Year In Review

2021’s Most Wholesome & Hilarious Moments

Featuring Jack Grealish's calves, Jackie Weaver's Zoom antics, & Adele's famous fangirls.

Adele In 'An Audience With Adele' on ITV and ITV Hub
ITV / ITV Hub

This year, like the year before (and the year before that) was a lot. Yet it feels like 2021 was especially chaotic because we spent the half of the year at home during various confirmed and unconfirmed lockdowns, and the other half trying to enjoy whatever taste of temporary freedom we could get. I still remember the euphoria of my first music festival this summer and the polar opposite feeling of depression seeping back into my body as Omicron crashed my Christmas plans.

Despite these turbulent times, though, 2021 was still quite the year to remember. We lived through Kim Kardashian and Kanye West filing for divorce, the whole Gamestop thing (that most of us still don’t understand), Prince Philip passing away (RIP), England nearly winning the Euros, Britney Spears finally being freed from her conservatorship, the rise and rise of Kravis, the discovery of that now ubiquitous TikTok salmon recipe, and Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck rekindling their romance. (Plus, the return of Love Island, *that* parish council meeting, and of course the leaked tape of Matt Hancock. I could go on.)

No surprise that our social media timelines and feeds became equally frenzied. And for better or for worse, the internet has once more captured some of the funniest, most surreal and wholesome moments for us to look back on.

Adele’s London Concert

For someone who is usually very low-key and inaccessible, Adele has been everywhere this year. It’s no wonder that with her surprisingly relatable divorce album 30 (some of us can’t even get a text back lol), she’s in our ears, on the cover of magazines, and appearing as a guest on some popular YouTube channels.

But undoubtedly, the nation’s favourite moment of the year would have been her concert with ITV at the London Palladium. She played her old bangers like “Make You Feel My Love” as well as some new ones from the recent album and the audience was Very British. Guests like Emma Thompson, Stormzy, Dua Lipa, Gordon Ramsay and Alan Carr were fangirling her and it was very nice to see famous people just dancing, singing along and having a good time indoors after nearly two years of lockdown restrictions almost put an end to the live entertainment industry.

The Concrete Debate

When carpenter and Insulate Britain protester Cameron Ford went on TalkRadio to do an interview with Mike Graham, the conversation turned pretty wild. Graham tried to catch Ford out by saying he acting in an “unsustainable” manner because he worked with wood from trees that have been cut down. Ford replied by saying that this practice was sustainable because trees are regenerative in that they can be grown again. “You can’t grow concrete,” Ford said, to which Graham replied: “Yes, you can.” Ford tried to hold back a laugh because the whole thing was, quite frankly, surreal. Unbelievable.

When The Euros Nearly Came Home

For a little while we really believed that the Euro 2020 Cup (held a year late due to you-know-what) was “coming home.” The fans went wild (and became predictably inappropriate). It seemed like an unbelievable feat, but against all odds England beat teams like Croatia, Denmark, and even Germany, just to lose to Italy right at the end. At penalties, too! We thought Gareth Southgate’s defensive strategy was genius until… it wasn’t. But looking back, we gained much more than we lost. Need I remind anyone of Jack Grealish’s calves, the pure love we felt for the English football team and the good times at the pub?! There’s always the World Cup next year, eh?

This Unforgettable Love Trap Clip

I won’t pretend to have watched the new Channel 4 dating show Love Trap but, like many others, I did come across this hilarious clip in which contestants get booted off by being swallowed up in a literal hole – or a “love trap”. Amazing. We need more drama like this in our lives.

Jackie Weaver vs. The Handforth Parish Council

In the depths of the winter lockdown, a particular Zoom meeting brought unexpected joy to many of our lives. It was – of course – the Handforth Parish council meeting in which local legend Jackie Weaver rose to fame.

Weaver kicked off any argumentative male councillors out of the Zoom call and riled up a whole bunch of others. During these six minutes of unadulterated chaos we were gifted lines like “You have no authority here Jackie Weaver” and “Read the standing orders! Read them and UNDERSTAND THEM!”

Oh, and who can forget the hilarious intermissions of ‘Julie’s I Pad’ throughout? You simply had to be there to understand this 3,000 word piece penned on the whole matter.

When Curtis & AJ Pritchard Joined Hollyoaks

Honestly I don’t know what’s going on here. But it’s giving me GCSE drama. Curtis Pritchard, who you might recognise from Love Island (yes, he’s the one who refused to cuddle the girl he was coupled up with because he wanted to make coffee for the other contestants in the mornings) and his brother AJ are now actors on Hollyoaks and their energies in this scene are so chaotic, it’s actually unclear if it’s satire.

This Tipping Point Answer

Game shows really do draw out some of the funniest responses from people, but this woman’s answer on Tipping Point was one of the best I’ve ever seen. When asked "Which UK political party shares its name with a collective noun for moles?" she thinks for a second and replies, “For some reason Liberal Democrats is shouting out to me, I'm not sure why.” Wow.

Love Island’s Funny Bits

After nearly a year of the show being off air, Love Island returned with brand new contestants looking for love (and mostly fame). Millie and Liam may have won, but there were many serious contenders for their crown, including Toby and Chloe who went through one of the most tumultuous relationship journeys on the show. Toby first picked Chloe, then he picked Abi, then he picked Mary, all to realise that he was actually still in love with… Chloe? Honestly, I was screaming at this revelation.

But the show also had so many hilarious moments, from Rachel stacking it in a challenge, to Brad not being able to finish his sentences, to Lucinda pretending to be an airhead. Too. Good.

River Medway’s Status Outfit

With graduates like Bimini Bon Boulash, Tia Kofi, and Lawrence Chaney, Drag Race UK is the show that keeps on giving. However, one of the biggest highlights from the most recent series was River Medway’s iconic tribute to a statue in her hometown. Watch as she turns into Chatham’s Thomas Waghorn statue above.

The McDonald’s Milkshake Shortage

During the pandemic, we’ve seen a shortage of all sorts of things: toilet paper, pasta, government competence and so on. But one of the funniest moments was when McDonald’s ran out of milkshakes and ITV did a whole news segment on it, including interviews with distressed customers. When asked how they felt, one man said he was “distraught.” Honestly, the past twelve+ months have driven us all bonkers.

The Suez Canal Blockage

This news felt like a complete fever dream. A huge boat got stuck on the Suez Canal in Egypt, a route through which 12% of the world’s trade passes, and two men and a teeny tiny bulldozer tried to dislodge it. The ship stayed stuck there for a whopping six days and seven hours and, of course, inspired a slew of memes. Although Ever Given (the name of the ship, I kid you not) was eventually set free, this incident caused a lot of damage.

Nicki Minaj vs. Chris Whitty

If you needed any more proof that we are living in a cursed timeline, you only have to look at Nicki Minaj sending a Twitter voice message to Boris Johnson after he said he didn’t who she was and Chief Scientific Advisor Chris Whitty said Nicki “should be ashamed” for her vaccine tweets about her cousin and his… alleged impotency? In the voice message she says: “Yes hello, Prime Minister Boris. It’s Nicki Minaj. I was just calling to tell you I thought you were so amazing on the news this morning. And I’m actually British” with a hilarious British accent. Stop the world, I want to get off.

Matt Hancock’s endless antics

Matt Hancock was the Health Secretary until he resigned in June 2021, but boy did he have a tumultuous time for that first half of the year. Not only was he blamed for the calamity that was the UK’s response to the pandemic, he was also caught in the middle of a cheating scandal with his aide, Gina Coladangelo, who happened to be married to the guy who owns Oliver Bonas. Oh, the memes!

The most surreal moment however was when he literally ran away from this TV interview. Sometimes moments like this make you feel like we really are living in a simulation.

Prue Leith’s Joke About Holes & Squirting

Bake Off is always a wholesome affair, but during a very unstable year, the show’s memorable format felt like a warm hug. The contestants were as dotty as ever but there were some obvious finalists rights from the start.

Yet every now and then the Bake Off judges slip in an innuendo so extreme, you have to wonder if it’s been written in or if it’s pure accident. And hearing a joke about “holes” and “squirting” coming out of Prue’s mouth was so shocking even for this show.

When Channel 4 Ran ‘Black to Front’ & It was Amazing

Back in September, Channel 4 had a whole day broadcasting programming that featured Black presenters, actors, writers, producers, experts and contributors. The ‘Black to Front’ project was part of the channel’s ongoing commitment to improve Black representation on-screen and in the TV industry.

Mo Gilligan and AJ Odudu presented The Big Breakfast while Ghetts and Maya Jama joined Gogglebox. And loads of the other new shows were premiered like the scripted comedy Big Age as well as the reality tv series Highlife. It was amazing from start to finish and you can still catch up with much of the programming on 4od.

Here’s to 2022. (Though I too would like to read the terms & conditions first, please.)