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Black Mirror

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I didn't write "Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror" because that would be Laurence Fishburne. :ph34r:

http://www.channel4.com/info/press/news/channel-4-to-hold-black-mirror-up-to-society-with-new-comedy-drama

Charlie Brooker (E4's Bafta-nominated Dead Set author) returns with Black Mirror, a new 3 x 60 minute scripted mini-series, commissioned by Head of Comedy Shane Allen and produced by comedy and drama producer Zeppotron.

Over the last ten years, technology has transformed almost every aspect of our lives before we've had time to stop and question it. In every home; on every desk; in every palm - a plasma screen; a monitor; a smartphone - a black mirror of our 21st Century existence. Our grip on reality is shifting. We worship at the altars of Google and Apple. Facebook algorithims know us more intimately than our own parents. We have access to all the information in the world, but no brainspace left to absorb anything longer than a 140-character tweet.

Black Mirror is a hybrid of The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected which taps into our contemporary unease about our modern world. The three stand-alone dramas will be sharp, suspenseful, satirical tales with a techno-paranoia bent - all audacious ‘what if' stories: some comic, some shocking.

Charlie Brooker says: ‘Growing up, I always loved The Twilight Zone and shows of that ilk. Black Mirror won't be anything like those, but on the other hand, it's closer to them than, say, Downton Abbey. It combines satire, technology, absurdity, and a pinch of surprise, and it all takes place in a world you almost - almost - totally recognise. It changes each week - like the weather, but hopefully about 2000 times more entertaining. If you don't like it, you will be beaten about the face and neck by Channel 4 executives.'

Head of Comedy, Shane Allen says: ‘This is satirical drama for the social media generation all rooted in the world around us now. A thought-provoking and gripping reflection and extrapolation of current social, cultural and technology-inspired trends and fears. Charlie's writing is imbued with a beautiful blend of emotion and intelligence that pulls you in to a thrilling projection of themes which surround our everyday. In a world where bloggers can communicate from beyond the grave and a world leader can watch an assassination in real time on the other side of the planet there is much to say about how we live and what values we share. Now, if I can just convince Charlie to introduce it all from a fireside chair we're quids in.'

Black Mirror will be Executive Produced by Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones and series produced by Barney Reisz for Zeppotron. The series will be filmed over the summer and is expected to air later this year.

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Anyway, here's a piece with a bit more detail about the first of these shows, "The National Anthem"

It has all the hallmarks of a vintage Channel 4 controversy: not only does the broadcaster's new drama feature the abduction of a princess bearing a distinct similarity to the Duchess of Cambridge, but the kidnapper's demands involve the prime minister having sex on live TV – with a pig.

Written by Charlie Brooker, the hour-long comic drama The National Anthem, to be broadcast next month, uses the farcical set-piece to examine the way we interact on the internet, and the consequences of the influence of social media.

"Opinion shifts harder and faster it seems to me with Twitter and rolling news. Those two forces combined create a strange situation," said Brooker.

Starring Rory Kinnear as the fictional PM and Lindsay Duncan as his home secretary, the drama follows reaction to the royal kidnapping in Downing Street and among a gleeful public, despite the government's best attempts to stifle the story.

"In my head it was a cross between when Gordon Brown had to go and apologise to Gillian Duffy, and I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. In an odd way it's a combination of those two events," said Brooker.

Channel 4 admit that the show is likely to be controversial. "I think it's quite provocative, but there's a message there as well because it's about how vicarious we are and the public appetite for spectacle," said Shane Allen, C4's head of comedy.

"You've got to credit people with the intelligence that they'll get the echoes and the references. We don't want to spoonfeed people."

According to Brooker, who also writes a column for the Guardian, the concept is more likely to be viewed as outrageous than the programme itself. "I think when [people] watch it, I don't think there will be that much of an outcry," he said. "It's not a massively comfortable piece of television to watch, but it's not designed to just simply outrage people."

The National Anthem is the first of three standalone dramas linked by a theme of technological change – two of which are penned by Brooker, who said he was inspired by watching shows such as The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected. They will be broadcast in early December as a mini-series called Black Mirror.

The National Anthem's director, Otto Bathurst, said that while the programme might initially be funny, it was important that the audience's reaction followed that of the show's imagined public.

"[The idea was] that was happening inside the telly was the same as was happening at home," he said. "So hopefully the audience are slightly shocked in the same way."

As for the reaction on Twitter, Brooker joked: "I hope no one is on Twitter during the show. Obviously they will be but I hope that they're watching rather than tweeting, generally speaking."

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No shit. It's almost as if it's a work of fiction or something.

But it's certainly not re-examining the way social media etc etc. I mean, the whole "if you don't do this we can't keep your family safe" may as well have said the premise is too weak, but the idea is a bit of fun. I dunno, I wanted something clever.

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I really liked that, one thing I'd say is (and yes, I know, everyone's a critic...;))

I think it would have been better without any "motive" being revealed, just the bloke hanging himself...I think that would have left it nicely unresolved; was this "just" some random psycho, the start of something worse, terrorizm, some guy he buggered at prep school getting revenge, etc!

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I was distracted for a few minutes towards the end, and looked back just as they showed he'd hung himself.

Obviously I worked out that it was the kidnapper, but why did he hang himself?

And he cut his own finger off and posted that? Wouldn't it have been quite obvious to the police that it wasn't the princess's finger? Was that addressed?

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I was distracted for a few minutes towards the end, and looked back just as they showed he'd hung himself.

Obviously I worked out that it was the kidnapper, but why did he hang himself?

And he cut his own finger off and posted that? Wouldn't it have been quite obvious to the police that it wasn't the princess's finger? Was that addressed?

I suppose he'd proved his point. It didn't explicitly say why he hung himself.

They say they did a DNA test on the finger and they realise it was male but it was after the act - so to speak.

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I was distracted for a few minutes towards the end, and looked back just as they showed he'd hung himself.

Obviously I worked out that it was the kidnapper, but why did he hang himself?

And he cut his own finger off and posted that? Wouldn't it have been quite obvious to the police that it wasn't the princess's finger? Was that addressed?

It was mentioned quite early on that his show was cancelled because of lack of interest so I presume it was a statement of his despair that the public ignored that but will eat up literally anything presented on a screen.

The finger was covered after they tested the DNA, but presumably over the timespans they were dealing with they couldn't sort it out in time.

I agree that it didn't need to be made implicit at the end, although I'd imagine if it was a film they'd have probably left that out but TV programmes aren't usually analysed as thoroughly as film and could have left the audience a bit unsatisfied.

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Yeah, the finger was posted to a newsroom, and wasn't examined by the police until some time later.

That was excellent, and satirised so many aspects of modern media. It still managed to slip in some subtler digs too, like the Guardian publishing a sideline about the historical significance of pigs. :)

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It's just a bit silly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal

---

I thought this was good. It had me paying full attention through to the close which is more than I can say for most television. The ending was really, really over-laboured, though. I wasn't quick enough to spot the twist - though I remember noting the Tate Modern show closing and thinking the guy in his studio was a bit of a strange cutaway to have to just show People Watching Television - so that was nice enough, but what felt like 10 minutes of reaction shows of people unable to turn away from the TV - BLACK MIRROR, YOU GUYS - was too much. A concession to its form, perhaps, as people have pointed out.

Good, though, good, good.

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Reminded me a lot of the type of stuff Ben Elton used to write when he was good.

Funnily enough I was discussing Brooker with a mate in the pub just last night and we came to the conclusion he's a modern, good Ben Elton.

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Tweeted Charlie, first time ever. Hope he takes it well.

@charltonbrooker were you concerned if you used a Cameron lookalike there may have been little sympathy for the PM? Good stuff.

Edit: fucking oinkster reading the thread.

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Brooker's bright enough to realise that future generations might look back negatively on us. Much as he'd love his name added to a board of forewarners, the truth is that he's knee-deep in it. Great concept, but I'd rather it came from a Chris Morris than someone in bed with Twitter.

"In bed with Twitter"? Jesus, you really are a joke, aren't you?

Anyway, I really enjoyed it, though I kind of felt that it was undermined a lot by Lindsey Duncan spelling the point out for everyone at the end.

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