Rankin’s 2020


6 x 30'

Production company

NPL Media

Year of production


Commissioning channels

Sky Arts



In a year that many would rather forget, world-renowned photographer ‘Rankin’ embarks on a project to capture the year’s emotions in pictures. Over six weeks, he will assess the hundreds of photographs sent in by amateurs and professionals across the world to best portray what we’ve lived through in 2020. Each week focuses on one category (family, self, beauty, fun, nature, empathy) and, following a masterclass with Rankin himself on taking pictures within this category, the famous snapper is joined by celebrity guests to pick out the best of the public submissions – some taken on a simple mobile phone. Rankin’s 2020 captures the spirit of this extraordinary year in pictures taken by members of the public.


Episode 1

Did we rediscover empathy in 2020? In this first episode we explore an emotion that expressed itself in our weekly clapping for carers, our support for charities and in how we looked out for our neighbours. In his masterclass, Rankin fittingly photographs a nurse who deals in empathy every day. The photographer is joined by the Guardian’s Caroline Hunter and model and writer Yrsa Daley-Ward to choose the best photos capturing 2020 within the theme empathy and in this week’s backstory, we explore another of 2020s big themes in the midst of a protest.


Episode 2

What’s the difference between a selfie and a self-portrait? In this week’s masterclass, Rankin explores this question with singer and songwriter, Kabba, as he shows off his skills in one of the most controversial areas of photography. Thanks to social media and the ability to take selfies on your phone, there are thousands of images to choose from. Thankfully, the world got creative with its submissions to Rankin’s 2020 in this category and the photographer is joined by model Kelly Knox and art curator Aindrea Emelife to choose the best photos capturing 2020 within the theme of self.


Episode 3

World-famous and celebrity make-up artist Val Garland joins Rankin to choose the best photos capturing the year 2020 within the theme of beauty. Also in studio is Caroline Hunter, Picture Editor at the Guardian Weekend Magazine as the experts sift through thousands of entries to show how we re-discovered beauty during lockdown. In the backstory, an aspiring photographer counters the traditional sense of beauty by capturing an image showing you can be natural and beautiful at the same time.


Episode 4

Grab the tissues for this week’s episode…for many family has been a lifeline in 2020. Whether you’ve been with them every minute of every day, or spent your moments longing to see them again, Rankin’s 2020 shows that this year, the normal flow of family life has been put to the test. Entries in this category were creative and highly personal - entrepreneur Jamal Edwards and Brett Rogers, the Director of the Photographers Gallery London, help Rankin choose the best. The backstory shows how an amateur photographer dad captured his daughter making memories that may stay with her a lifetime.


Episode 5

In 2020, we were forced to see nature as we had never seen it before and Mother Nature thanked us for it. Forced to stay inside, we became far more fascinated with the outside and nature flourished in our absence. A large number of non-professional entries in this category show just how inspired we were by nature this year, whether exploring the urban jungle, the great indoors, or just finding peace in the wilderness. Actress Jaime Winstone, art curator Andrea Emelife and award-winning photojournalist Carol Allen-Storey join Rankin to choose the best photos with a nature theme while Rankin’s masterclass brings us ‘Nature on Fire’.


Episode 6

In 2020, we were forced to find the fun in the simplest of things and entries in this category show we had no shortage of inspiration! From sports to ice-creams, beaches to backyards, various creative outlets offered a window into people’s lives in 2020. Actor Layton Williams and Director of the Photographers Gallery London, Brett Rogers, join Rankin to explore how photography gave us an extra way to express our feelings during lockdown. With a subtle humour in many of the entries this is a fitting, positive way to end Rankin’s look at 2020 in photographs.

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Trailer: Rankin’s 2020