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The best books, films and TV of 2016, as chosen by the ShortList team


Sure 2016 had its bad parts, but there was some pretty awesome stuff that happened too, like Indian sandwiches and movies about tickling people.

Let the ShortList staff take you through some of the highlights of the year that brought us Brexit, Trump and that bloody gorilla meme.

Ralph Jones – Tickled


Rarely does a film leave you open-mouthed in dumb disbelief. This documentary about a competitive tickling empire (yup, documentary) was funny, disturbing and shocking in equal measure. If you only ever see one film about tickling, make it this.


Louise Donovan - Kaytranada, 99.9%



Woozy beats, house/funk steals, and guest appearances from 2016’s hottest (Craig David, Anderson Paak, Vic Mensa) – Kaytranada’s debut album is as close to flawlessness as the title suggests. Sounds like a genre-hopping mess, but it works. Oh, it works.

Josh Williams – Zero K by Don DeLillo


Visionary novelist DeLillo drags us into a near-future compound where bodies are frozen until there’s a cure for whatever killed them, then brought back to life. The book – written in a chilling, bloodless tone – throws up a glut of moral dilemmas sure to provide inspiration for your next existential crisis.

Zero K

Alex Christian – David Bowie: Blackstar


Death as art. A 10-minute title track, Nadsat verses, and the majestic <Lazarus> with its killer opening line, “Look up here, I'm in heaven” – all played by a jazz band trying to do a rock album. The ultimate stage exit, Bowie-style.

Joe Mackertich – The Night Of


HBO’s contribution to the Nice Boy Goes To Prison canon had me hooked from the first minute of the first episode. Richard Price’s dialogue made me realise how much I still pine for The Wire.


Chris Mandle – The Bhaji Smuggler at Max’s Sandwich Shop


Literally delicious bread smushed full of delicious things, this ‘wich restored my faith in humanity on a rainy evening in 2016. Carrot bhajis, chilli and peanut salsa, pickles, raita – they even chuck a generous smattering of Bombay Mix in there for good measure.


Andrew Dickens – Kubo and the Two Strings


I saw this among dozens of children and adults, all transfixed for 102 minutes. Animation so beautiful it will soothe all pain, with a story of hope, loyalty, sacrifice and, most importantly, forgiveness. It’s cinematic Ecstasy; an antidote to hate. 

Jordan Waller – The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock


A gothic western that ruminates on faith, family, loyalty and sexuality. Never have I cared more about the wellbeing of despicable men with nonsensical names.

Heavenly Table

Sam Diss – Last Chance U


Like Toy Story 3's Sunnyside Daycare but for unwanted athletes, Netflix docu series Last Chance U is a heart-breaking and addictive look at the destruction and drama that dominates a sport that works way better on film than in real life. 



16 things which happened in 2016 that were actually good


This is what most people Googled in 2016


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