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Guide to 2014: what we'll be watching, reading and talking about next year
It may be nine months away but that won’t stop the BBC and all the other news organisations ensuring that, by the time it comes to the vote on Thursday, September 18, we’ll all have heard quite a lot about the pros and cons of Scottish independence.
The ballot will come a few months after our Caledonian cousins celebrate the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn when, outnumbered three-to-one, Robert the Bruce’s army trounced that of Edward II of England.
However, along with us, Wales and almost every country in Europe, they’ll also be contemplating the pity and futility of conflict as the First World War casts its long and terrible shadow. Official commemorations of the 100th anniversary of its beginning will take place throughout Britain and Europe, with the refurbished Imperial War Museum taking a central role for the UK. Expect to see the Royal Family and our current military out in force.
We’ll also be remembering the men who fought their way up the beaches of Normandy on the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June and the 70th anniversary of the terrifying V2 rocket attacks on London.
But there are plenty of cheerier things to look forward to, especially if you’re into sport. Get back into that Olympic spirit in February when the Winter Games kick off in Sochio, Russia. Get into the mood by watching Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s mesmeric ice dance to Bolero, which clinched gold at the same event in Sarajevo – it really was 30 years ago. Medal hopefuls this time around include skeleton rider Shelley Rudman and John Jackson in the bobsleigh.
Come July and it’s all eyes oop north again, as Sir Bradley Wiggins and the Tour De France make their way round Yorkshire, and the Commonwealth Games kick off in Glasgow. Still in Scotland in September, the Ryder Cup teams battle it out on the fairways of Gleneagles. Maybe all this will help take our minds off Brazil and how Roy’s Boys are performing there... yes. it’s the FIFA World Cup, a two-month festival – or should that be stresstival? – of soccer where, against all the odds, we will start hoping that this time football really is coming home.
Away from the sporting arenas there are some big names on tour: Robbie Williams, Gary Barlow, Justin Timberlake and Miranda Hart. The re-formed Monty Python team will be on stage again at the O2. Expect much talk about spam and dead parrots.
Movies to catch in 2014 include The Amazing Spiderman 2, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, and plenty of franchise-reviving, including Robocop, Dumb and Dumber (20 years on. Involves a kidney). There’s another Muppet movie and Noah, a film about the ark-builder which is, literally, of Biblical proportions. And don’t forget The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes starring Andy Serkis, and Fury, the Brad Pitt WWII extravaganza filmed partly here in Dorset.
TV-wise we’ll be settling down to another Broadchurch, US thriller series True Detective (hoping to fill the Breaking Bad hole) and Gothic horror, Penny Dreadful, as well as looking forward to Peter Capaldi’s Dr Who and finding out What Happened To Sherlock.
We’ll be reading Jeffery Deaver’s new book, The Kill Room; Jill Mansell’s The Unpredictable Consequences of Love, and The Life and Times of Herbert Chapman charting the history of the Arsenal boss from the 1930s. And, if we have any time after that, we’ll be reflecting on the tenth anniversary of Facebook, the 20th of the Channel Tunnel and the 50th anniversary of Donald Campbell breaking the world land and water speed records as well as wishing baby Prince George a very happy first birthday.