Play Hard

The best bits of media in 2021 that’ll pick you up this Blue Monday

Written by High Life North
Published 16.01.2021


Blithe Sprit

Sky/Now TV

A spiritualist medium – in the form of the legend that is Judi Dench – holds a séance for a crime novelist  (former Downton star, Dan Stevens), who’s suffering from writer’s block. Except she accidentally summons the spirit of his deceased first wife, (Leslie Mann, of The Other Woman fame) which leads to a complex love triangle with his current wife, played by Isla Fisher. Based on the play of the same name by Noel Coward, expect just the right amount of slapstick comedy we need right now.



Series 1 & 2, Apple TV 

If you’ve already watched the first season of this cracking historical-comedy, then you’d have probably been waiting for last Friday just as impatiently as we were for the release of series two. Set in 19th century New England – but with a banging rock and pop soundtrack – Dickinson follows an ambitious young woman scornful of convention: the great American poet, Emily Dickinson. Hailee Steinfeld perfectly brings life to a woman we only know from the pages she wrote, while the series promises to have you cackling, crying and inspired to create in equal measure.


What Would Sophia Loren Do?


Most of us can easily remember that age-old saying we used to hear when we were younger: ‘why can’t you be more like so-and-so?’ It’s a classic parenting tactic. But for film producer Regina K. Scully, the message she got from her mother was a little different: “now what would Sophia Loren do?” In this delightful short documentary, Scully’s Italian immigrant mom, Nancy Kulik, shares intimate stories from the triumphs and trials of her own life, musing on the inspiration and influence Loren has offered and, eventually, meets the movie star herself to form an instant, heartwarming bond.


My Year In Mensa


In 2018, the world’s exclusive genius club, Mensa, let a self-admitted ‘dumb slut’ into their ranks. My Year in Mensa tells her story. Comedian Jamie Loftus’ podcast, retelling her time amongst the intellectual elite, is as hilarious as it is insightful, as she offers a glimpse into what it’s like to take the test, be accepted and, eventually, attend the 2019 American Mensa Gathering in Phoenix, Arizona. Her fellow Mensans are not happy – but you will be after listening. A four-part series that you’ll be able to digest in one sitting (if you have an afternoon free), it’s exactly the kind of bizarre story that podcasts were made for.


Steps – What The Future Holds


Ok, so there’s a couple of things to admit about this one – namely that we’re still low-key obsessed with Steps in 2021. But hear us out! Our childhood legends released their latest album, What The Future Holds, back in November but if, like us, your earbuds were so full of Christmas music you missed it, we’d recommend giving it a go now. Offering a welcome hit of nostalgia for the days we’d happily spend in the schoolyard getting the Tragedy dance moves down, What The Future Holds is packed full of the kind of powerhouse pop that is gonna get you bopping this not-so-Blue Monday.


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