Belfast Telegraph

From Weinstein to Whittaker: The biggest entertainment stories of 2017

Here’s our wrap of the top showbiz stories from the past 12 months.

It has been another vintage year in the showbiz world, with plenty of entertainment stories filling column inches in 2017.

While much of the year has been dogged by the Hollywood sexual abuse scandal and the terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, there have also been plenty of triumphant moments.

From the casting of the first female Doctor to Ed Sheeran’s takeover of the charts – and the joyous coming together of music stars at the One Love Manchester tribute concert – 2017 will certainly be a year to remember for its positive moments, too.

:: The Hollywood sexual harassment scandal

A slew of sexual harassment allegations have rocked Hollywood since the claims were made against film producer Harvey Weinstein at the beginning of October in a New York Times expose, raising awareness of the misogynistic nature that runs through the industry.

Following allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein from a number of women – including actresses Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan, Lupita Nyong’o, Asia Argento and Gwyneth Paltrow – dozens and dozens of others have spoken out with their own stories of harassment at the hands of men in the entertainment industry as part of the #MeToo social movement.

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Kevin Spacey

Entertainment titans such as Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman, US comedian Louis CK, US news broadcaster Matt Lauer and directors James Toback and Brett Ratner are among those to have been accused of harassment from women. The BBC pulled an Agatha Christie drama starring Ed Westwick from Christmas schedules after he was accused of sexual assault.

House Of Cards star Kevin Spacey also had a meteoric fall from grace after actor Anthony Rapp alleged that Spacey had made sexual advances to him when he was aged 14. An investigation by the Old Vic, where Spacey was artistic director until 2015, later led to a further 20 people coming forward to make allegations against him.

Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

:: Ariana Grande promotes message of love and unity with Manchester concert

US pop star Ariana Grande found herself at the centre of a horrific terror attack when a suicide bomber detonated a device at her concert at the Manchester Arena on May 22, killing 22 people.

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Manchester attack benefit concert

Two weeks later, Grande returned to the city after organising the One Love Manchester benefit concert, which enthralled and warmed the hearts of a global audience of millions.

The emotional gig featured performances from the likes of Miley Cyrus, Liam Gallagher, Take That, Robbie Williams, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Coldplay, and helped the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund raise more than £10 million to help those injured or bereaved in the attack.

Grande was later made an honorary citizen of Manchester for her response to the bombing.

:: The death of an entertainment giant

Sir Bruce Forsyth died aged 89 in August and the nation mourned, but also fondly remembered the entertainer for his memorable catchphrases and decades of service to British television.

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Sir Bruce Forsyth died in August (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

One of most talented, versatile and popular presenters across several generations, Sir Bruce cemented his place in the hearts of audiences following his stint as the host of ITV’s Sunday Night At The London Palladium in the 1950s, and for his turn on game shows including The Generation Game and The Price Is Right.

In recent years, he gained even more fans as the presenter of Strictly Come Dancing, but retired from the show in 2013.

:: The Oscars blunder that could be turned into a film itself

Veteran actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway unwittingly stole the show at the Academy Awards in February when they announced the winner of the best picture Oscar as musical La La Land, instead of the actual winner Moonlight.

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Jordan Horowitz, Warren Beatty, Jimmy Kimmel

The producers of the musical were already giving their speeches when it was revealed there had been a mix-up and Moonlight had in fact scored the top prize of the night, much to the shock of everyone involved.

The mishap occurred when Beatty was handed the wrong envelope by an accountant from firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which later apologised and took responsibility for the “unacceptable” mistake.

:: Doctor Who ends long line of male Time Lords

In July, TV history was made when Jodie Whittaker was revealed as the 13th Doctor in sci-fi favourite Doctor Who – the first female to ever take on the role.

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Jodie Whittaker.

Whittaker has described her new job as being “incredible and really emotional” and said that taking on the character was “not in the realm of possibility ever, growing up”.

The Broadchurch star is taking over the role from Peter Capaldi, and will make her first appearance at the end of the Christmas Day episode when the Doctor regenerates.

:: Ant McPartlin enjoys TV return after rehab stint

Ant McPartlin, one half of TV presenting duo Ant and Dec, entered rehab in June after struggling with a two-year addiction to super-strength painkillers following a knee operation in 2015.

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Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly on the red carpet

TV fans were left wondering if he would return to the small screen before the year was out, but return he did, admittedly feeling much better when he hosted the new series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in November along with Declan Donnelly.

The pair even poked fun at his absence from TV in recent months during the launch show, and McPartlin said it was “good to be back”.

:: The Great British Bake Off jumps channels… and suffers from major spoiler blunder

When it was revealed that The Great British Bake Off had been sold by production company Love Productions to Channel 4 after years at the BBC, there was a national outcry. Long-running judge Mary Berry quit, along with presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, to be replaced by new judge Prue Leith and hosts Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding.

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The Great British Bake Off

The series aired on Channel 4 and the new line-up was largely praised and enjoyed by viewers. Although the programme lost a few million viewers, it was still a huge ratings success for the broadcaster.

The show’s finale suffered a gaffe when Leith accidentally tweeted a congratulatory message for the winning baker Sophie Faldo hours before it aired. Leith, who was in a different time zone at the time, was mortified by her error, but the episode still raked in 10 million viewers.

:: Ed Sheeran has the best year of his career

After a long time away from the spotlight, Ed Sheeran made an impressive comeback with his third album Divide. It has spent 18 non-consecutive weeks at the top of the charts this year, and two of his singles – Shape Of You and Perfect – have also been number ones.

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Ed Sheeran

As well as his charts domination, Sheeran enjoyed a headline appearance at Glastonbury, a Game Of Thrones cameo and he received an MBE at Buckingham Palace for his services to music and charity.

He ended the year by scoring the Christmas number one single with Perfect.

:: Khloe Kardashian ends months of baby speculation

Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian finally put pregnancy rumours to bed by announcing in December that she is expecting her first baby.

My greatest dream realized! We are having a baby! I had been waiting and wondering but God had a plan all along. He knew what He was doing. I simply had to trust in Him and be patient. I still at times can't believe that our love created life! Tristan, thank you for loving me the way that you do! Thank you for treating me like a Queen! Thank you for making me feel beautiful at all stages! Tristan, most of all, Thank you for making me a MOMMY!!! You have made this experience even more magical than I could have envisioned! I will never forget how wonderful you've been to me during this time! Thank you for making me so happy my love! Thank you to everyone for the love and positive vibes! I know we've been keeping this quiet but we wanted to enjoy this between our family and close friends as long as we could privately. To enjoy our first precious moments just us ❤️ Thank you all for understanding. I am so thankful, excited, nervous, eager, overjoyed and scared all in one! But it's the best bundle of feelings I've ever felt in my life! ❤️❤️❤️

A post shared by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on

She shared the news via Instagram, posting a black and white baby bump photo along with a lengthy comment thanking her partner, basketball player Tristan Thompson, and explaining that she had wanted to keep the news private.

The post generated more than eight million likes in the space of one day.

:: Mel B and Stephen Belafonte in court battle

Mel B and her husband Stephen Belafonte were embroiled in a domestic violence battle in court this year, after she filed for divorce in March after 10 years.

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Mel B and Stephen Belafonte

The former Spice Girl claimed that Belafonte subjected her to years of physical and mental abuse and that their former nanny, Lorraine Gilles, conspired with him to threaten to release explicit videos of her.

At the last minute, the case was settled and they averted a damaging trial and, weeks later, Mel B – quite literally – cut her ex out of her life when she had Belafonte’s name removed from a tattoo on her side.

:: Taylor Swift cements her Reputation with comeback album

US pop powerhouse Taylor Swift battled against the haters to return to the charts with her new album Reputation in November.

Showing her good humour and accepting the more critical comments she has received over the years, Swift poked fun at herself in comeback single Look What You Made Me Do, winning herself praise across the board.

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The album, her sixth, topped the charts in the UK the week after release and was also the first album in the US to surpass one million sales this year, shifting 1.05 million in just four days.

:: Strictly Come Dancing welcomes new head judge and oldest contestant steals the show

Shirley Ballas took over from long-standing head judge Len Goodman on Strictly Come Dancing this year and was welcomed to the panel by the viewing public.

Fans warmed to the professional dancer, and her predecessor Goodman praised her for her use of technical terminology while critiquing the celebrity contestants’ dances.

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Strictly's new judge Shirley Ballas (BBC)

But Strictly also hit the headlines this year for its oldest contestant, 59-year-old Debbie McGee, who took over the dance floor with her impressive moves.

The wife of the late Paul Daniels repeatedly topped the leaderboard with her jaw-dropping routines and stunned fans with her ability to do the splits and kick her leg up high. She ended up in the final, but was beaten to the glitterball trophy by actor Joe McFadden.

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