Entertainment & Arts

Look ahead to 2012

What are the cultural events to look forward to in 2012? The BBC's arts and entertainment team picks some of the big books, films, tours and shows for the new year.

FILMS OF 2012 - Neil Smith, Entertainment reporter

Image caption The Avengers, War Horse, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit

Comic book heroes, action staples and a return to Middle Earth are sure to have box office tills ringing a merry tune over the next 12 months.

A slew of films based on classic fairy tale characters continues the trend of established brands already familiar to international audiences.

Image caption Julia Roberts plays the evil queen in Mirror Mirror, one of two new versions of Snow White

Attempts to woo punters to untested properties, such as Cowboys and Aliens and the calamitous Mars Needs Moms, left more than one studio bruised in 2011.

Hollywood won't be making that mistake again in a 2012 awash with dependable blockbuster titles and critic-proof "tent-pole" franchises.

The biggest hitters are surely Batman and Bond, returning in July and October respectively in The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall.

The former appears likely to be Christian Bale's final outing as the Caped Crusader, while the latter will see Daniel Craig back as 007 after a four-year hiatus.

Other superheroes doing the rounds include The Amazing Spider-Man, back in the form of Britain's Andrew Garfield, and all-star Marvel ensemble piece The Avengers.

Hoping to match Skyfall in the action stakes, meanwhile, will be The Bourne Legacy - a new instalment in the Matt Damon series, this time with Jeremy Renner in the leading role.

On the fantasy front, new takes on Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and Jack the Giant Killer will be seeking to capitalise on audience's affection for the original tales.

Twilight fans, meanwhile, will bid a fond and possibly tearful farewell to Edward and Bella when the second part of Breaking Dawn hits cinemas in November.

Image caption Hugh Grant voices a pirate captain in the latest Aardman animation

For many, though, the event of the year will be The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of two prequels to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Currently shooting in New Zealand, the December release sees Martin Freeman joining such Tolkien regulars as Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis and Sir Ian McKellen.

Before that, of course, is the traditional round of earnest Oscar hopefuls, featuring many titles you may have read about already on our pages.

The Iron Lady, War Horse, J Edgar and The Descendants are among the January releases that will be angling for accolades in the run-up to the Oscars in February.

Those seeking more light-hearted fare will be catered for that month by fuzzy puppet stalwarts The Muppets.

And there will be more laughs in March with the unveiling of The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists, a stop-motion romp from Aardman boasting Hugh Grant's dulcet tones.

MUSIC OF 2012 - Mark Savage, Entertainment reporter

Image caption Florence And The Machine, The Stone Roses, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen

That distant rumbling is the sound of rock's biggest dinosaurs lumbering over the horizon.

2012 promises the return of rock veterans Bruce Springsteen, U2, Leonard Cohen, The Beach Boys and Tom Petty - who is playing his first UK concert in 20 years at the Isle Of Wight Festival.

But the golden tickets are undoubtedly for The Stone Roses' three reunion shows in Manchester next summer.

Madonna is also on the comeback trail, with everything to prove after Lady Gaga stole her throne.

The former Queen Of Pop is currently putting the final touches to her 12th studio album, which will be previewed by a performance at the SuperBowl in February. Early demos suggest that the star is revisiting the club sound of her Confessions on a Dancefloor album.

Image caption Rapper, producer and musician Labrinth is set for a stellar 2012

The 50th anniversary of The Beatles' first single will be marked in 2012, and Sir Paul McCartney shows no sign of slowing down. He has two new albums in the pipeline. The first, a jazz-tinged love letter to his new wife with guest appearances from Stevie Wonder and Eric Clapton, is due in February.

By contrast, U2 are still dragging their heels over Songs of Ascent - an album they'd originally pencilled in for 2010.

Producers so far have included Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley), will.i.am (Black Eyed Peas) and RedOne (Lady Gaga). Whether any of these early sessions will make the final cut is anyone's guess.

Also due a comeback are Britpop bastions Blur. The quartet pick up a lifetime achievement award at the Brits in February, fuelling speculation that they're planning a return to the recording studio.

Other artists returning with new material in 2012 include Muse, The Killers, The xx, PiL, Lionel Richie, Mumford and Sons, Cheryl Cole, Paul Weller, La Roux and Robbie Williams.

Meanwhile, debut albums by Lana Del Rey, Emeli Sande and Labrinth are all expected to perform well.

On the touring front, Coldplay and Radiohead are destined to sell out venues around the world, while Lady Gaga is widely expected to announce the follow-up to her ambitious Monster's Ball tour.

Paul Simon is getting the old gang back together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his Graceland tour. Dates for his world tour with Ladysmith Black Mambazo are due early in the new year.

Image caption Will The Rolling Stones reunite for their anniversary?

There are also unconfirmed rumours of live shows from Fleetwood Mac, and The Rolling Stones - who'll be celebrating their 50th birthday in 2012.

And, with Glastonbury on hiatus, the music event of the summer could well be Radio One's Hackney Weekend, a huge free concert in celebration of the London 2012 Olympics.

The line-up includes Florence and The Machine, Leona Lewis and Tinie Tempah. More names will be announced soon.

Sweet-toned rapper Plan B will make a move to the big screen, starring alongside Ray Winstone in The Sweeney, and making his directorial debut with Ill Manors.

While we're at the cinema, the big question for December is "who will sing the James Bond theme?".

Bookmakers are backing Adele, but Daniel Craig's tenure as 007 has so far been marked by darker, guitar-driven numbers. Maybe Muse are in with a shot?

LITERATURE OF 2012 - Rebecca Jones, Arts correspondent

Image caption Salman Rushdie, Hilary Mantel, David Essex and Martin Amis

Blame Santa.

With all those new electronic reading devices he delivered this Christmas, the market for e-books can expect another boost in 2012.

Nine out of 10 publishers around the world now sell their books in at least one digital format. Opportunities for some, but a challenge for traditional booksellers, who also face competition from online retailers and supermarkets.

I was intrigued by a conversation I had with the winner of this year's Man Booker prize, Julian Barnes. He expects to see more care and attention lavished upon hardback book design over the coming year, as publishers attempt to differentiate the printed word from its electronic sibling.

Image caption More and more books are being sold in e-reader formats

"At a point when the physical book is under threat from e-books, one of the ways for the physical book to continue is to make it a very beautiful object. And so paper quality goes up and cover design is more important," he said.

But whatever format you prefer, there's plenty to look forward to in the year ahead.

Hilary Mantel's follow up to her 2009 Man Booker prize-winning novel Wolf Hall will be highly anticipated by her fans. Bring up the Bodies, which is published in May, focuses on the downfall of Anne Boleyn.

There are also new novels from former Man Booker-winners Peter Carey and Howard Jacobson.

Other familiar names returning in 2012 include Martin Amis, William Boyd, Mark Haddon and Marina Lewycka.

Lawrence Norfolk's first novel for 10 years, John Saturnall's Feast, will be published by Bloomsbury later in the year, after a hotly contested bidding auction.

Much attention will also be paid to the prequel to Irvine Welsh's cult novel Trainspotting, called Skagboys. Look out too for the sequel to Treasure Island, written by the former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, entitled Silver. Both are published in April.

Image caption Irvine Welsh is writing a prequel to his breakthrough novel Trainspotting

There are new books from big brand authors including Danielle Steel and James Patterson. For fans of Alexander McCall Smith there is the 13th Mma Ramotswe story to look forward to. And there is another Harry Hole thriller from the Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbo.

For readers on the look out for new talent though, there are strong debuts from two American writers - The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach and Charlotte Rogan's The Lifeboat. Each took 10 years to complete.

Expect new biographies of Wilkie Collins by Peter Ackroyd and Thomas Becket by John Guy to garner attention. Adele and Banksy are also the subject of biographies in 2012.

And David Essex and Prue Leith have written their autobiographies.

Salman Rushdie will be back in the spotlight in the Autumn when his memoir, titled Joseph Anton, is published. There are also memoirs from Paul Auster and Edna O'Brien.

Plenty then for you to browse in the bookshops, or, if you prefer, online.

TELEVISION OF 2012 - Lizo Mzimba, Entertainment correspondent

Image caption Sherlock Holmes, Red Dwarf, More As The Story Develops and Mad Men

The coming year will see a mix of past favourites, fresh takes on old ideas, along with some all new shows for the small screen.

Home grown highlights include the return of the Bafta-winning Sherlock. The three-episode drama looks sure to attract particular attention as it takes on three of the fictional detective's most famous adventures.

Image caption Will.i.am and Jessie J will be judges and mentors on the UK version of The Voice

His encounter with the formidable Irene Adler in A Scandal in Belgravia; his investigation of a monstrous animal in The Hound of Baskervilles; and his confrontation with arch enemy Moriarty in The Reichenbach Fall.

2012 marks the centenary of the Titanic disaster. Writer Julian Fellowes, who's already successfully explored the early 20th Century class divide in Downton Abbey, looks to be doing the same with a four-part mini series about Titanic's maiden and only voyage.

It stars, among others, Linus Roache and Geraldine Somerville.

By its own high standards, the 2011 series of The X Factor didn't deliver as strongly as in previous years. Audiences will be watching the talent show closely in 2012, especially as it seems not unlikely that Simon Cowell will make significant changes, aimed at helping ITV's reality music programme regain its Saturday night ratings crown.

The BBC will be hoping to deliver its own reality music success with The Voice. A format where a celebrity panel, which in the UK will include Jessie J and Tom Jones, will initially be unable to see the contestants and will judge them purely on their voices.

And after more than three years sci-fi favourite Red Dwarf makes a long-awaited return. Like its last three-episode run Back to Earth it will be broadcast on digital channel Dave. All four of the main cast will be reprising their roles as the ship's long-serving crew.

Image caption Dallas is making a comeback in 2012

Another show being brought back to life is high-gloss 80s oil drama Dallas. Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Larry Hagman will all reprise their roles in TNT's updated show, but there are plenty of new faces to woo younger viewers.

A trailer for the series hit the web shortly before Christmas. It makes sure to pay homage to the original, and promises soapy melodrama in spades. But, after US networks cancelled remakes of Charlie's Angels and Knight Rider, it remains to be seen whether the show will find an audience.

Dallas is coming to Channel 5 in the UK - just one of many high-profile US imports.

After lengthy contract negotiations led to a break of a year and a half, US drama Mad Men will return. Its portrait of 1960s America, as seen through the lives of advertising executive Don Draper and his friends and colleagues, is one of the most anticipated series of the year.

The year will also see a new offering from Aaron Sorkin, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Social Network. Sorkin was the creator of The West Wing, and his cable newsroom drama More As The Story Develops is expected to feature the vibrant characters and sharp dialogue that have characterised his previous work.

Cast announcements for the show include Emily Mortimer, Jeff Daniels and Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel.

Meanwhile, new show Smash, dubbed "Glee for grown ups" will air early in the new year. The 15-part series, based on an idea by Steven Spielberg, is a drama which goes behind the scenes of a Broadway production.

It's one of a number of series that will air episodes in the UK within 24 hours of their US debut in an attempt to discourage illegal watching online.