The best cultural long reads of 2022: from the return of the rom-com to celebrity sex tapes

Lily James and Sebastian Stan in Pam and Tommy  (HULU)
Lily James and Sebastian Stan in Pam and Tommy (HULU)

How we fell for, broke up with, and got back together with the rom-com

The rom-com has been making a comeback in recent years, and some of the biggest names of the Noughties – from Jennifer Lopez to Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock – returned to the genre in in 2022. Not only that, the form is being pushed in new directions. Katie Rosseinsky explores the return of a relentlessly hopeful art form.

Vardy v Rooney: behind the scenes of the ‘inherently theatrical’ new Wagatha Christie play

Before the infamous court case was adapted for TV by Channel 4, it was already a West End show. Vicky Jessop spoke to the creatives and the stars of Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial, about the case that gripped the media, the legal world, and the UK at large.

My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican: how the RSC turned a cult cartoon into autumn’s must-see theatre show

The adaptation of the Studio Ghibli classic broke records when tickets went on sale at the Barbican. Elizabeth Gregory explores why the show was quite so popular, the history of Ghibli and talked to those who brought the much-loved tale from screen to stage.

From Boris to Borgen: MPs and TV writers on what shows about politics get right… and very wrong

Carrie (Ophelia Lovibond) and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Sir Kenneth Branagh) in This England (Sky UK/PA)
Carrie (Ophelia Lovibond) and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Sir Kenneth Branagh) in This England (Sky UK/PA)

In a year dominated by political turmoil, Sky released the Boris Johnson drama This England about the government’s response to the pandemic. Vicky Jessop talked to MPs and writers on the bold and risky venture of trying to show the true face of politics on screen and which shows offer an accurate portrayal and which shows don’t.

Murder most meta: how the whodunnit became unpredictable

The whodunnit never really goes out of style, but in 2022 film and TV took the genre in all sorts of different directions. From See How They Run’s excellent pastiche of golden age detective stories, to Glass Onion and the cross-generational detective TV series Only Murders in the Building, Katie Rosseinsky explored a golden year for crime puzzles with a twist.

Gangs of London season two! Lead actor Sopé Dìrísù and his co-stars tell us what to expect

London’s glossiest, most violent gangland drama returned and it was more explosive than ever. Vicky Jessop talked to the stars about a thrillingly emotional family crime drama, and how they followed up the original series which became Sky’s second-biggest original drama launch of all time.

Start-ups on screen: Why Hollywood can’t get enough of Silicon Valley stories, from The Dropout to WeCrashed

Audiences just love the jaw-dropping stories of Silicon Valley’s biggest successes, and they love its biggest failures even more. Katie Rosseinsky looked at the glossy shows that dramatised the big tech stories in 2022 and asked who gets the last laugh after these start-up Icaruses (Icari?) fall from grace.

Behind the scenes as the United Ukrainian Ballet performs Giselle: ‘This is the beginning of a renaissance’

Vicky Jessop visited the old Royal Conservatoire in The Hague earlier this year to meet the refugee ballet dancers of the United Ukrainian Ballet, who went on to perform Giselle at the London Coliseum. They told her about their stories, revealed why art is so important during the conflict with Russia and what happens next.

Selena Gomez: a megastar whose mission it is to save lives – and why she’ll likely succeed

This year, the popstar-turned-actress released the documentary My Mind & Me, which shone a light on her mental health issues and activism in the area. Elizabeth Gregory looked at Gomez’s backstory, the doc that was six years in the making and the important work she is doing to help young people tackle their mental health issues.

How The Mousetrap made it to 70 in the West End... and is finally heading to Broadway


The Agatha Christie play made its debut in 1952 and is still going strong. Nick Clark charted its history, including the starring role the Evening Standard plays in the production, and spoke to the producer about the secret of its success after the play celebrated its 70th birthday last month.

Pam and Tommy: the rise and fall of the sex tape as celebrity currency

Earlier this year, Disney+ released a show about the fallout from a leaked sex tape that trashed Pamela Anderson’s marriage and career –and transformed celebrity culture. Annie Lord looked at one of the most notorious celebrity moments of the Nineties, which resonated around the world.