The 20 in 22 - the cultural events we're looking forward to

Given that so many events were cancelled during the depths of the pandemic, forgive us for getting a little excited at the prospect of getting dressed up and out for a packed cultural calendar in 2022. It is of course the Platinum Jubilee year, which makes it even more special and there will be a number of events up and down the country celebrating the Queen's remarkable achievement. We've selected 20 of the highlights that we definitely don't want to miss, with some amazing biopics soon to hit the big screens to the biggest sporting affairs via esoteric art exhibitions. Enjoy!

The Gilded Age - HBO - January 24
Julian Fellowes created a masterpiece with Downton Abbey, the genre-defining period drama, so it's with great anticipation that we wait for his new creation, The Gilded Age on HBO, which swaps out upper class rural British life for the bold brash environs of the Manhattan ruled by the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts. Old school legacy fights for control against new school arrivistes and it's not pretty! Handbags at dawn!

Spike - Watermill theatre, Newbury - 27 January-5 March

Spike Milligan took his famously absurd humour to the grave, with the tombstone inscription of "I told you I was ill" ensuring this great comedian will live on and on. To add to that is a new play written by the equally dry Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. Set in the 1950s, with Olivier award-winning actor John Dagleish stars as Milligan, telling the story of both Milligan and fellow Goons Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers.

The Starry Night - Courtauld Institute - 3 February

Immersive artist displays captured the attention of many in 2021 but there is nothing quite like seeing a masterpiece up close and personal. From 3 February, The Courtauld Gallery will stage the first-ever exhibition of the “The Starry Night”, featuring Van Gogh's most remarkable self-portraits, including Self-Portrait as a Painter (1853-1890) and Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889). Do not miss!

In The Eyes of Tammy Faye - February 4

It's a big year for biopics as Jessica Chastain adds to the calendar promising a remarkable performance as televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, the devoted wife of notorious fellow preacher, huckster and fraudster Jim Bakker, played by Andrew Garfield. It's a parable and a half, not to mention a career-defining performance by Chastain.

2022 Winter Olympics - 4th-20th February 2022  

One of the great things about the Winter Olympics is discovering a new-found passion for some obscure seasonal sport one has never heard of nor thought existed. This year's event promises to be extra special, perhaps not for any unique sporting reason, but for the fact that it is being held in China, whose recent human rights record doesn't particularly chime with the Olympic message. One imagines there will be fireworks, and not just the ones at the opening and closing ceremonies.

A Century of the Artist’s Studio: 1920-2020 - Whitechapel gallery - 7 February-29 May

There's something about getting a sneak peak into the way artist's live that is so satisfyingly intriguing, as if one becomes privy to some secret of their genius, or perhaps madness! Or maybe we just want to know that our own homes are tidier than theirs? Either way, A Century of the Artist's Studio at the Whitechapel Gallery takers us from Francis Bacon’s paintbrush chaos to a Louise Bourgeois cell and many many more artists between the period of 1920-2020.  

Inventing Anna - 11 February
Producer/director extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes who created Bridgerton is back with another lip-smacking Netflix series, this time channeling her creativity into Inventing Anna, which explores the remarkable story of Anna Delvey, the fake German heiress who scammed her friends and Manhattan's elite out of their wealth, trust and integrity. 

Charlie Chaplin - March 4
The former workhouse inmate who became the most famous man in the world without saying a word (at least on-screen), Charlie Chaplin's extraordinary life has been brilliantly documented in The Real Charlie Chaplin. With some incredible unseen footage, it traces Chaplin's rise and subsequent fall into obscurity, not least catalysed by his outspoken leftist politics post the second World War.

Maison Gainsbourg - Spring 22
This is a must-see for Serge Gainsbourg fans, of if you have some time to kill in Paris (if we're ever let in again of course!) Maison Gainsbourg on 14 rue de Verneuil has been closed off to the public since te controversial singer's death in 1991, but is now finally reopening as a museum. The project has been guided by his daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg, so it should be a beautifully intimate look into the life and living space of one of France's most talked about performers.

Elvis Presley biopic - June 24
Slip into some blue suede shoes or dig out that comeback leather outfit for this one - Austin Butler stars (and gyrates too) in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic. Set against an evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America, Luhrmann' covers the rock legend’s growth from dirt-poor singer to global icon, seen through the prism of his complex relationship over two decades with manager Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks).

Blonde - release date tbc

Ana de Armas, whose brilliant cameo in No Time to Die had the world's collective tongue wagging Ana de Armas makes her Netflix debut as the one and only Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’s Blonde. The film has been bubbling since 2010 when the producers first started to toy with the concept, but has been set back by financing. Naomi Watts, then Jessica Chastain were lined up for the Norma Jeane role, but we think de Armas will do an incredible job if her Bond cameo is anything to go by. Joyce Carol Oates is a fan, too: "I have seen the rough cut of Andrew's adaptation and it is startling, brilliant, very disturbing and perhaps most surprisingly an utterly 'feminist' interpretation... not sure that any male director has ever achieved anything [like] this."

Platinum Jubilee

Her Majesty the Queen will become the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee in 2022, with a number of events up and down the country to celebrate this unique milestone. One such event will be occurring at the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace where an exhibit of photographs taken of the young monarch by Dorothy Wilding (which served as the basis of the Queen’s likeness on stamps until 1971) will be on view. And just around the corner from Favourbrook too!

Royal Ascot - 14-18 June

Of the Platinum Jubilee events in 2022, there can be none bigger nor more celebratory than Royal Ascot, Her Majesty's favourite event of the Season. This will truly be one of the most special racing events of a generation so make sure you have your finest outfits all prepped! You know where we are! We are once again official licensee for Royal Ascot so don't hesitate to swing by our Pall Mall store if you need any sartorial advice.

Kawanabe Kyōsai - Royal Academy -19 March-19 June

Many of us recognise the work of Hokusai, but it was the 19th-century painter Kawanabe Kyōsai who really brought Japanese art into modern times. His genius is fully on display at the Royal Academy this summer. A contemporary of the French impressionists, his works are theatrical masterpieces that portray the many faces and animals of Japanese culture through the ages.

Cornelia Parker - Tate Britain - 18 May-16 October

Explosive is the word to describe Cornelia Parker's ouvre of surrealist art, which has be wonderfully curated in this summer retrospective at Tate Britain. Expect to see all of her greatest hits over the years, including iconic suspended works as Thirty Pieces of Silver 1988–9 and Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991; the immersive War Room 2015 and Magna Carta 2015, her monumental collective embroidery, as well as her films and a wealth of her innovative drawings, prints and photographs. Some works will spill out beyond the confines of the exhibition and infiltrate the permanent collection, in dialogue with the historical works they reference.

Vivian Maier - MK Gallery, Milton Keynes - 11 June-25 September

We've written about the reclusive street photographer Vivian Maier before over at Oliver Spencer so we were thrilled to learn that some of her work will be on show in the UK this year. Maier led a double life, working for more than 40 years as a domestic nanny in suburban Chicago, then hitting the streets in her spare time to document urban life in all its beautiful weirdness. She never showed her work to anyone - it was only after her death that thousands of her negatives were found in a storage unit.

Hallyu: The Korean Wave - The V&A Museum, September 24

Unless you've been living beneath a rock for the last few years, you will not have failed to notice the impact of Korean culture on our lives, from barbecue and kimchi to Squid Game, Parasite and K-Pop. Thankfully, the V&A has curated this all in Hallyu: The Korean Wave which opens this September. The landmark exhibition will celebrate the best of South Korea’s dynamic pop culture across both fashion and the arts.

2021 Rugby World Cup - New Zealand - 8th October-12th November

When William Webb Ellis made the decision to pick up the football and run with it during a school game (which must have been absolutely infuriating for the other 21 players on the pitch), little did he know that he would be catalysing one of the greatest and most gladiatorial sports on the planet. While Twickenham may be the historical home of rugby, New Zealand is the modern fortress, which is what will make the 2021 (but really 2022) Rugby World Cup so thrilling. England take on Fiji in their opening game with the hosts up against neighbours Australia. Stock up the beer fridge, tune up your singing voice, and settle into a month of massive hits, hakas and heroism.

2022 FIFA World Cup - Qatar - 21st November-18th December

Yet another global sporting event that has been mired in controversy, sleaze and corruption, but that probably won't stop us from tuning in to the FIFA World Cup later this year. Moved to winter to avoid the searing Qatari heat, it will certainly be an odd feeling watching England suffer in the temperate climes while cramming mince pies and port into our faces, but one must adapt to change as one will.

Raffles in London - Winter 22
The Singapore institution that is Raffles is laying some post-colonial roots back in London with a stunning new hotel set in the Grade II-listed Old War Office building in Whitehall. The building has undergone a "monumental" transformation to create 120 rooms and suites, 85  branded residences and 11 restaurants and bars. Located at one of London’s most historically significant addresses, the U.K.’s first Raffles hotel will have an extensive wellness space and will be home to a rooftop restaurant and bar with views across Whitehall, The Mall and on to Buckingham Palace.