PREVIEW: Melodifestivalen 2021 Heat 1 starring Danny Saucedo, Jessica Andersson, Paul Rey & Arvingarna

WHEN?: Saturday 6 February 2021

WHERE?: Annexet, Stockholm

It’s business as usual for Melodifestivalen in 2021 as Heat 1 opens with the pre-contest favourite, this year Danny Saucedo (pictured above), as it did last year when Felix Sandman could only make Andra Chansen.

  • Read on for reasons including details of other Heat 1 returning acts including Jessica Andersson, Paul Rey and Arvingarna
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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for January 2021 starring It’s A Sin

  1. New Russell T. Davies drama It’s A Sin

Years and Years‘ lead singer Olly Alexander stars in T.Davies’ latest 5-parter looking at gay life in London in the 80s. We loved co-star Omari Douglas in Wise Children at the Old Vic in 2018. T. Davies is of course the author behind the generation-defining Queer As Folk. A Channel 4 air date has now been confirmed for 22/1/21.

  • Read on for reasons including the return of the West End, Eurovision finals season and Drag Race UK season 2
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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for December 2020 starring Palladium pantomime

  1. Palladium pantomime starring Julian Clary and Beverley Knight

Pantomime at Christmas looked for a while like it might not happen but this seasonal showstopper returns with a familiar cast including star Julian Clary 12/12/20 to 3/1/21 Tickets We’ve seen it ever since it started in 2016 and it’s essentially a variety show with something for everyone. Here’s what we said in 2017, 2018 and last year.

  • Read on for reasons including Death Drop, Cinderella by Jodie Prenger and Ma Rainey
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PREVIEW: Second Cherry 2020 song contest

WHEN?: 7/11/20 UPDATE: England’s second lockdown means the RVT show is cancelled but there will be an online show 14/11/20

WHERE?: Royal Vauxhall Tavern, London, and online

Former Melodifestivalen winner Anna Bergendahl (pictured above) is arguably the biggest name in November’s Second Cherry 2020 song contest which concludes, fingers crossed, with a live event in London next weekend.

  • Read on for reasons including where our douze points is going and our other highlights
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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for November starring A Christmas Carol at the Bridge Theatre

  1. A Christmas Carol starring Simon Russell-Beale and Patsy Ferran

There are at least 2 other A Christmas Carols in London this festive season but we have chosen this 1 because Russell Beale is always good value and Ferran is an Olivier Best Actress award-winner. Runs 27/11 through 16/1/21. Tickets UPDATE: The 2nd lockdown means this run will now start on 3/12/20

  • Read on for reasons including new Steps album, Rent in Manchester and Kylie’s Disco set
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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for October 2020 starring Death of England: Delroy

  1. National Theatre returns with Death of England: Delroy

Death of Englandwritten by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, boasted one of the most accomplished leading roles of the year as well as being one of 2020’s best new playsDeath of England: Delroy has the same authors as its near namesake and stars one of the characters mentioned in the previous work and played by Giles Terera (Rosmersholm, Duke Of Yorks). The National has closed its doors since March and this is the show it has chosen for curtain up, running 21/10 through 28/11/20. Tickets

STOP PRESS: National Theatre announces Terera will no longer perform after emergency surgery and understudy Michael Balogun will take on the role.

  • Read on for reasons including Divine Comedy, Mel C album and Bananarama book

2. Annie releases Dark Hearts album

We’ve heard 4 of the 13 tracks on the Norwegian’s 1st album for 11 years and The Streets Where I Belong (listen above) is our favourite: a soft vocal reminding of St Etienne and a gorgeously understated tune evoking nostalgia while weaving a story of hometown glory. The title track was a Song Of The Week for us in September and the album is out 16/10/20. Tickets

3. Divine Comedy play the Barbican

Divine Comedy won our Best Gig monsta last year and release 12 2CD collection Venus, Folly and Time to celebrate their 30-year back catalogue 9/10/20. They play a gig at the Barbican 5 days later which will be live-streamed ahead of a rescheduled run of 5 nights at the venue in September 2021 at which they play 2 different albums in full each night. Tickets

4. Sophie Ellis Bextor serves up Songs From The Kitchen Disco

A Humdrum Mum gave us 5 reasons why we love Sophie Ellis Bextor and on 23/10/20 the star releases her Songs From The Kitchen Disco album which combines her greatest hits with covers she performed on Friday nights during lockdown ahead of a tour next year including dates with Steps. Tickets include a solo London Palladium gig as well as a Steps show at The 02

5. Melanie C releases Colour and Light album

The artist formerly known as Sporty Spice unleashed her 8th solo album Colour and Light on 2/10 and we previewed it thanks to a fun livestream the night ahead of release. Tickets are now on sale for her 2021 tour including a gig at London’s 02 Shepherds Bush Empire

6. Bananarama release Really Saying Something book

The ‘Nanas won our Best Gig monsta in 2017 when their original line-up reunited and Siobhan left afterwards as Keren and Sara recorded a new album and toured with a Q&A thrown in. On 29/10/20 book Really Saying Something: Sara & Keren Our Story is released and we can’t wait. Details

7. French and Saunders star in Death On The Nile film

We’ve seen so much French and Saunders over the years that it’s impossible to see Dawn and Jennifer in this trailer without thinking of the over enthusiastic extras they used to portray in that series. Released in the UK 16/10/20, Wonder Woman Gadot looks stunning in this remake of the Agatha Christie classic directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh as Poirot. The impressive supporting cast includes monstagigz favourites Sophie Okonedoand Letitia Wright.

8. T’Shan Williams and Aimie Atkinson play Theatre Cafe Night Caps series

The Turbine Theatre‘s artistic director Paul Taylor-Mills hosts this series of performances titled Night Caps in association with the Theatre Cafe by West End stars including T’Shan Williams (Heathers, Other Palace) on the 8/10 and Aimie Atkinson (Pretty Woman, Piccadilly Theatre) on the 22/10. Tickets

9. Rupert Everett’s Tainted Glory book

Everett starred in, wrote and directed The Happy Prince which won our 2018 Best Film monsta and this highly anticipated third memoir, To The End Of The World: Travels With Oscar Wilde: Tainted Glory tells the story of the playwright’s last days, and how that ten-year quest to make The Happy Prince almost destroyed Everett. We’ve always enjoyed Everett’s writing and his first memoir, Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, was a Sunday Times bestseller while its sequel, Vanished Years, won the Sheridan Morley Prize for Biography. Published 8/10/20

  • Picture courtesy of National Theatre via Facebook 
  • Have you seen any of these shows or films or heard the albums or read the books? Let us know what you thought in the comments below

PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for September 2020 starring Talking Heads

  1. Talking Heads at the Bridge starring Monica Dolan and Imelda Staunton

Alan Bennett’s original series of monologues aired on BBC1 in 1988 to much acclaim with a second season debuting on the same channel a decade later. Two new scripts were written for a third BBC1 series in 2020 during which 10 of the originals were remade. To celebrate, the Bridge Theatre stages eight of the latest 12 in four pairs beginning 7/9 and running to 31/10 starring two winners of our Best Theatre Actress monsta Monica Dolan and Imelda Staunton. Tickets

  • Read on for reasons including Sara Pascoe at the Greenwich Comedy Festival, Andrew Scott and new Hurts 

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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for August 2020 starring Jesus Christ Superstar: The Concert

  1. Jesus Christ Superstar: The Concert at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Outdoor theatre is back at one of our favourite venues, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, with 70 performances from 14/8/20 of a concert version of one of the shows most successfully staged there. Tyrone Huntley (pictured above, Leave To Remain and The View UpStairs) joins the cast and was nominated for an Olivier for a previous production of the show at this venue. We’ll be reporting from the previews about what the experience is like. Tickets

  • Read on for reasons including Juliet Stevenson at the Donmar, Andrew Scott at the Old Vic and an album by Declan McKenna

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