Your ultimate autumn culture planner 2020
Culture vultures, grab your diaries. Here's your Muddy-curated cheat sheet to the season's best art, theatre, TV, books and film in the UK.
Culture vultures, grab your diaries. Here’s your Muddy-curated cheat sheet to the season’s best art, theatre, TV, books and film in the UK.
TV & FILM
Indian Film Season (Channel 4, September-October)
Channel 4’s annual Indian film season is back, spreading nine films over nine weeks to see you well into October. Expect brand new contemporary Indian cinema, including award-winning flicks Jallikattu and Raazi, as well as 1976 classic Manthan – possibly the only film ever to be sponsored by Indian farmers.
Enola Holmes (Netflix, 23 September)
This Sherlock Holmes spin-off comes with seriously big names attached, including Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin and Helena Bonham Carter. Millie ditches Eleven’s Eggo waffles and dons a corset to play Sherlock’s rebellious teenage sister Enola, on the hunt for their missing mother in Victorian London.
Life (BBC One, 29 September)
If you loved Doctor Foster, then this six-part spin-off from the same creators will come as a pleasant surprise. Life tells the story of four sets of neighbours living in Manchester, and stars Alison Steadman, Peter Davison, Adrian Lester, Victoria Hamilton and Rachael Stirling.
The Comey Rule (Sky Atlantic, 30 September)
This must-see miniseries based on former FBI director James Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty is guaranteed to set tongues wagging – not least due to Brendan Gleeson’s frankly unnerving turn as Donald Trump. Stars Emmy winner Jeff Daniels as the man of the hour.
Brave New World (Sky One, 2 October)
Sky’s glossy new adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s 1932 dystopian novel of the same name has an impressive cast list, including Demi Moore, Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay, and Game of Thrones‘ Harry Lloyd (although you might not recognise him without the Targaryen wig). CGI landscapes, drug use and orgy scenes abound (so teens may prefer to watch without mum and dad).
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (Netflix, 4 October)
Sir David’s dulcet tones return to our screens with this brand new nature documentary looking back on his incredible 60-year career and the impact of climate change on the natural world. The stats are shocking, of course, but it’s not all doom and gloom – if we act quickly.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix, 16 October)
A star-studded line-up for this political drama centred on the so-called Chicago Seven, a group of anti-Vietnam war protesters charged with conspiracy after protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago turned violent. Big names include Joseph Gordon Levitt, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – not to mention the director himself, Aaron Sorkin, who’ll you know from The West Wing and The Social Network.
Rebecca (Netflix, 21 October)
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Ooh, I love a good opening line, don’t you? This October, Daphne du Maurier’s classic is getting a 21st century revamp, and an updated eye candy cast courtesy of Arnie Hammer and Lily James, with Kristin Scott Thomas playing the looming Mrs Danvers. Don’t expect this to go the way of the famous Hitchcock adaptation either – reportedly this version is true to the book (if you know, you know).
No Time To Die (In theatres 12 November)
There are so many big names in the 25th Bond film that we’d struggle to fit them on the page, to be honest, but here’s an attempt: Daniel Craig is reprising the role for the final time, with Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Christoph Waltz all returning faces. New bods include Rami Malek as a mysterious villain, Lashana Lynch as a new kick-ass agent and Ana de Armas as a rumoured love interest. No Time to Die centres on a retired Bond brought back into the fray to wrap up the events of Spectre and Skyfall.
Small Axe (BBC One, November)
This five-part TV drama marks Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen’s first foray into the small screen, and follows London’s Caribbean community through the Swinging Sixties to the Eighties. Keep an eye out for John Boyega playing real-life Metropolitan Police officer Leroy Logan.
The Crown (Netflix, 15 November)
Arguably the season that everyone’s been waiting for, The Crown gets even juicier this November as Gillian Anderson and Emma Corrin join the cast as Margaret Thatcher and Lady Diana Spencer respectively.
Industry (BBC Two, November)
A new BBC/HBO collab produced by Lena Dunham, Industry plunges into the murky world of international investment banking, with graduates competing for a place at a top London firm. Says the woman herself, ““Think Wolf of Wall Street meets Melrose Place.”
Just Like You by Nick Hornby (17 September)
The embodiment of ‘opposites attract,’ Nick Hornby’s latest is a quirky romance between a broke black man in his early 20s and a white mother-of-two in her 40s living in London. It’s all surprisingly heartwarming, even when set against the backdrop of Brexit.
Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (29 September)
JK Rowling is back with a mammoth new installment of her Cormoran Strike series (rumour has it it’s a whopping 944 pages long), in which Strike and plucky sidekick Robin Ellacott tackle a 40-year-old cold case. Perfect timing if you’ve just finished the BBC TV adaptation.
Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass by Lana Del Rey (29 September)
The poetry book we didn’t know we wanted, songstress and eyeliner devotee Lana Del Rey releases her first book of verse this Autumn, interspersed with her own original photography. Fun bonus – she also reads the audiobook, set to music from Grammy Award-winning musician Jack Antonoff.
Ghosts by Dolly Alderton (15 October)
After her 2018 memoir Everything I Know About Love, Dolly Alderton is back with her debut fictional novel Ghosts, the story of a 30-something food writer with a loyal online following who turns to online dating – only to be ghosted.
Making a Psychopath by Dr Mark Freestone (15 October)
A bit of light-hearted (not) non-fiction for you now, written by leading expert – and more importantly, co-creator of Killing Eve’s Villanelle – Dr Mark Freestone. The good doctor shares his experience of working on some of the most interesting, infamous and disturbing psychopath cases in recent times. A good Halloween read.
Troy by Stephen Fry (29 October)If you loved his previous mythical retellings, Mythos and Heroes, you’ll want to put the release of Stephen Fry’s latest novel Troy in your calendar. It’s a story we all know (the Trojan horse, face that launched a thousand ships etc. etc.) but given a fresh new voice.
Arrivals + Departures by YARA + DAVINA (Somerset House, 3 September – 10 October)
A particularly poignant outdoor installation, considering the year we’ve all had, this open air interactive piece at Somerset House invites visitors to add names of those they’ve lost (or gained!) in 2020 in the form of an airport arrivals and departures board. Every Wednesday until 10 October, artist duo YARA + DAVINA will be inviting specialist speakers to take over the installation, with talks on the subject of lockdown births, grief, and race and social justice.
Artemisia (National Gallery, 3 October – 24 January)
For the ultimate ‘girl power’ day out, head to the National Gallery for their hotly-anticipated Artemisia Gentileschi exhibition. Known as Caravaggio’s successor, Artemisia defied expectations in 17th century Italy to become a famous painter at a time when the art world rejected women – and a mighty fine job she did of it too. Many of her famous depictions of history’s strongest women (including Cleopatra, Lucretia and Judith) as well as her self-portraits are being displayed in the UK for the first time, making this the show to see in autumn.
Paradise Lost by Jan Hendrix (Kew Gardens, 3 October – 14 March)
World-renowned artist Jan Hendrix brings his Paradise Lost exhibition to Kew Gardens this October, to mark the 200th anniversary of botanist Joseph Banks’ death. Banks was responsible for collecting and preserving hundreds of plant specimens in Botany Bay in Sydney, Australia, which inspired Hendrix’s piece, as this once pristine bay filled with local flora and fauna is now home to an urban airport and oil depot. Visit to see Hendrix’s take on humanity’s impact on nature, with pieces inspired by the untouched landscapes and the results of mankind’s meddling.
Bruce Nauman (Tate Modern, 7 October – 21 February)
Fair warning, if easy-to-digest art is your bag, best avoid this exhibition of modern American artist Bruce Nauman – after all, his most famous pieces include Clown Torture and Double Steel Cage Piece. The first major exhibition of his work in London in more than 20 years, this display from Tate Modern covers 40 artworks over 50 years, from neon artwork and video screens to immersive installations.
Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul (Royal Academy, London, 15 November – 28 February)
As the title implies, this is no cheery walk in the park. Emin has oft cited Munch as an inspiration for her darker pieces, and this exhibition at the Royal Academy explores the pain and misery of both. Featuring more than 25 of Emin’s works alongside a carefully considered selection of 19 oils and watercolours from Munch, this exhibition is set to be raw, emotional and highly personal.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (Tate Britain, 18 November to 9 May)
The biggest show yet from this award-winning British-Ghanaian artist (there are 80 works in total) is sure to spark your imagination. Yiadom-Boakye creates portraits of fictional people and places, all with poetic titles that give them a dream-like quality.
Wigmore Hall New Autumn Series (London, 13 September – 22 December)
A fantastic way to support UK-born or based musicians, this new programme of 100 classical concerts at Wigmore Hall takes us practically up to Christmas. The aim is to include live audiences wherever possible, but if regulations put pay to that, every concert will be live-streamed free with donations encouraged.
The Ascension by Sufjan Stevens, 25 September
Indie folk-pop darling Stevens comes out swinging on his eighth album, having just released 12-minute single America in which he laments his lack of faith in his country (the chorus features the repeated line ‘Don’t do to me what you did to America’). Timely stuff. There are a lot of genres at play here (electronica, folk and synthy pop particularly), but it’ll all give you goosebumps.
What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? by Public Enemy (25 September)
A timely reunion from Public Enemy sees their first new album in over 20 years – and judging by their first single, State of the Union (STFU), which was a political protest song lambasting Donald Trump and his regime, they’re not going to pull any punches either. One that’ll make you want to fight the power.
Live from the Barbican (4 October – 13 December)
The Barbican is officially back, with a huge two-month program of live music that will (restrictions permitting) be performed in front of a socially-distanced audience. If you can’t make it or lockdown rears its ugly head, then you can pay to livestream every performance instead. We’re most looking forward to the London Symphony Orchestra, who are performing a whopping 11 concerts from 27 November, and The Cosmos with Professor Brian Cox (not a typo) and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, taking place on 13 December.
DISCO by Kylie Minogue (6 November)
Turn off the news, ignore the dystopia outside and stick on this retro glitterball of an album from the Aussie queen of pop – perfect for turning your kitchen into a dancefloor (plus you won’t have to pay an entry fee). We’re already in love with her first single, Say Something.