The UK has been on lockdown since March 23 – and during that time we’ve had major news events, binge-worthy TV shows and questionable celebrity stunts.
But as lockdown begins to ease and people start to return to normal, it’s important to remember all the many things that we as a nation, and as a global community, have shared throughout this time.
From Netflix’s sensational docu-series the Tiger King, to the Queen’s historic speech and everyone’s short-lived obsession with Houseparty – here is a retrospective on some of those key lockdown milestones.
Netflix served up the truly iconic TV show, Love Is Blind, February 13
Okay, okay, so technically Love Is Blind came out pre-lockdown, but many of us were still bingeing the show when things really started to clamp down.
Its unique concept captivated the world’s attention, as Netflix producers placed a group of singletons into capsules, encouraging them to get to know one another without actually seeing their date in person. Instead, the couples spoke through screens – only being allowed to meet in the flesh once they had gotten engaged.
The process proved to be both successful and, well…not so much, as just two of the pairs that met on-screen (Lauren and Cameron, and Amber and Barnett) got hitched and are still happily married to date. That said, we’ll forever be grateful for the show’s masterful editing and to Netflix for introducing us to Jessica and Mark.
When Tiger King introduced us to Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin, March 20
Striking the perfect balance between salaciousness, intrigue and downright absurdity, Tiger King amassed a huge following worldwide, inspired many a hilarious meme – and delivered content we never knew we needed.
Following the long-term feud of Joe Exotic – a gun-toting, mulleted zoo owner with a penchant for animal print – and Carole Baskin, AKA, the queen of all the cool cats and kittens out there, the docu-series was a bizarre insight into America’s big cat obsession and will forever be known as an iconic lockdown moment.
Quiz reminded us all of the infamous Coughing Major scandal, April 13
The three-part drama was based on the infamous Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? cheating scandal involving “Coughing” Major Charles Ingram and his wife Diana.
Over 10million people across the UK tuned in to the suspenseful drama – making it ITV’s most-watched television show of that genre this year.
We welcomed Love Island rival, Too Hot To Handle, April 17
Fans may have been dubious about the Netflix’s Love Island rip-off at first, but the dating reality show proved to be unmissable television – with explosive rows and more sexual tension than we could shake a stick at!
As well as having a juicy twist, which saw the prize money diminish if the contestants so much as shared a smooch, the show taught the attractive bunch of hopefuls about self-control and self-worth – oh, and introduced us to the dynamic on-off duo, Harry and Francesca.
Normal People left us heartbroken, April 26
Chock full of intense sex scenes and a helluva lot of dramatic pauses and stares, it wasn’t exactly fair to air during lockdown when many people were craving human contact, but it perfectly encapsulated the fragility of young love – even if at times viewers felt like screaming or throwing hard objects at the telly.
The first Clap For Our Carers, March 26
Just three days into lockdown, the nation took part in a mass applause for the NHS and keyworkers, as gesture to say thank you.
People gathered on their doorsteps, took to the streets and hung out of their windows – all while socially distancing, of course – to take part.
Not only did the first applause offer an overwhelming sense of community spirit, it also revealed that a staggering number of people own cow bells.
The Prime Minister tested positive for coronavirus, March 27
Announcing his diagnosis via video call, Mr Johnson said: “I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.
“Together, we will beat this.”
At the time, a spokesperson for Downing Street said the Prime Minister had developed mild symptoms a day before the announcement, and was encouraged to take a test by Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty.
After weeks in intensive care, on April 13 it was confirmed that Mr Johnson had then tested negative for Covid-19 and was recovering at Chequers.
The Dominic Cummings saga, March
Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, came under fire after driving 260 miles from his London home to Durham during lockdown.
Despite calls for Cummings to be sacked or resign from his post, he defended his actions and stated that he drove to Barnard Castle to get his eyes tested.
Mr Cummings maintains that he did not break the law, stating: “I believe that in all the circumstances I behaved reasonably and legally, balancing the safety of my family and the extreme situation in Number 10.”
He said “I don’t regret what I did” and added that “the rules make clear that if you are dealing with small children that can be exceptional circumstances and the situation I was in was exceptional circumstances”.
Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds’ baby news, April 29
The Prime Minister welcomed his first child with fiancée Carrie Symonds on April 29 – just two days after returning to work after contracting coronavirus.
Just a few days later, Ms Symonds posted a photo of the tot on Instagram, revealing his name: “Introducing Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson born on 29.04.20 at 9am,” she wrote.
“Wilfred after Boris’ grandfather, Lawrie after my grandfather, Nicholas after Dr Nick Price and Dr Nick Hart – the two doctors that saved Boris’ life last month.”
Captain Tom Moore celebrated his 100th birthday by walking laps in his garden, April 30
War veteran Captain Tom Moore initially set out to raise £1,000 for the NHS by doing laps of his garden ahead of his 100th birthday.
But before long, his story captivated the heart’s of the nation and the Captain raised over £30million.
George Floyd’s death, May 25
On Monday, May 25, an unarmed Black man named George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis after he was arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill.
Viral footage showed officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes, as the latter stated multiple times “I can’t breathe.”
Black Lives Matter protests, May-present
In response to George Floyd’s tragic death, protests swept the United States and extended across the globe.
The Black Lives Matter movement has picked up momentum in recent weeks, with issues of systemic racism and police brutality against Black people being brought to the forefront of public discourse.
Gossip Girl memes, April
If we were pressed to decide on one moment that summarised just how bonkers lockdown was, this would be it.
For those not in the know (where have you been??) fans of the teen drama started sharing hilariously daft, fictional exchanges between two of Manhattan’s elite: Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) and Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively).
From witty Parasite references to artistic Photoshop skills – it’s fair to say the Internet is full of creative geniuses.
Banana bread and sourdough for days
Something about lockdown triggered everyone’s inner-Delia Smith, and had us tying up our aprons and hitting the kitchen up big time.
After all, what else were we going to do with all those manky, mouldy old bananas at the bottom of the fruit bowl?
Gal Gadot led a celeb cover of John Lennon’s Imagine, March 18
While lockdown has, for the most part, united us and taught us to slow down, be kind and appreciate the smaller things in life, it has also highlighted just how out of touch Hollywood is.
Led by Gal Gadot, a band of celebrities – including Natalie Portman, Sia, Pedro Pascal, Zoe Kravitz, Chris O’Dowd and more – starred in what has since been dubbed a “tone deaf” cover John Lennon’s classic, Imagine.
Although they no doubt intended to “lift people’s spirits”, it’s fair to say the video didn’t sit well with the majority of people.
What’s more, Gadot went on to share clips of fans recreating the video on her Instagram Stories – only to mistakenly share a historic YouTube cover by Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown thinking it was a fan submission. Awks!
The Bourne Isolation: Matt Damon’s lockdown experience in Ireland, April
Whilst filming his latest movie, The Last Duel, the Hollywood actor got stranded in the small Irish town of Dalkey.
Accompanied by his wife Luciana Barroso and their four children, Damon delighted locals, taking selfies with them (before social distancing was enforced) around town.
The star later revealed that living in Ireland was like a “fairy tale”.
Robert Pattinson’s bizarre GQ interview, May 12
R Patz is known for having a…unique sense of humour, but his GQ interview from May had us wondering whether he was being legit or just trolling the world over.
In the Q&A, Pattinson spoke (naturally) about his disdain for the Twilight franchise that thrust him into the limelight aged 21. But he also revealed his odd eating habits – much to the Internet’s delight.
Pattinson told GQ’s Zach Baron he’d been Googling how to microwave pasta, before stating: “Put it in a bowl and microwave it. That is how to microwave pasta. And also it really, really isn’t a thing. It’s really actually quite revolting. But I mean, who would have thought that it actually makes it taste disgusting?”
What’s more, he went on a big ol’ tangent about how he almost gave up his acting career to become a pasta entrepreneur.
We literally have no words.
When even non-sports fans got into the Bundesliga, May
It would perhaps be unfair to say people only tuned into German football due to lack of a better alternative, but there definitely seemed to be a pickup in viewers throughout lockdown.
Starting up again in May, Bundesliga football quenched the thirst for sporting drama as the first of Europe’s ‘big five’ football leagues to resume during the pandemic.
Top Premier League transfer targets, such as Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund and Timo Werner of RB Leipzig, and now Chelsea, were just two of the star attractions on show.
Virtual Formula One, June
F1’s Esports Virtual Grand Prix series raked in a record-breaking 30 million views across TV and digital platforms during the lockdown period.
Royal Ascot behind closed doors, June 16-20
For the first time in her reign, Queen Elizabeth II did not attend the annual horse racing event in Berkshire and it took place behind closed doors.
Fans were banned from the stands and extra safety measures were in place to adhere to Government guidelines.
The Queen’s historic ‘We’ll Meet Again’ speech, April 5
Queen Elizabeth II delivered a rousing speech to the nation earlier this year, in which she urged Brits to remain “united and resolute”.
The monarch went on to tell the nation: “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”
Harry and Meghan’s newspaper announcement, April 20
The couple, now based in Los Angeles, declared earlier this year that they will adopt a “zero engagement” policy and will never again speak to publications including the Daily Mirror, The Sun, the Daily Mail or the Daily Express.
Meghan Markle’s powerful response to George Floyd’s death, June 4
The Duchess of Sussex delivered a heartfelt message, deploring the death of George Floyd and racism.
In the video, which was addressed to the graduating class of her former high school, Ms Markle said she was “nervous” about broaching the topic, but ultimately “the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing”.
Music & Arts
One Man, Two Guvnors proved a massive hit, April 2
The National Theatre’s stream of One Man, Two Guvnors was viewed over 900,000 times, with over 200,000 people tuning in live.
Starring James Corden, Jemima Rooper and Oliver Chris, the play’s online audience equated to 224 sold-out performances in the National’s Lyttelton Theatre, where it was originally staged.
Lady Gaga’s long-awaited Chromatica release, May 28
In what felt like Christmas for Little Monsters everywhere, the Mother Monster *finally* released her sixth studio album Chromatica in May.
As well as featuring 16 electro pop tracks that saw Lady Gaga return to her musical roots, the LP inspired hilarious memes and reactions, as fans were sent into meltdown.
Glastonbury…at home, June 24-28
The real deal may have been cancelled, but fans across the UK celebrated in their back gardens and living rooms, re-watching historic clips on what should have been the festival’s big 50th anniversary event.
Adele also caused quite a stir by uploading photos of her partying to her own 2016 set – wearing the same dress, we might add!
Tech & Gaming
Animal Crossing came to Nintendo Switch, March 20
In our review of the game, we called New Horizons a “soothing balm for the soul”, ideal to keep the lockdown blues at bay – and we weren’t wrong!
Tom Nook and his loveable pals have officially won scores of fans and Animal Crossing has become the most beloved game of the year.
When everyone used Houseparty…for all of two seconds, March
As the nation was placed into lockdown and people were pulled away from their loved ones, many of us turned to technology to bridge the gap.
That said, the hype soon died down and everyone got video call fatigue – there were even security fears which resulted in owners Epic Games offering a $1million bounty for leads.