In 2017, Time Magazine named its person of the year as "the silence breakers". McGowan was just one of those many women who stepped forward to make accusations about Harvey Weinstein that year. She was there at the beginning of a series or revelations about the producer which would snowball into a global sharing of stories of women's experience of sexual assault and harassment that would be called #MeToo. If anyone became a figurehead, it was McGowan. She may not have come up with the term Me Too – that was Tarana Burke back in 2006. Nor was she the person to put the hashtag out into the ocean of social media – that was Alyssa Milano, her co-star from Charmed. But she made her mark as someone who would not be silenced. She has also claimed that she was the first person to out Weinstein.

#MeToo was a cultural revolution and catharsis. Back in 2017, when it broke, it felt as if Hollywood and the many fields where men were protected by their power and influence would never be the same again. In this revolution around what women should tolerate, who would be listened to, and what should be shamed, McGowan stood out. She wrote a memoir, Brave. She used her anger as a weapon. In an interview with the Times, she asked, "Who has been more effective? … Playing nice for women hasn't got us very far."

Weinstein recently complained that he was "a forgotten man". With his trial coming up next month – five charges, including two counts of rape – he might wish he were more forgotten than he is. #MeToo might have experienced backlash and criticism. But out of it did come much that was positive and inspirational, particularly the courage of the women who came forward. McGowan embodies that. Her voice carried the message that the time when abusers could expect silence was over.



Speaking to The Herald recently, Scottish actress Ellie Haddington recalled her time working on The Cafe, a Sky One sitcom which aired in 2011. It starred The Royle Family's Ralf Little alongside Haddington and Little's co-writer Michelle Terry. But it was another cast member, then an unknown 26-year-old actress, who particularly caught Haddington's eye. "I can remember looking at her," she said, "and thinking: 'My God, what an extraordinary individual.'" The individual in question was Phoebe Waller-Bridge, in her first major role.

Fast forward eight years and the London-born polymath has the world at her feet, particularly the part that houses the gilded constituencies that hand out Emmys and Golden Globes. The 2020 Golden Globe ceremony is on January 5 in Beverly Hills and Waller-Bridge is up for two awards. Ten days later she'll be honoured at the Screen Actors Guild Awards where she's nominated in two categories. And if she flies home laden with mantelpiece accessories it won't be the first time – she scooped three Golden Globes at last year's award as well as three Primetime Emmys.

If not, well there's the not insignificant matter of the 25th James Bond film, No Time to Die, to be released in April. Waller-Bridge co-wrote the script and great things are expected. Of course if there's one production on which Waller-Bridge's name is indelibly stamped it's Fleabag, written by and starring her as a young Londoner navigating family, work, sex and relationships with brutal honesty and unsettling humour.

Starting out as a one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe, it was turned into a TV series in 2016 but was dropped quietly onto BBC Three, then only available online. But word-of-mouth is still a powerful tool even in our digital age and by the summer it had been relaunched on BBC Four. The rest is television history: when we look back at this decade's television, we'll be splitting it into pre and post-Fleabag.

Even more interestingly, Waller-Bridge followed that triumph with one of the career curve-balls we've now come to expect: an adaptation of Luke Jennings's Villanelle spy novel series. Retitled Killing Eve it was fresh, funny, thrillingly violent and gratuitously fashion-forward, and made a star of lead actress Jodie Comer, whose pink Molly Godard tulle dress became the go-to Hallowe'en costume for hipsters everywhere. And, of course, it hauled in yet more gongs for its writer.

Will it be third time lucky with No Time to Die? Don't ever bet against Phoebe Waller-Bridge.



Small, wet, overweight countries should not – and usually do not – produce tennis superstars. As only those from other small countries can appreciate – the Jamaicans and Swiss, perhaps – possessing a global sports hero somehow makes your whole nation stand a little taller.

That's exactly what Andy Murray has done for Scotland (alongside shattering our collective nerves, of course). Is there any feeling comparable to the buzz of watching Murray play a big match, willing him to win with every demented fibre of your mind and body? I think not.

And yet the Dunblane-born champion is not only from Scotland, but very much of his homeland. During the late Noughties, the young, gangly, wild-haired Murray thrilled us with his impressive Wimbledon runs. But as the years went on and he just missed out on a slew of grand slam trophies, many English media outlets and tennis fans took against him, decrying the sweary intensity and dry Scottish banter. This only made Scots love him more, of course.

Eventually, with patience, maturity, courage and sheer hard graft came the top honours in tennis – the US Open, two Wimbledon singles titles, two Olympic gold medals, the Davis Cup, the coveted world number one spot – and global adulation.

But as much as he grew as a sportsman, what's equally remarkable about Murray is how he grew as person. Indeed, it is his openness, humanity and humility, the way he speaks out against sexism in tennis, that make him a true hero, loved by his peers and the public, rather than simply respected.

A devastating hip injury – and subsequent resurfacing operation – nearly ended Murray's career, and his recent comeback has been both painful and inspiring to watch.

Murray taught Scots to dream big. But the father of three also taught Scots men, in particular, showing your feelings, being true to yourself, makes you a bigger man in every way.



The world's richest man is fond of reminding people that he started Amazon in his garage. A company that is now worth more than £8 trillion and employs in the region of 600,000 people began with Bezos packing books and taking them to the post office himself.

Like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter's Jack Dorsey, Bezos grasped early on the potential of the internet. That realisation has had huge consequences. Amazon has transformed shopping, helped hollow out the high street, and led to a fortune for its creator estimated at £106bn.

That has allowed him to set up his own space exploration company and buy the Washington Post (the latter setting him on a collision course with Donald Trump because of the paper's investigation into the US president's links with Russia).

Bezos's success can't be gainsayed, but at what cost? Employees have bitterly complained about working conditions, the EU is investigating the company for anti-trust violations and earlier this year it had to scrap plans to build a second headquarters in New York when local politicians questioned why a company making $1bn (£767 million) a month should receive taxpayers' cash to move to the city.

Oh yes, and it was also revealed that the company had not paid any income tax in the US the previous year. Or the year before that. You don't get to be the richest man in the world by giving

anything away, obviously.



In the months after his death at the start of 2016, as Britain voted for Brexit and America voted for Donald Trump, there was a spate of tweets wondering if Bowie's absence was now one of the reasons why everything was going to hell in a handcart.

"I'm not saying that David Bowie was holding the fabric of the universe together, but *gestures broadly at everything*" tweeted blogger Katie Liewy with tongue firmly in cheek in June that year.

Whether his influence actually stretched that far, there's no doubt that culturally this decade was Bowie's, in the same way as the 1990s belonged to the Beatles. As Oasis looked to Lennon and McCartney in the mid-1990s, Bowie became the touchstone for any musician – from FKA Twigs to St Vincent – in the 2010s who wanted to push the odd boundary.

But none of them did it as well as the original, who returned at the start of 2013, after almost a decade in which he had withdrawn from public view. He released a new single, Where Are We Now?, on his birthday without any warning. It presaged a new album, The Next Day, and a V&A retrospective, David Bowie Is. Three years later he released an album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday. Two days later his death was announced. It was as if he was curating his own end.

For anyone who knew him in the middle of the 1970s the fact that Bowie avoided being a rock 'n' roll casualty must have seemed a miracle given his copious drug intake back then.

Instead, he weaned himself off them, created some of the most memorable and potent music of the late 20th century, reinvented himself as a mainstream pop star in the 1980s, then became an elder statesman who embraced everything from drum 'n' bass to the internet before his final 21st-century flourish.

His is one of the great stories in pop and in 2016 it came to a tragic yet magnificent conclusion.



The chronicles of self-styled maverick billionaire Elon Musk never fail to fascinate. Among his outlandish adventures and madcap musings, we have Elon and the space car; Elon and the Thai cave rescue; Elon and the dead gorilla novelty rap; Elon and his plan to nuke Mars.

South African-born Musk first pricked the public consciousness as a technology entrepreneur, investor and engineer in 1999 when, aged 28, he sold his web software company, Zip2, to Compaq for $340 million (£261m).

He continued to ascend his field throughout the Noughties, but it is in the last decade that Musk has become a household name for his roles as founder/chief engineer/designer of SpaceX and the CEO/product architect at Tesla.

Granted, this is often more down to calamity than plaudits for his innovative work. Such as the cringe-inducing moment during a recent unveiling for the new Tesla Cybertruck when, demonstrating how tough the "armour glass" of the windows was to break, they were duly smashed.

Or when he referred to British diver Vernon Unsworth – who helped rescue 12 Thai boys trapped in a flooded underwater cave in 2018 – as "pedo guy" on Twitter (Musk won a defamation case brought by Unsworth in a US court earlier this month).

Then there's Musk's lofty plans to "nuke Mars" – which he describes as "a fixer upper of a planet" – suggesting that nuclear bombs should be detonated at its poles to melt the ice caps and allow it to sufficiently heat up for humans to dwell there.

And the head-scratching moment when he dropped a track on SoundCloud called RIP Harambe, a heavily auto-tuned song about the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla whose death in 2016 sparked a global outpouring of grief and anger.

Sure, Musk sometimes loses credibility due to his more leftfield thinking – such as a belief that we're all probably living in a giant computer simulation like The Matrix or a Sims-style game controlled by superior beings – but there is no denying that he's a clever guy who shouldn't be underestimated.

If this is a simulation, we can't wait to see what our overlords get him to do next.



Surely it wasn't meant to be like this. If you become a fairy tale princess can you not then expect to live happily ever after?

That hasn't been the case for Meghan Markle. Yes, she had the royal wedding last year attended by the great and the good and the merely famous. Yes, she got a title, a handsome prince and a royal baby (seventh in line to the throne). Not what she must have expected growing up a mixed-race kid in Los Angeles.

And yet since the wedding there has found herself a constant target of the tabloid press. She recently filed a lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday for publishing a private letter to her estranged father. It also prompted her husband Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, to condemn the media's "relentless propaganda" which was, he said, often "knowingly false and malicious" in a public statement announcing the legal action.

His anger is perhaps understandable given the paparazzi's involvement in the death of his mother. "Every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back," he admitted this year.

The Duchess of Sussex's major crime would appear to be that she has "opinions". There is a class of media commentator – mouthy, reactionary and perhaps most importantly white – who is offended by her feminism and likes to moan about the couple's "wokeness". It has prompted "the Queen", or, rather, the TV version of the monarch, Olivia Colman, star of The Crown, to speak out against the critics.

"I don't know why they're so mean to a fellow human being," Coleman said of the press coverage.

Or maybe we simply have to accept there is no such thing as happy ever after.



"My name is Greta," a Swedish schoolgirl wrote on her flyers in 2018. "I am in ninth grade, and I am school-striking for the climate. Since you adults don't give a damn about my future, I won't either." It's hard to believe that it has only been just over a year since Thunberg – recognised now simply as "Greta" to millions – made her viral UN speech in Poland, saying, "You say you love your children above all else. And yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes."

Thunberg may only have made her stamp in the final year of the decade, but at just 16 years old she has done more to provoke an attitude shift on environment than anyone, and she began it by skipping school.

Her words and actions have woken millions of schoolchildren, four million of whom went on strike from school on September 20, as well as adults, to the science-backed threat of the climate emergency. On what is arguably the biggest issue of our time, hers is the voice that has led, upbraiding those in leadership. Margaret Atwood called her the Joan of Arc of environmentalism. Donald Trump told her to "chill". Collins Dictionary made "climate strike" its word of the year.

Why did people listen to her, when others saying the same were ignored? Perhaps because of who she was – not an adult, scientist, politician or expert – and how she, a teenager with Asperger's Syndrome, delivered her message, politely, yet angrily and without softenings. To the UN General Assembly, in September, she said: "We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you." She has started a powerful movement. The question is whether necessary change will follow. Can we alter the ending of this terrifying nightmare? Thunberg dares us to.



By the time Nicola Sturgeon became Scotland's first female First Minister in 2014, at the age of 44, she had already been involved in politics for more than a quarter of a century.

She joined the SNP in her native Ayrshire – then a Labour bastion – aged 16 at the height of the Thatcher years. It was the decisive first step on a journey that would transform not only the young Sturgeon but the fortunes of her party, and, ultimately, the political landscape in Scotland.

After becoming an MSP in 1999, Sturgeon, a solicitor by trade, impressed from the outset, serving in two shadow cabinets. In 2007, she was elected deputy party leader to Alex Salmond during his second stint as party leader. The partnership was successful and in 2011 the SNP won a majority at Holyrood, paving the way for 2014's independence referendum.

When Salmond resigned as SNP leader and First Minister in the aftermath of the Yes campaign's loss, Sturgeon was the obvious choice to replace him.

The five years since have seen tumultuous change in UK politics, with Sturgeon growing in stature as politician and stateswoman, both in UK and European terms, even in the eyes of many who do not share her stance on independence. She regularly appears in glossy magazine lists of the world's most influential women.

During the recent General Election campaign her clear opposition to Brexit and impressive performances in TV debates – not to mention her lively Twitter feed – won her a whole new legion of fans in England, particularly among women. Will Sturgeon lead Scotland to independence in the 2020s? That remains to be seen. Regardless, her place in Scottish history, as politician and role model, is guaranteed.



Things might look different now. In 2016, at the end of Barack Obama's second term in office, when commentators looked back at his legacy as president, there was a sense that his achievements were, at best, mixed.

True, he had withdrawn US soldiers from Iraq, improved relations with Cuba, reached a nuclear deal with Iran and introduced Obamacare.

Set against that, though, he escalated American military involvement in Afghanistan, increased drone strikes in Pakistan, saw wealth and income inequality rocket under his watch. Guantanamo Bay was still in operation when he left office and though he spoke out in favour of gun control he didn't manage to introduce it.

Obama could point to Republican obstruction in the House of Congress. Even so there was a whiff of missed opportunities about his presidency. Perhaps that was inevitable. In the end a centrist president was never going to live up to the utopian notions so many Americans projected on to him during the 2008 election campaign.

And yet, in retrospect, perhaps his achievements are growing. What has been missed over the last four years is his articulacy, eloquence, wit and normality.

In part it's because he represents the antithesis of what came after. An inarticulate, narcissistic, racist, corrupt old man whose first term has been a skip fire of the vanities ending in a vote for impeachment. Obama for all his failings always felt like he was an adult in the room. Can you say the same of Donald Trump?



Love her or loathe her, there is no denying that Kim Kardashian West ripped up the rule book in her rise to becoming a world-famous reality star with a multi-million-dollar business empire and a global fanbase.

Having first found peripheral fame as a friend and stylist to heiress Paris Hilton in the early 2000s, Kardashian West gained notoriety after the release of her sex tape with then-boyfriend Ray J in 2007. That same year, the family's reality TV series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, began airing.

While the naysayers reckoned it would be a fleeting 15 minutes of fame, Kardashian West pulled off a shrewd and unparalleled move: she utilised social media to make herself into a brand. Today, her Midas touch extends across fashion, fragrances and cosmetics to television, books, gaming, and even law and politics. Oh, and she is queen of the selfie.

An exaggerated hourglass figure and cartoonishly large backside have become a trademark for Kardashian West, garnering as many – and often more – column inches as her entrepreneurial ventures.

Indeed, when Kardashian West posed for a 2014 cover of Paper magazine with her rear bared and oiled up like a Greek wrestler, it saw a new phrase "break the internet" coined, referring to the frenzy that the images sparked.

That same year, she joined her husband, the rapper Kanye West, for a landmark cover on Vogue magazine. "There are a lot of firsts," Kardashian West said at the time. "Kanye's the first rapper to be on, I'm the first reality person to be on, we're the first interracial couple."

She continues to surprise people. Earlier this year, Kardashian West announced she was following in her late father's footsteps by studying to become a lawyer (Robert Kardashian was a defence attorney who was part of the legal team during OJ Simpson's 1995 murder trial).

Kardashian West – who boasts 154 million social media followers on Instagram alone – seems determined to use her platform and stratospheric public profile

for good, visiting US president Donald Trump at the Oval Office last year to discuss justice reform.

She successfully lobbied Trump to grant clemency to Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old woman who spent 22 years in an Alabama prison, without parole, for a non-violent, first-time drug offence. Johnson was released in 2018 and Kardashian West has vowed to tackle other miscarriage of justices.

Her work to date makes for impressive reading. But in the scheme of things, one could argue that Kardashian West is only just getting started. With her husband having announced he intends to run for US president in 2024, a decade from now this might all seem like small fry.



Why is Stormzy one of the most influential public figures of the last decade? There are 91 people you could ask – 91 black students who were admitted to Cambridge University in 2019. That's up about 50 per cent more than the 61 who started courses in 2018.

Not all of it is down to Stormzy, but a lot of it may be. In 2018, the grime artist announced he would be paying the tuition fees and maintenance grants of two black Cambridge students, and this year he said he'd be paying for two more. It's called the Stormzy Scholarship and now they're calling the rise in the number of black students at Cambridge the Stormzy Effect.

The question is: can the effect spread? There's still a huge gap between the chances of going to university in the UK if you're white and well-off and the chances of going if you're black or you're poor or you're both and some argue universities will have to offer places to poorer students with lower grades to start making a difference. But the good news, thanks to Stormzy, is that black students now make up more than three per cent of new undergrads at Cambridge for the first time.

Stormzy has had another effect too, and perhaps it's one that will be even more profound. Rappers have traditionally had a bit of an image problem: they've usually promoted out-of-school activities rather than in-school ones. But Stormzy's different. "It sounds corny coming from a rapper," he says, "but I did love learning and I loved studying." The Stormzy Effect could inspire many others to feel the same.



Once in a lifetime – if you're very lucky – there's a sporting star who shines so brightly that they eclipse everything that has come before.

Step forward Simone Biles. The US gymnast's talent and achievements are such that we humble observers have long since exhausted the superlatives.

While the gymternet – as the online community of gymnastics fans are known – has been abuzz about Biles for years, it was at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games that the rest of the world sat up and took notice.

Biles, who won four golds and a bronze, found herself repeatedly compared to a raft of male sporting greats as if that is the only way we could comprehend her colossal achievements. "I'm not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps," she responded. "I'm the first Simone Biles."

The 22-year-old from Texas burst onto the global gymnastics scene in 2013, winning her debut world all-around gold in Antwerp. It is a title that Biles has claimed on four further occasions (missing only 2017 while on a post-Olympic hiatus), alongside a raft of individual apparatus medals.

In October, Biles took her 25th medal, making her the most decorated gymnast – male or female – in world championship history (and that includes 19 golds).

But it is not only in a competition arena that Biles proved herself a gargantuan presence. In January 2018, she released a statement on Twitter confirming that former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar had sexually assaulted her under the guise of medical treatment.

Nassar was later sentenced to up to 175 years in prison after more than 150 women stood up in court and laid bare their own experiences of sexual abuse in a scandal spanning three decades.

Biles and her fellow survivors were awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. At the 2018 US National Championships, she designed and wore a teal leotard – a colour used to raise awareness about sexual abuse.

A vocal critic of the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for their response to the allegations against Nassar, Biles continues to lobby for better accountability from both governing bodies.

She refuses to be defined by what happened. Biles's willingness to push the boundaries of her sport remains unabated. At the 2019 US Gymnastics Championships, she stepped out in a crystal-studded leotard bearing her surname above an embroidered image of a goat's head.

It was a nod to the acronym GOAT, which is shorthand for the Greatest of All Time. Far from being boastful, however, this was Biles's tongue-in-cheek "jab back" at the "haters" (yes, there are those who simply can't deal with her success).

She has the goods to back it up. This year Biles had two gymnastics skills – a hugely difficult triple twisting-double somersault in her floor routine and double-double dismount from beam – named in her honour after she became the first woman to perform them. Both appear to defy gravity.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games loom on the horizon. Simone Biles is far from done yet.



He was the most wanted terrorist in the world. For more than half of the last decade, no single figure caused more chaos in the Middle East than Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri. For that was his real name, even though the world came to know him by his nom de guerre, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

As the decade began al-Baghdadi had already served four years in the sprawling US military detention centre called Camp Bucca, which had detained some of the Iraq War's most radical jihadists. In political and religious terms he was already a long way from his days as a PhD student of Islamic Studies at university in Baghdad.

By 2014, clad in black robes and standing in the pulpit of a mosque in Iraq's second city of Mosul, he was already claiming the title caliph of the Muslim world and leadership of the infamous Islamic State (IS) group.

Few even then could have imagined the chaos, carnage and suffering that al -Baghdadi, born one of six children in 1971, would wreak on the world.

It would not be until October 26, 2019, in a raid carried out by US Special Forces, when al-Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest in the Syrian province of Idlib, that the world was rid of his malign presence.

"We killed the last murderous bastard who ran IS, let's go get the next one," proclaimed one tough-talking US Republican Senator in the wake of al- Baghdadi's death.

But in the tunnels and booby traps left behind in cities like Mosul and Raqqa to the mass graves and thousands of faceless, black-clad female followers haunting refugee camps, IS's presence remains palpable along with its new new leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.

Many IS fighters now languish in prisons, but thousands more remain at large re-grouping and organising while their franchises likewise operate across the globe. This is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's lingering and still menacing legacy.



Ah, Bob Servant. How do we love thee? Let us count the ways. King of the humble (and not so humble) brag. Penchant for fun-loving lollipop ladies and room temperature Midori. Half-baked publicity stunts coupled with glowing obituaries to tinpot dictators.

Dundee-born Neil Forsyth is the man who breathed life into the incorrigible comic creation, first as a series of books, then a BBC Radio Scotland adaptation and latterly a BBC Four sitcom with Brian Cox in the titular role.

Recent years have seen the Broughty Ferry burger don – who has been declared a "national treasure" – become a social media sensation, amassing a loyal Twitter following as he imparts inimitable pearls of wisdom as part of his frank and forthright narrative on life.

As well as running Bob's Twitter account, Forsyth penned the hit BBC Scotland drama Guilt, which aired this autumn, and was given five stars by The Herald's TV critic Alison Rowat, who described it as "the most impressive small screen debut since Tutti Frutti".



For gay people, the last 10 years have been the decade of change after a century of virtually none. Public opinion has become ever more supportive. LGBT people have become ever more visible. And in 2014, gay marriage was made legal in most of the UK.

Then there's the T in LGBT. A few days ago, the Scottish Government published a draft bill which will simplify the process of trans men and women having their gender legally recognised, but it's not been an easy path. Some feminists say the legislation will undermine the rights of women. Trans activists say a change in the law is the only way to end the demeaning legal and medical process trans people currently have to endure. The two sides have not always been nice to each other.

What the debate, and the bitterness, may prove is there is still some distance to go to LGBT equality, but the fact we got closer in the last decade is in large part due to its trans pioneers and one pioneer in particular. You know what I'm talking about and if not, you should: the cover of Vanity Fair in June 2015. Caitlyn Jenner. Former Olympic athlete. Openly transgender woman.

For Jenner, the photograph was an act of happiness. "I'm so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self," she said when the magazine was published. "Welcome to the world Caitlyn." And for those who saw the picture, it was an act of courage and activism. When is equality? When trans people are in parliaments, and in churches, and in governments, and on the cover of fashion magazines.



Vladimir Putin is about to mark 20 years in power – he first became Russian president on December 31, 1999 – and for much of that time the West has looked at his style – authoritarian, bombastic and a little bit silly – and thought: thank God we're not like that.

But that was then. First, a man with a fag in his mouth – call me Nigel – became leader of Ukip and the Brexit Party. Then a man with a phone in his hand – call me Donald – became president of the United States. And then a man with an inappropriate phrase on the tip of his tongue – call me Boris – became Prime Minister of the UK.

It's not a coincidence they are known by their Christian names. Nigel, Donald and Boris represent a new, first-names-only style of politics that has dominated America and the UK in the last 10 years: populist, chummy, big on rhetoric, light on detail, and – much to the frustration of liberals – effective at attracting votes. Those three men have attracted support from working class voters who have traditionally looked to the left for answers. In the last 10 years, though, they've looked right, and the result is Nigel, Donald and Boris.

The next decade will decide their fate. Arguably, Farage has already been neutered after the Brexit Party's dismal election campaign. But the fates of Trump and Johnson are less certain. Trump has been impeached and will face a trial in the Senate, but it's controlled by the Republicans, who aren't going to vote their man out. As for Johnson, he's just won a big, blue majority and, failing a cock-up (which can't be ruled out with Boris) he's going to be here for the next five years.

Beware: 10 years of populism may become 20.



Science always plays the long game. It took almost a century for scientists in 2015 to prove Einstein's 1916 predictions of gravitational waves in space, which formed part of his theory of general relativity. Professor Peter Higgs didn't have to wait quite that long.

Back in 1964, while teaching at Edinburgh University, Higgs published papers predicting the existence of a particle that gave mass to the most basic building blocks of matter. It soon became known as the Higgs Boson. Much to his dismay, it was also called the God particle.

No-one could find it, however. Or not until 2012, when the large hadron collider near Geneva finally proved its existence.

A year later Higgs, then 84, won the Nobel Prize in Physics, sharing the prize with fellow scientist Francois Englert.

Higgs decided to go on holiday when the prize was announced, neglecting to take his mobile phone with him in a bid to avoid being pestered by journalists. They could wait. He had, after all.



There was a moment, in the summer of 2012, where everywhere you looked someone had their nose in a copy Fifty Shades of Grey. Its racy themes became the subject of countless water cooler chats, school run tete-a-tetes and whispered conversations over the garden fence.

The erotic novel by EL James has been crowned bestselling book of the decade. In fact, the author's Fifty Shades trilogy claimed the top three spots in the UK chart. Fifty Shades of Grey sold 4.73 million copies, followed by Fifty Shades Darker with 3.37m and Fifty Shades Freed with 3.11m (a spin-off novel, Grey, also made the list at number 18, selling 1.11m). To date, EL James has sold more than 125m copies of her books worldwide.

The series follows protagonist Anastasia Steele as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and sexual awakening after being introduced to a world of BDSM by billionaire tycoon Christian Grey.

Initially the novels were published by a small, virtual publisher based in Australia with around 90 per cent of the sales eBook downloads. Then Vintage Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, bought the rights. Suddenly, Fifty Shades of Grey was everywhere.

EL James – the pen name for former TV executive Erika Leonard – has earned a reported fortune of £127m.

Although, it's not just the books that made money. The adult retailer, Ann Summers, credited Fifty Shades of Grey with boosting sales of its more risque sex toys in 2012. At the time, an Ann Summers spokeswoman admitted staff couldn't "keep up with demand" as blindfold purchases rose by 60%, rope ties by 35% with paddles and handcuffs both up by 30%.

In every definition the word, Fifty Shades of Grey has been a phenomenon.



The beetles in Indonesia have no idea. Neither do the lizards in India. But the Trigonopterus attenboroughi beetle and the Sitana attenboroughii lizard are named after an exceptional member of homo sapiens: Sir David Attenborough. It's quite a tribute if only they knew it.

Why is he exceptional? Because before Sir David, one of the few ways to see animals was through bars in a zoo, and before Sir David you may have used a plastic bag without thinking about it very much.

Then we saw his ground-breaking programme Blue Planet and we heard the facts. More than 150 million tonnes of plastic are drifting in the oceans and every year, this sea of plastic is causing the deaths of one million birds and 100,000 sea mammals.

Sir David tells it as it is: "It's vile, it's horrid and it's something we are clearly seeing inflicted on the natural world and having a dreadful effect and there's something we can do about it. So in a way it's a bit of a litmus test to see if the population care about it."

The reason Sir David is one of the great men and women of the last decade is he's made us care about it, and the planet, and the life on it.

Sir David is hopeful on the whole – "I think we're all shifting our behaviour," he says – but his message of the last decade is that the next one is our last chance for change. For the sake of Trigonopterus attenboroughi. And Sitana attenboroughii. And homo sapiens.