wilder / AMC / Sony / Kobal / Rex / Shutterstock

Best Documentary Series

Once again, I have had many options. Devon and Cornwall, a thriving series showing nice people doing nice things in Devon and Cornwall, was the perfect television. Like This Farming Life, which followed the lives of farmers in Scotland and the north of England throughout the year. It also featured a lot of dogs, which is a huge plus for any TV show.

But my first choice has to be the fourth series of The Crown for not being wrong and never mixing timelines or using artistic licenses to enhance the drama. So it was fascinating to learn for the first time the royal conversation Michael Fagan had with the Queen when he broke into Buckingham Palace.

And it was strange to discover that Diana went out with the Duke of Edinburgh on his first trip to Balmoral to kill a wounded deer. In a simple drama series, that could easily have been mistaken for a metaphor of Diana being hunted by the royal family as a wife sacrificed by Prince Charles.

Driver of the year

It would be too easy to nominate Lewis Hamilton, who has now won more grand prix than any other racing driver and has equaled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world championship victories. But for true talent behind the wheel, the award must go to Dominic Cummings. Most of the people who were recovering from the coronavirus and had vision problems could have asked someone else to take them to the nearest optician. But not our Dom. He did it the hard way by going on an hour-long round trip to Barnard Castle with himself in the driver’s seat, straining his eyes not to push out pedestrians or slide sideways. bicyclists and avoid heading into oncoming traffic. And from what we know, he perfectly completed his vision test without detecting a scratch on the paint. That is what I call real talent.

Travel agent of the year

Let’s face it, it hasn’t been a great year to take a vacation. In early summer we had already canceled a trip to America to see our daughter and one to Spain to stay with friends, but no one did more to spoil his own vacation than Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps who was so out of the loop. that no one had told him before his plane, there would be a 10-day isolation period upon his return from Spain. He only found out when he landed. To make matters worse, he completely ruined the vacation by abandoning his family and flying home alone after three days so he could finish his cold turkey and be done.

The Chris Grayling trophy for failing

Fittingly, this award again goes to the man himself for failing to win an election that had been rigged in his favor. Grayling had been appointed to chair the joint intelligence and security committee on the condition that he participate in the report on Russian interference in the UK elections indefinitely. But poor Chris was caught off guard by fellow conservative Julian Lewis, who secured the support of the four opposition MPs on the nine-person committee by promising to release the report as soon as possible. By year’s end Grayling had resigned from the committee in a bad mood.

Super Tipter of the Year

This is a category for which Dominic Cummings would have normally considered himself a shoo-in. Only this year Dom couldn’t fully predict that he would be out of a job at No. 10 by Christmas. So instead, the award goes to Boris Johnson for doing everything right by constantly being wrong. If you want to know what the government’s policy will be, you can now guarantee that it will be the exact opposite of what Boris said it would be two weeks earlier.

Sports Personality of the Year

An easy one. Marcus Rashford for twice getting the government to reverse its decisions on free school meals. The refereeing service for goals is still not entirely sure whether to score as goals for Rashford or as an own goal for Johnson. Either way, it is highly likely that one of them will complete their hat-trick next year.

Book of the year

Since the first coronavirus lockdown, my concentration has exploded and I haven’t been able to complete any books. So instead, I nominate The Mirror and Light by Hilary Mantel as the book I most wish I had finished.

Live Concert of the Year

There are not many options since I have only been to two, one of which was Ermonela Jaho’s divine recital at Wigmore Hall. But the winner is Opera Holland Park for its socially estranged concert of opera arias with some fabulous singers in July. It took place outdoors, so naturally it rained, but no one cared. It was a beautiful evening at the end of which my soul felt temporarily restored.

Ermonela Jaho at Wigmore Hall
Ermonela Jaho at Wigmore Hall last February. Photography: Russell Duncan


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