Tales of the unexpected: Where the pundits got it wrong in 2017

1 January 2018, 11:14

Predictions are always a tricky business and even the most seasoned observers can get it wrong.

Here are just some of the events of 2017 where the pundits missed the mark.

:: Theresa May calling a snap election

Having previously ruled out going to the polls until 2020, the April U-turn by the Tory Prime Minister stunned Westminster.

She said she had taken the decision while on a walking holiday in Wales with her husband Philip.

With a healthy double-digit lead in the opinion polls over Labour, there was talk of a Tory landslide.

However, a poorly-fought campaign and a resurgent opposition ended in electoral humiliation, with Mrs May stripped of her majority and having to strike a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to prop up her government.

: The UK economy in the wake of the Brexit vote

A hostage to fortune this one as there are lies, damn lies and statistics as the saying goes.

It has been pointed out the investment giant Goldman Sachs forecast sterling would fall from $1.25 to $1.14 in 2017, while it actually rose to $1.35.

The firm also forecast the key indicator of the cost of government borrowing would rise from 1.28% to 1.65%, while it actually fell to 1.19% at the end of December.

However, the UK's GDP growth rate of 0.4% in the third quarter has been outstripped by the eurozone.

Inflation also hit a five-year high of 3.1% in November, as the impact of the pound's fall since the referendum sent the price of food, energy and services soaring.

It saw the Bank of England make the first interest rate hike for a decade, with a rise from 0.25% to 0.5%.

:: Donald Trump's impeachment

Ever since the election of the controversial tycoon to the White House, there have predictions he could be forced from office, amid accusations of misconduct.

Mr Trump has faced persistent allegations over Russian links to his 2016 election campaign, which is the focus of a major investigation

However, despite the rows and acrimony he has been embroiled in his first year he remains in office.

:: Daniel Craig returning as 007

Following his last outing as James Bond in Spectre, the British star has said he would rather slash his wrists than reprise the role.

After such a strong comment it came as a surprise to many that he would return to play the screen spy for a fifth and (allegedly) final time.

Asked on a US talk show in August if he had some good news on his involvement the long-running franchise, Craig responded: "Yes".

This was in stark contrast to his previous remarks in which he said: "We're done. All I want to do is move on."

:: La La Land "winning" then losing the Best Picture Oscar

An envelope mix-up at the glitzy Hollywood ceremony led to the sort of drama usually reserved for the big screen.

There was shock and confusion after Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced La La Land - widely expected to win - as scooping the Best Picture award winner at the 2017 Oscars, rather than the actual winner, Moonlight.

With La La Land acceptance speeches under way, red-faced organisers had to intervene and inform the celebrating team that there had been a major blunder.

:: The downfall of Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein

Tinseltown was rocked by the scandal which swiftly engulfed the powerful film executive.

Since the first allegations came to light, scores of women have come forward to say that they had been harassed or assaulted by Weinstein.

While acknowledging he had "caused a lot of pain" and apologising, he denied the claims levelled against him.

The controversy had global repercussions, with women worldwide encouraged to share their ow stories of sexual harassment and assault on social media using the #metoo hashtag.

The scandal also led to a wave of sleaze claims at Westminster, with MPs and ministers accused of inappropriate behaviour.

:: Harry getting engaged to Meghan Markle over roast chicken

The Prince revealed he popped the question to the star of the US legal drama Suits during a "cosy night" at home cooking.

Romance blossomed after the couple met back in July 2016 on a blind date in London arranged through a mutual friend.

The couple made their first public appearance together in September at the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style competition for injured military personnel set up by Prince Harry.

The couple are to marry on 19 May at Windsor Castle.