Belfast Telegraph

Monday 26 January 2015

Channel 4 takes new satirical swipe

Charlie Brooker has created new satirical Channel 4 series Black Mirror
Charlie Brooker has created new satirical Channel 4 series Black Mirror

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."

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'.

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."

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.

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".

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