Friday 20 April 2018

Charlie Brooker pens new satire for Channel 4

Charlie Brooker
Charlie Brooker

Channel 4 is to court controversy with a near-the-knuckle satirical series in which the Prime Minister is faced with having to have sex with a pig.

In one episode of Black Mirror - created by TV writer Charlie Brooker - a fictional PM is given the sick challenge to pay off a ransom demand to free a kidnapped princess.

But Brooker played down suggestions his plot would spark an outcry.

"It's not a massively comfortable piece of television to watch, but it's not designed simply to outrage people," said Brooker, whose zombie thriller Dead Set received a Bafta nomination.

"I think when people watch it, I don't think there'll be that much of an outcry. If you hear about what it was, you might feel it was more outrageous than when you watch it.

The three-part mini-series was influenced by classic US series The Twilight Zone and Brooker, 40, said he was inspired to write the dark tales after watching "surreal" events unfold on the news, including Gordon Brown's famous apology to Gillian Duffy, after he was caught referring to her as a 'bigot'.

The stories are designed to hold a mirror up to the impact of modern technology on society.

Brooker said: "In my head it was a cross between when Gordon Brown had to go and apologise to Gillian Duffy and I'm A Celebrity - in an odd way it's sort of a combination of those two events.

He was also inspired by the sight of seeing Brian Paddick appearing on I'm A Celebrity .. Get Me Out Of Here! Just months after standing unsuccessfully for the position of London Mayor.

"A few months later, he's in the jungle standing alongside Timmy Mallet trying to neck a pint of liquidised kangaroo penis as quickly as he can and then earlier this year he was back on the news commenting on the phone hacking scandal in his suit and you kind of forget that that happened."

The first episode, titled The National Anthem and due to be shown on Channel 4 in December, stars Rory Kinnear as fictional Prime Minister Michael Callow, who is woken one morning to find a video of a member of the royal family - Princess Susannah - posted on YouTube following her kidnapping, laying out her captor's sick demands.

Brooker said he didn't know how Prime Minister David Cameron would react in a similar situation.

"I honestly don't know how Cameron would react, you'd have to ask him that and I'd love to see his face when you do. I imagine he would dismiss it out of hand."

The second episode, 15 Million Merits, is a dark satire on TV talent shows, which was co-written by Brooker's wife Konnie Huq, former presenter of ITV's The Xtra Factor. It stars Rupert Everett as the "kingpin judge".

Brooker denied it was an opportunity to take a pot-shot at any particular entertainment show: "It's not really an explicit dig at any particular show, you'll see there's tropes in there that we parody. It's more what it represents in that world."

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