Book Review: Private Eye Annual, 2017, Edited by Ian Hislop

“2017 – it’s the year of anniversaries” states the back-cover blurb for this year’s Private Eye Annual as it cites 10 years since the financial crisis, 100 years since the battle of Passchendale and perhaps most importantly, one year since the publication of the last Private Eye annual.

In truth, Private Eye, the United Kingdom’s weekly satirical news and current-affairs magazine has a bigger anniversary, celebrating 21 years since its first annual was released.  As Private Eye comes of age, it would seem the political world it frequently satirises has grown up with it, and become ever more so like life imitating art.

Trump, May, Boris, Brexit are all familiar names and phrases of which have made the daily headlines during 2017 and caused us to cry, laugh or feel exasperated (and occasionally all three at the same time). Its therefore no surprise that the 2017 Private Eye Annual makes comments on these and more.

Trump bombs Syria then Broadchurch, Government launches new inquiry into old inquiry and Could the next Queen be a man? are all headlines leading to in depth satirical news stories that all have strong dose of irony about them.

Its not just the world of politics that gets a look in, a comical feature on Netflix hit of the year, The Crown, based on the history of Queen Elizabeth II, makes its own “factual observations” about the making of the series, including actress Clare Foy,  ruling a small nation for three years in preparation for her role as The Queen.

Meanwhile n the world of unequal pay discrimination,  Doctor Who’s Cybermen state their shock at how much more The Daleks are paid than them.

But enough of spoilers, the Private Eye Annual remains the definitive satirical overview of the year. In 2017’s case, the blurred lines of satire and realism are less defined than ever before, thankfully, Private Eye seems to be indicating that even if the world isn’t presently in great shape, laughter is still an essential part of getting through any political troubles we encounter.

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