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Film and TV were hit particularly hard by the onset of the pandemic last year, as national lockdowns across the globe forced cinemas to close their doors and big budget productions to shut down entirely. While 2021 has seen a return to business as usual – albeit with stringent Covid safety precautions in place – the events of the last 18 months have clearly impacted the nature of the industry and people’s viewing habits on a deeper level. Some of the most popular shows of the year range from the joyous and uplifting (think Sex Education’s lighthearted examination of horny teenagers) to pure escapism (Netflix’s luxury retail series Selling Sunset is so OTT opulent that it almost doesn’t count as a reality show).
After productions ground to a halt in the wake of the pandemic, the cinema attempted a comeback this year. Meanwhile, streaming platforms served up a glut of bingeworthy series to ensure that we all remained glued to our tellies

Top: Netflix hit series Squid Game. Above: Still from Dune