The National:

This is the latest edition of The National's Behind The Headlines newsletter. To receive it direct to your inbox every week for free, click here.

I wanted to do something a little more fun for our final Behind the Headlines of the year, so I asked everyone on the team for their top picks of the year.

I hope you enjoy our round-up and perhaps find something new to enjoy.

Laura Webster - Editor

News story: Michelle Mone threatening us legally for exposing her false claim that Albert Einstein lived in her house. The story nobody was expecting - amusing and insightful in equal measure.
Song: Tension - Kylie. As a life-long Kylie fan I was thrilled to see her return to her best, sparkliest, dance pop self. Padam Padam is fun, but Tension is a seriously great pop song.
Film: Tar. Technically 2022 but released in the UK this year, this film shows Cate Blanchett performing up an absolute storm in a thoughtful exploration of power structures, abuse and "cancel culture".

The National:

TV show: The Curse. Nobody is better at making you feel uncomfortable than Nathan Fielder. Nobody is better than making you feel stressed than the Safdies. Combine for a wonderfully distressing hour of television.

Stewart Ward - Sunday National editor

News story: Scottish independence stone found in SPAIN by Belgian family. There were some fantastic Yes Stones stories throughout the year – but as the UK tries to cut Scotland off from the world, this felt like a little piece of uplifting news symbolic of much wider aims.
Song: A&W by Lana Del Rey. Lana Del Rey, best known for her tour map which accidentally - or perhaps not - portrayed Scotland as the sole UK nation that is its own country delivered an epic.

The National:

Film: Barbie. Why did I pick this one? Don't you remember that Ken Starmer front page?
TV show: Perry Mason (S2): Matthew Rhys. Juliet Rylance. Veronica Falcon. They're always going to deliver.

Xander Elliards - Content Editor

News story: Fury at DLC plans for 8000-acre 'playground' for mega rich on Loch Tay, although I also liked annoying old Lord Elgin about his marbles
Song: Noname, namesake
Film: Polite Society
TV show: Swarm

Judith Duffy - Senior political reporter

News story: The return of David Cameron. Not because I’m a fan of the ex-Tory prime minister of course, but because even listening to the coverage on radio you could hear jaws genuinely drop as he was spotted entering Downing Street during Rishi Sunak’s November reshuffle.  
Song: Firestarter (without Keith) - The Prodigy. Given my Spotify 2023 playlist barely scrapes into the millennium, I’m opting for the new version of Firestarter The Prodigy played at their Glasgow gig with a laser silhouette of late frontman Keith Flint beamed on stage in a heartfelt tribute.  

The National:

Film: Meg 2: The Trench. I’m confident no-one else in the newsroom, possibly the entire world, will go for this one – but who could resist Meg 2: The Trench, an unhinged mash-up of Jaws, Jurassic Park and the classic Sharknado. Most people, I suspect.  
TV show: Kin - BBC iPlayer. Stumbling by accident across gangland thriller Kin resulted in binge-watching the engrossing tale of an escalating war between rival Irish drug gangs for a week. Added bonus points for being located in one of my favourite cities to visit - though highly unlikely the country's tourist board thought the same.

Laura Pollock - grassroots reporter

News story: Seeing Yes, SNP, and Alba activists, along with Ian Blackford, coming together on Believe in Scotland's Day of Action in Skye in July was great - hopefully we see more in 2024!
Song: Her Silver Spate by Scottish artists Salt House sets off their newest album perfectly! Hopefully will catch them on tour this year ...
Film: Nowhere - a survival drama about a woman fleeing a totalitarian regime in a shipping container which gets thrown into the ocean - and she's nine months pregnant. Amazing storytelling by Spanish director Albert Pintó.
TV show: Technically not a new show but with Ashley Jensen and Alison O'Donnell taking the lead after Douglas Henshall's departure, Shetland feels like it has a new lease of life! 

The National:

Jonathan Jobson - content manager

News story: Lewis Capaldi at Glastonbury. In a year of awful news from almost everywhere, the heart-warming moment the crowd pulled through for a faltering Capaldi felt like the antidote we all need.  
Song: Standing Next To You - Jung Kook(!). The next Michael Jackson (in a good way).

The National:

Film: Oppenheimer. Spectacular performance from Cillian Murphy in the cerebral blockbuster with the most amazing sound design 
TV show: Succession. The Roys bow out with some of the most intensely acted scenes by an eldest boy ever seen on TV.  

Ross Hunter - multimedia journalist

News story: Had to be the OceanGate sub. It had everything: drama, tragedy and even a Scottish angle. 
Song: Shakira - Bzrp Music Sessions Vol.53. It's a diss track about her ex-husband Gerard Pique cheating on her that references her issues with tax avoidance in Spain. What's not to love? 

The National:

Film: Society of the Snow. It will make you never want to get in a plane ever again. 
TV show: Fargo season five. A must watch if only for Jennifer Jason Leigh absolutely chewing the scenery. 

Lucy Jackson - multimedia journalist

News story: Scottish charity's 'hero' rat saves lives in Cambodia. Cute mouse who detects landmines? Need I say more?
Song: Strawberry Jam by FIZZ, it's a song you want to eat
Film: Super Mario Bros movie. Jack Black is my light, my life and Peaches is the greatest song to come out of modern cinema.

The National:

TV show: The Last of Us. Bella Ramsey is so incredibly talented and I really liked the giraffe scene.

James Walker - multimedia journalist

News story:  Fears 'sausage fingers' will wreck King Charles' coronation
Song:  It's Been A Little Heavy Lately, Joesef
Film: Oppenheimer
TV show: It's Always Sunny season 16

Cameron Macpherson - production journalist

News story: Xander's Loch Tay investment piece
Song: Dark Circles by Dillon Squire  
Film: Anatomy of a Fall 
TV show: A24's brilliant Beef