19 items from 2011
Based on Kate Mosse’s international bestseller, Labyrinth is a four-hour event miniseries which will take a global audience on a richly compelling journey through the South of France of the present, and the dark and tortured landscape of the Crusades and Cathar massacres of medieval times. Two spirited and charismatic heroines must somehow work together across the centuries in order to save a four thousand year-old secret from falling into the wrong hands.
Jessica Brown Findlay stars as Alaïs Pelletier. Jessica (represented by Troika) made her film debut in the coming-of-age drama Albatross. She also played Rachel in Misfits, and was recently seen as Abi in Black Mirror:15 Million Merits on Channel 4. She also appears in Downton Abbey as the politically engaged youngest daughter, Lady Sybil Crawley.
Jessica began her career as a dancer, training with the National Youth Ballet and was asked at the age of »
- email@example.com (ScreenTerrier)
Charlie Brooker's third Black Mirror hit a ratings low, only picking up 870k viewers (including +1) for Channel 4 last night, overnight data suggests. The Jesse Armstrong-penned 'Entire History Of You' failed to pick up an audience of over 1 million, unlike the first two episodes 'The National Anthem' (1.63m) and '15 Million Merits' (1.2m). Elsewhere on Channel 4, Vernon Kay's Home For The Holidays entertained 1.31m (5.2%) at 8pm, while another 120k watched on +1. Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno rounded off the evening with 990k from 10pm. 156k caught up with the comedy on +1. BBC One enjoyed a strong evening with drama Young James Herriot picking up 5.97m (23%) for the broadcaster from 9pm. Earlier, Antiques Roadshow attracted 5.93m (23.3%) and Countryfile brought in 5.73m (23.5%). (more) »
- By Alex Fletcher
Charlie Brooker’s pack of 3 stand-alone shows has certainly raised eyebrows with its controversial content but has won plaudits both from critics and the viewing public. The final episode aired last night and the series has left many thinking he should be up for some awards come ceremony time. Does he deserve a BAFTA? Many think so, and if he does achieve that recognition it will have been quite a journey for a man who was once known merely as a venomous critic, spitting vitriol over prime time television.
When the big HBO shows were first aired on this side of the pond I excitedly tuned in every Sunday evening to watch these soon-to-be classics. The Sopranos, Deadwood and 6 Feet Under were like nothing I’d seen before. At the same time I was a regular reader of The Guide, the Guardian’s Saturday supplement, in which Charlie Brooker wrote his Screen Burn column. »
- A.W. Wilson
Matthew Wright's Channel 5 show in which he imitated a catchphrase from the TV detective series Taggart to describe the death of a teenager in the Western Isles of Scotland has become the most complained about TV show of 2011.
The edition of the Wright Stuff in which the presenter attempted a Scottish accent and said "there's been another murder" prompted 2,200 complaints to Ofcom.
The X Factor made the most appearances in Ofcom's top 100, with 15 editions of the talent show generating a total of 753 complaints. The antics of wannabe rockstar Frankie Cocozza, who left the show after breaking a "golden rule", sparked the most ire among viewers. »
- John Plunkett
Christmas came early for Channel 4 with a festive edition of ratings juggernaut My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding watched by more than 5 million viewers.
My Big Fat Gypsy Christmas, which saw the return of stalwart traveller Paddy Doherty after his brief starring role on Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother, attracted an average audience of 5.1 million and a 20.5% share of all viewing in the 9pm slot.
When Channel 4+1 is included, the total audience hit 5.8 million and a 23.4% share.
- Mark Sweney
The TV event of the weekend – in terms of numbers anyway – was obviously the X Factor final. But print deadlines (for the handful of old folks who still read this on dead tree, hello Mum) mean I can't be dealing with that. And you'll have been following the excellent live blog on the site. Which leaves me with, well, the TV event of the weekend, in terms of interest: Black Mirror (Channel 4, Sunday). And, appropriately, in 15 Million Merits, the second part of Charlie Brooker's murky look at both the modern world and the inside of his own head, characters accumulate credits (mainly by pedalling exercise bicycles) in order to achieve the ultimate goal: an appearance on an X Factor-like talent competition.
No coincidence surely, »
- Sam Wollaston
Without You (ITV) | ITV Player
Come Date with Me (C4) | 4Od
The Great British Property Scandal (C4) | 4Od
Black Mirror (C4) | 4Od
After Life: The Strange Science of Decay (BBC4) | iPlayer
Jealousy hobbles almost all of us at some stage; its many nastinesses ramped to unbearable levels by the fact that it is one of mankind's happiest attributes, our own imaginations, which is doing 90% of the nasties. And how much worse, then, to be jealous in retrospect, when someone's dead and you can't even scream at them, ask them, let them know how much it hurt, and hurts?
This intriguing theme, wrapped in a deft little murder (or was it?) plot, underpinned Without You, the latest adaptation of a "Nicci French" book, which means it's one by Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, »
- Euan Ferguson
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The first episode of Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker’s satirical Twilight Zone inspired horror series, formed a nightmare “what if?” scenario around social media, 24 hour news channels and, ultimately, audience complicity in increasingly sadistic televised entertainment. The second episode, “15 Million Merits”, could easily be that society in the not too distant future. Set in an unspecified time and place, the episode – co-written by Brooker and wife Kanak Huq, the former Blue Peter presenter – puts us in a world that’s perhaps best described as being like what you’d imagine if Apple designed a prison.
In this future society people divide their time between watching TV in cramped private living quarters and watching TV at work – spending all day peddling exercise bikes to earn the titular merits. Here merits have replaced money and powering away on the bike – presumably to generate power for all the TVs »
- Robert Beames
Music is a serious issue for Suzanne Moore. She has introduced daughter Angel to Bob Dylan, the Sex Pistols and Billie Holiday. Then along came The X Factor. So what happened when they went to the semi-finals?
I haven't bothered much with The X Factor this year. The formula is tired. Cowell is not there. The blanding out of music into something-they-prepared-earlier is tedious, as is the endless sobbing, the choreographed back stories, the fake auditioning of those who have been talent-scouted – or paid – to make fools of themselves. The daft rivalry between the judges, and even the flashing lights, are irritating. But I am not 10 and sometimes you just have to get over yourself. This series may have lost a million viewers but it is still the biggest show in Britain across Saturday and Sunday nights.
When I got tickets to see the semi-final last week, my youngest was beside herself. »
- Suzanne Moore
Channel 4 has released a clip from the second episode of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror. The latest instalment in the anthology series, co-written by Brooker and Konnie Huq, is entitled '15 Million Merits'. Set in a future world, the episode stars The Fades actor Daniel Kaluuya and Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay. Rupert Everett, Julia Davis and Ashley Thomas also (more) »
- By Morgan Jeffery
“In Serling's day, the atom bomb, civil rights, McCarthyism, psychiatry and the space race were of primary concern. Today he'd be writing about terrorism, the economy, the media, privacy and our relationship with technology.” – Charlie Brooker on Black Mirror
Last Sunday saw the premiere of Charlie Brooker’s new anthology TV show Black Mirror – a show that Brooker himself has said was indirectly inspired by shows like Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, Tales of The Unexpected and The Outer Limits. It is a three part mini-series which will tell a different story each week in true anthology style with a focus on technology, the media and the world we live in today.
In the first episode The National Anthem, we see Prime Minister Michael Callow (Rory Kinnear) involved in an almost terrorist-like threat during the »
Some of our favorite TV shows lately have been coming out of the UK. It looks like there's another on its way too, this one from the writer of the stellar UK zombie show, "Dead Set". Read on for details.
According to Channel 4, Charlie Brooker is at it again bringing along his special brand of twists and turns with a new three-part miniseries entitled "Black Mirror", which premiered last night to those lucky enough to live across the pond.
Described as a suspenseful, satirical thriller that taps into collective unease about our modern world, check out the trailer below and pray we get it here on our shores.
Visit The Evilshop @ Amazon!
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Stare into the mirror in the comments section below! »
- Uncle Creepy
One of the most underrated and unseen miniseries in the last decade was Charlie Brooker's UK "Dead Set", about a zombie outbreak during the filming of an episode of "Big Brother". Brooker is back again with a new series that just premiere last night. Entitled "Black Mirror", the satirical three-part miniseries taps into collective unease about our modern world. The trailer above exclaims that in the future one can record life, leading to a bizarre series of events. It's hard to tell if we should be covering but there are a few hints at some horror elements, such as a kidnapper being caught by the police. Pretty cool stuff! »
Think Cameron has it tough? This prime minister has to have sex with a pig on live television
In his preview of Black Mirror (Channel 4), Charlie Brooker offered The Twilight Zone as one of the key influences for his new Sunday night dramas. To the untrained eye, the first of them, National Anthem, looked suspiciously like political satire – and a very superior one – rather than a sci-fi vision of technology's power to distort the world. All the gadgetry seemed only too familiar and the voyeurism all too credible: there's more dystopia in an episode of Spooks.
Rather less credible was the premise in which we were asked to believe, that Princess Susannah – think Kate Middleton – had been abducted and that the kidnappers had threatened to kill her unless the prime minister – think David Cameron: really, please do, as you'll never be able to take him at all seriously again »
- John Crace
Join me from 8pm on Sunday as we find out who's made it into the final – will Little Mix make it all the way?
Hello there, and welcome to X Factor liveblog: the shriekquel. First, let me congratulate everybody who managed to survive last night's monumental blandathon of an episode. To be able to sit through an hour and a half of something that aggressively insipid and still come back for more is the mark of a true champion. You have my undying respect.
But let's forget about the past. Tonight is where we ditch the last of the chaff before next week's giant - and, if Strictly Come Dancing is any indication, incomprehensibly echoey - Wembley Arena final. Tonight, the judges have no say. The public vote alone decides who leaves. There will be no sing-off. Instead, presumably, the act with the fewest votes will be quietly covered with »
- Stuart Heritage
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Charlie Brooker’s Twilight Zone inspired horror anthology Black Mirror begins on Sunday with “The National Anthem”, the first of three stand alone episodes which at once juggle razor sharp satire, silly jokes and disturbing imagery. It’s safe to say it’s unlike anything else you’ve seen on British television in the last twelve months – in fact you’d probably have to reach back to Chris Morris’ similarly warped Jam to find something even remotely similar.
The premise of this episode is difficult to explain without spoilers, so to put it extremely vaguely: it’s about a Prime Minister (Rory Kinnear) who awakens one morning to find that a member of the Royal Family has been taken hostage and will be killed if he doesn’t fulfil an unusual and embarrassing demand on live television within the next few hours. He spends the rest »
- Robert Beames
Through his collaboration with Chris Morris writing Nathan Barley, to his insightful Screenwipe TV series and often hilarious Guardian newspaper columns, Charlie Brooker has established himself not only as one of the country’s most influential satirists, but also as a foremost media commentator. Today, at least for the left, he is as much part of the zeitgeist as the TV shows he trashes to bits. All of the above shows – as well as his well regarded Big Brother zombie apocalypse mini-series Dead Set - share at their core a fascination with how we engage with media, often with added emphasis on the technology involved and how that continues to change our society.
These concerns are once again in the foreground of new three-part series Black Mirror, which tells three stand alone horror stories very much in the spirit of The Twilight Zone. But these are highly satirical modern nightmares »
- Robert Beames
Every life includes significant landmarks: your first kiss, your first job, your first undetected murder. Maybe that's just me. Anyway, last week I experienced a more alarming first: my first unironic conversation with a machine.
I was using the new iPhone, the one with Siri, the built-in personal assistant you talk to. You hold down a button and mutter something like "Set the alarm for eight in the morning," or "Remind me to ring Gordon later," and Siri replies, "Ok, I'll do that for you," using the voice of Jon Briggs, better known as the voice of The Weakest Link. And he sets everything up, just the way you wanted.
Siri is a creep – a servile arselick with zero self-respect – but he works annoyingly well. »
- Charlie Brooker
Charlie Brooker's comic drama to explore reaction of Twitter to fictionalised sensational news story
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.
- Vicky Frost
19 items from 2011
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