The news cycle in 2022 may have been one dominated by war, political turmoil and financial crisis, but flashes of joy often peeked through thanks to the world of show business.
From John Travolta’s “mooch around the biscuits” in Morrisons to deaf actor Troy Kotsur making Oscars history, here are the year’s lighter moments in celebrity news.
– Sir Rod Stewart picks up a shovel and fills in potholes near his home
The 77-year-old veteran rock star took it upon himself to make his local roads safer in March, sharing videos to his Instagram of him and a team shovelling gravel from a lorry into a large number of potholes in Harlow, Essex.
He said he had decided to take matters into his own hands after an ambulance had a burst tyre and other cars were “bashing their cars up” due to the damaged road.
Sir Rod captioned his post: “Working for a living, filling holes is good for the soul!”
– Troy Kotsur becomes the first deaf male performer to win an Oscar
The Oscars in late March became a talking point for a myriad of reasons, but Kotsur triumped as a symbol of possibility for the disabled community.
He dedicated his best supporting actor award, for the film Coda, to “the deaf community, the Coda community and the disabled community”, adding: “This is our moment,” in his speech.
– Morrisons shoppers thrilled to catch John Travolta ‘mooching around the biscuits’
While grocery shopping can often prove a mundane task, it was certainly the opposite for those who happened upon the Morrisons in Fakenham, Norfolk, in April.
They were stunned by the sight of Grease star John Travolta, believed to be filming a short movie nearby, “mooching around the digestive biscuits”.
“He was so approachable and friendly so, when he came and stood next to me at the end of the checkout, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to talk to him,” witness Sam Frary told the PA news agency at the time.
“Never in a million years did I think that I’d be sharing the biscuit aisle with an A-list Hollywood star.”
– The Rolling Stones invite Ukrainian choir to perform on stage in Vienna
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, celebrities stepped up to show their solidarity with Ukrainians.
Sir Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood – joined by Steve Jordan on drums – performed the anthem You Can’t Always Get What You Want with 14 members from two Ukrainian choirs in Vienna in July, performing to an audience of 56,000 from Ernst Happel Stadium.
Nine-year-old Callum Martin, from Lossiemouth in Moray, was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism at the age of five.
But Callum got a huge surprise when he received a personalised message from his hero Ewan McGregor during his appearance on the STV Children’s Appeal tele-fundraiser in November to discuss the work of Outfit Moray, a charity the youngster is involved with.
McGregor appeared on a screen and told Callum: “I just wanted to say I’ve heard so much about you, and how brilliantly you’re doing with your activities at Outfit Moray.
“I think you’re brilliant, keep up the good work, and may the force be with you.”
A delighted Callum replied: “May the force be with you too.”
– Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds show off Welsh language skills
Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney were honoured by the Welsh Government, the Football Association of Wales and S4C in November for promoting the country and its language.
The actors, who are co-chairmen of Welsh football team Wrexham FC, were given the Dragon Award at a star-studded Wales To The World event in New York.
The duo even treated the audience to a glimpse at their Welsh language skills when McElhenney, 45, asked Reynolds: “Do you want to want to try some Welsh, Ryan?”
Reynolds responded: “How about this? Cymru am byth!”
The phrase means Wales forever or long live Wales.
– Double trouble as celebrity Brian Coxes get caught on the hop at hotel
Later in the year, Scottish actor Brian Cox, who plays Logan Roy on Succession, and Professor Brian Cox, the former musician turned physics professor who found fame presenting the BBC’s Wonders Of The Solar System, were both staying at the same London hotel ahead of an appearance on BBC Breakfast.
But the pair found themselves struggling to check into a hotel due to the computer system not allowing a duplicate.
“Sometimes sharing a name can be a bit confusing,” the 76-year-old actor told Breakfast presenter Charlie Stayt.
“(Prof) Brian arrived at the hotel and (they) said there are two Brian Coxes, so you’ve got two rooms,” he continued.
“And he said, ‘no no, there’s only one, but I think there might be another Brian Cox’, and the hotel said to Brian, ‘we can’t have two Brian Coxes’.”
To which Prof Cox, 54, added: “They wouldn’t check me in!”
– Stormzy launches diversity in football initiative with Adidas
In what became a big month for celebrity causes, November also brought the launch of #Merky FC from Stormzy, aimed at addressing the lack of diversity in positions such as team managers, coaches and behind the scenes by providing access to multi-year, paid professional placements.
The programme will be available to young people of black heritage aged 18 to 24 and will kick off from January 2023, thanks to the 29-year-old grime star.