In Depth

The best Viral Videos of 2014

From a devil baby in New York to Happiness in Gaza, the best viral videos of 2014 set a new standard

CassetteBoy vs David Cameron

In the aftermath of David Cameron's party conference speech, prolific YouTuber Cassetteboy released this mash-up of various speeches the PM has given over the years. "I'm hardcore and I know the score. I am disgusted by the poor," raps Cameron in the hit video. "And my chums matter more because we are the law and I've made sure we're ready for class war." Even some Tories found it amusing. 

The devil baby of Manhattan

Chaos ensued when YouTube pranksters placed an animatronic devil baby in a remote controlled pushchair and sent it on a rampage through the streets of New York City. A hidden camera recorded the horrified reactions of New Yorkers, both human, dog and pigeon. The stunt was a promotion for a horror film, Devil's Due.

 The pet iguana of Hunger Games

Bad Lip Reading is one of YouTube's cleverest and funniest channels. This instalment, featuring the Hunger Games episode Catching Fire, attracted over three million views in its first 72 hours on line. It includes such lines as: "All you talk about is your pet iguana Frank." Winter may be here but the laughs just keep coming.

Patrick Stewart's ice bucket challenge

Do you remember when everything was about the ice bucket challenge? When the internet was flooded with identical videos of people raising awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? Well, there were some original pearls among the tsunami of copycats. Such as this 56 seconds of genius, from Patrick Stewart…

Russell Brand makes Parklife his own

After the release of his controversial book Revolution, Russell Brand soon found himself having the word 'Parklife' shouted at him on Twitter and the streets, in reference to his verbose manner. To try and turn the teasing on its head, Brand made a parody video with the Irish producers Rubberbandits. 

One Direction as you've never heard them

At last, a One Direction video that even those who can't stand the boy band can enjoy. The impish YouTube pair Sam and Rick re-recorded the vocals to their song Story of My Life with comic effect. The video had attracted nearly eight million views by December 2014.

John Lewis's Christmas penguin

Whether they move you to tears of emotion or 'bah humbugs' of despair, the John Lewis Christmas videos have become a fixture of the festive season. This year's offering, featuring a boy's friendship with Monty the Penguin, went straight for the heartstrings.

The horrific beauty of Chernobyl

This video, shot by a drone, shows the destruction of Pripyat, a city just miles from the Chernobyl nuclear plant. In the wake of the 1986 disaster, Pripyat was left to decay. A frozen Ferris wheel, rusted bumper cars, a decaying forest – never has desolation looked more oddly beautiful. 

10 hours as a woman in NYC

Shoshana Roberts walked around the streets of New York City over a 10-hour period, secretly recording the reactions of men she walked past. She was catcalled 108 times and released a collection of the reaction she encountered to highlight the harassment women encounter. 

Happiness, Gaza style…

All year, videos of people dancing to the Pharrell Williams hit Happy swamped the internet. This one, filmed in Gaza, may be the best of the bunch. Given what a traumatic year the coastal strip has endured, the happiness in this film is both uplifting and unsettling.

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