Really, you don’t need to leave your sofa in January. From HBO’s True Detective to the fourth and final series of Catastrophe on Channel 4, not to mention BBC's Luther and a panoply of Netflix shows such as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Mindhunter, there is enough TV to keep you entertained. On the BBC in early 2019, expect comeback series This Time with Alan Partridge and The Victim, a four-part legal thriller starring Kelly Macdonald and John Hannah.
Adam McKay’s new film Vice will be a big watch for winter, starring an unrecognisably fattened up Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, alongside Sam Rockwell, Amy Adams, and Steve Carell.
To brighten up the winter days, head along to the Tate Modern’s Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory, an exhibition of the Post-Impressionists landscapes and domestic scenes (January to May). The Royal Academy will open Bill Viola / Michelangelo, a celebration of two artists separated by centuries but united in their interest in the human body and existentialism (January to March).
Book-wise, Out of the Woods, a deeply moving and original memoir by Luke Turner about sexuality, shame and the lure of the trees, will be published by W&N in late January. It's Not About the Burqa, a collection of 17 essays by Muslim women, speaking frankly on topics as wide-ranging as the hijab and wavering faith, divorce, feminism, and queer identity, edited by Mariam Khan, is published by Picador in February. Max Porter’s eagerly awaited second novel, Lanny, will be published in March. His debut, Grief is the Thing with Feathers, was published to widespread acclaim in 2015.
Artists releasing winter albums include Deerhunter, Beirut, Girlpool, HOMESHAKE, Sleaford Mods, Fredo, Avril Lavigne and, probably, Flying Lotus, whose last album was released in 2014. Kanye’s Yandhi, which has been delayed a few times, should appear around then as well. Here’s hoping rumours about 2019 albums from Frank Ocean, Vampire Weekend, Tame Impala, Madonna, and Thom Yorke come true.
Awards season kicks off with the Golden Globes on 6 January, followed by the Grammys (10 February), with nominations for Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, Drake, and Janelle Monáe. The BRITS will take place on Feb 20 and then it’s the Oscars on the 24th. Potential frontrunners include A Star is Born and Black Panther and Roma, which would be a first for Netflix.
Don’t panic, Timothée Chalamet is back with Beautiful Boy, a story of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction. Other 2019 films to look out for are Fisherman’s Friends (Daniel Mays), Disney’s Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Red Joan (Judi Dench, directed by Trevor Nunn, about the KGB’s longest-serving British spy), Serenity (Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway), Tim Burton’s Dumbo, Downton Abbey and Toy Story 4.
Adjoa Andoh and Lynette Linton direct the first ever company of women of colour in a Shakespeare play on a major UK stage, Richard II at The Globe, from February to April. Other 2019 theatre highlights include The Remains of the Day, adapted from the novel, directed by Christopher Haydon, at Northampton Royal & Derngate, Berberian Sound Studio at the Donmar, based on the film by Peter Strickland and the Life of Pi at the Sheffield Crucible.
Moving into spring sees some major tours. Björk's Cornucopia, which she described as her “most elaborate stage concert yet”, will premiere in Manhattan. The production is directed by John Tiffany (Once, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child). Artists touring the UK include Loyle Carner, AJ Tracy and Sleaford Mods. March also sees the return of Dido, with her album Still on my Mind, and shows later in spring.
From March to August, Tate Britain will show the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the UK for nearly a decade, with Van Gogh and Britain, including the rarely lent Sunflowers. For ballet fans, down the road at the Royal Opera House, Carlos Acosta’s Don Quixote will play from February to April. At Covent Garden in April and May, Deborah Warner will stage the first production of Billy Budd, Britten's all-male opera at Covent Garden for nearly two decades.
Spring will also see Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson on screen together for the first time with The Highwaymen on Netflix, about the detectives who took down Bonnie & Clyde. Other 2019 television shows include the third series of Stranger Things, series two of Disenchantment, His Dark Materials, War of the Worlds, Tales of the City, based on the books by Armistead Maupin (Laura Linney, Ellen Page) and, of course, the final series of Game of Thrones in April. Wash that down with the fourth album from These New Puritans, Inside the Rose.
There are plenty of exciting book releases in spring as well, from Sinéad Gleeson’s Constellations (essays on art, illness, ghosts, grief and our very ways of seeing) to Robert Macfarlane’s Underland: A Deep Time Journey. In fiction, look out for a few hotly tipped debuts: The Farm by Joanne Ramos, a novel about a luxury retreat transforming the fertility industry, Saltwater, from Jessica Andrews, a stunning new voice in British literary fiction, and The Doll Factory, by Elizabeth Macneal, which is set in London in 1850/51.
What to watch in the late spring? The new play from fêted writer Zoe Cooper (Jess and Joe Forever), Out of Water, about gender, wild swimming, and how we define who we, are plays at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond from April. Glyndebourne kicks off on 18 May (until 25 August) and the programme includes Berlioz’ La damnation de Faust, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Dvořák’s Rusalka. For something a bit less highbrow, Spice World, the six-date tour from Spice Girls, begins on 24 May in Dublin and ends in London on June 15. Other major tours at this time include Fleetwood Mac, who’ll play Wembley Stadium on 18 June.
The Glastonbury (26-30 June) rumour mill has been cranking up for months now. Will Oasis really get together? Kylie? The Cure? The Kinks? The only artist confirmed for now is Stormzy, who’ll probably release a new album in 2019 too. Lana Del Rey is also rumoured, and her album Norman F***ing Rockwell, produced by Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift and St Vincent, should be out around then.
Also in the summer, look out for the third album from Kindness and a large-scale exhibition and outdoor artwork at Tate Modern, from Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson.
Big summer books include the third novel from Mrs Hemingway author Naomi Wood. The Hiding Game will be published in July by Picador and is described as “Donna Tartt’s The Secret History set in pre-war Germany”. Deborah Levy’s The Man Who Saw Everything and Richard Roper’s hotly tipped Something To Live For should also be on summer reading lists.
Horror fans might want to make a note of It: Chapter 2, which is bringing the Losers Club back together on screens in September, starring Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, James McAvoy, Bill Skarsgård.
As autumn moves into winter, we will see a new thriller from Robert Harris, an exhibition about William Blake at the Tate Britain and of course the big-name tour is Cher, who will be taking Here We Go Again across the UK arenas in October. Films in the later part of the year to get excited about even though it’s ages away include an adaptation of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson), Cats (Taylor Swift, Idris Elba), Greta Gerwig’s Little Women (Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh) and Star Wars: Episode IX.