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Follows Charlie Brooker's 2011 Wipe (2011) See more »

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Acerbic brilliance from start to finish
26 January 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As with previous years, Charlie Brooker takes a look back at 2012 with a typically cynical eye; a year of natural disaster, elections, dead pedophile celebrities, sporting glory, the Royal jubilee, Gangham style dancing, corruption and amorality in the media and other such cheerful subjects. He also has a pop at Batman.

Those familiar with Brooker's style of comedy already know to expect here and it is only a matter of whether he can deliver; I've yet to really find a reason to doubt him and this end of year special was no different as he is mostly on great form. Presnted from a studio and a couple of locations where he can walk and talk (one of them where he looks like he has been dragged through hedges first), Brooker takes the year apart with a satirical approach that is as sharp as a knife and as cruel as, well a lot of the reality TV that he mocks here. It is hard to describe to those not familiar with him but not only is what he is saying funny in terms of the views expressed but it is the manner in which he says them. So, for example, it is not enough to have 30 second mocking somebody with the precision of a darts professional, but when we see this person being "doorstepped" by a reporter, Brooker slips in a 5 second aside that he "didn't know he had a doorstep – I presumed he started each day by slithering through a hunted mirror into our realm".

Its turns of phrase that this one that really make the comedy hit home and just like In The Thick of It, the dialogue and the script is delicious and full of words I wish I could come up with. His presentation is really good but he also has great supports from American comic Stanhope as well as two others playing "ordinary people" who get away with some great lines by virtue of their characters. If the show has a weak part it is that the section on Jimmy Saville is hard to laugh at – it is too fresh and the writing recognizes this but doesn't manage to go totally serious on the subject as the tone change is too dramatic for such a small segment.

Otherwise though the special is typically cruel, cynical and brilliant – foul-mouthed, angry and very funny indeed. Well worth checking out and I'm looking forward to his return to the BBC with a 6 part run of Weekly Wipe which apparently will be on BBC2 early this year.


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