- Arts & Literature
- Science & Technology
By Catherine Edwards
As 2012 comes to an end, and the world seems to have remained intact despite whatever the Mayans said, what have been the highlights? From sporting success to scientific discovery, we bring you a selection of the year’s memorable moments in video form.
It’s been a jolly good old year for the royals, with the Queen celebrating 60 years on the throne, Kate celebrating her recently announced pregnancy, and Harry just celebrating in general with a game of strip billiards – only to find out that what happens in Vegas, goes on the front page of The Sun. My absolute favourite royal moment came in May however, when Prince Charles gave weather forecasting a go…
Nick Clegg apologised for the Lib Dems’ U-turn regarding the rise in tuition fees, and a catchy new song was born.
Over in America, the US election ended up being closer than many had expected. But didn’t you get just a teensy bit sick of hearing about it all the time? This girl knows how you feel.
The public seemed to get more involved in political issues than ever, and gay marriage was one of the topics that got everyone talking, both here and in America. In College Humor’s satirical video, gay men put forward a pretty convincing case as to why people should support it:
The Olympic games were always going to be the defining moment of 2012. Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was a wonderful mish-mash of Britishness both traditional and modern, celebrating everything from Shakespeare to Mr Bean. And once again, the Windsors took centre stage, as the Queen played the part of a somewhat unlikely Bond girl, parachuting into the stadium.
The British Olympic and Paralympic teams both finished third in their respective medal tables, with 185 medals between them. It made for plenty of exciting moments, but perhaps none more so than Mo Farah’s win at the 1,000m, as was clear in the reaction of these BBC commentators.
But the real winner of the games was BoJo… Whether he was getting stuck on a zipwire, likening the beach volleyball players to “glistening wet otters”, or spicing up his life at the closing ceremony, the London mayor was evidently loving every minute of it.
It was the year that Strictly Come Dancing finally beat The X Factor in the battle to take over our Saturday nights, and unlike its ratings rival, for once there was much less reliance on scandals or sob stories. The beautiful Louis Smith was the overall victor, but Emmerdale actress Lisa Riley was a surprise hit, and definitely made the show a lot more fun to watch.
You couldn’t go five minutes this summer without hearing Carly Rae Jepsen’s disturbingly catchy tune. The parodies soon followed, with everyone from Bieber to Barack (sort of) and athletes to animals giving it a go, but this Cookie Monster cover was a particular gem.
Despite a fairly odd signature dance and lyrics which no one actually understands, Gangnam Style became the most viewed video on Youtube with over a billion hits. But in case you’re bored of watching Psy doing the invisible-horse move in a stable, try this version by a marching band instead.
The world was captivated by the Curiosity mission, when NASA successfully launched a rover on Mars, to send back the first surface pictures. But what interested people most? The possibility of signs of life on the planet? New discoveries about the climate and geology of Mars? Nope. We cared more about the rover flight director’s hair – and it was ‘NASA Mohawk Guy’ that became a trending topic on Twitter, rather than Curiosity itself. Who says our generation doesn’t care about science?
Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner made history with his 24-mile jump from space, in a quest to find out what would happen if he broke the sound barrier during free fall. Nothing much, as it turned out, but the video was watched by millions worldwide.
Sure, it’s been a great year for Britain with the Olympics and the Jubilee and everything, but Usain Bolt and the Queen have got nothing on what was, in my eyes, the true culmination of everything that is great about Britain – the Great British Bake-Off. Things got tense – one contestant declared: “It’s not a matter of life and death – this is about good bakes and bad bakes”. Profound.
Meanwhile on ITV, the third series of Downton Abbey officially became the most critically acclaimed show on TV. And really, with all its pretty costumes, upstairs/downstairs drama, and Professor McGonagall – what’s not to love?