Black Mirror (2011– )
8.2/10
30,768
41 user 30 critic

Fifteen Million Merits 

In a world where people's lives consist of riding exercise bikes to gain credits, Bing tries to help a woman get on to a singing competition show.

Director:

Euros Lyn

Writers:

Charlie Brooker, Konnie Huq (as Kanak Huq)
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Kaluuya ... Bingham 'Bing' Madsen
Jessica Brown Findlay ... Abi Khan
Rupert Everett ... Judge Hope
Julia Davis ... Judge Charity
Ashley Thomas ... Judge Wraith
Paul Popplewell ... Dustin
Isabella Laughland ... Swift
David Fynn ... Oliver
Colin Michael Carmichael ... Kai (as Colin Carmichael)
Hannah John-Kamen ... Selma Telse
Kerrie Hayes ... Glee
Eugene O'Hare Eugene O'Hare ... Hammond
Jaimi Barbakoff Jaimi Barbakoff ... Anna
Merce Ribot Merce Ribot ... Big Shot Registration Lady
Matthew Burgess Matthew Burgess ... Botherguts Host
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Storyline

In a world where people's lives consist of riding exercise bikes to gain credits, Bing tries to help a woman get on to a singing competition show.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 December 2011 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song "Anyone who knows what love is" is heard again in the season 4 episode 'Crocodile'. Also in that episode, the hotel receptionist refuses to give out the name of a guest, citing a scandal involving a rent boy and a judge from Hot Shot - the talent show from this episode. See more »

Goofs

At 46:59, Abi's name is still visible on the leaderboard despite the fact that it's been several months since she had to pedal a bike. See more »

Quotes

Bing: I haven't got a speech. I didn't plan words. I didn't even try to I just knew I had to get here, to stand here, and I wanted you to listen. To really listen, not just pull a face like you're listening, like you do the rest of the time. A face that you're feeling instead of processing. You pull a face, and poke it towards the stage, and we lah-di-dah, we sing and dance and tumble around. And all you see up here, it's not people, you don't see people up here, it's all fodder. And the faker the ...
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Crazy Credits

Merce Ribot was wrongly credited as "'Big Shot' Registration Lady" (it should say 'Hot Shot'). See more »

Connections

References Brazil (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Dies Irae
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi
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User Reviews

 
Multiple layers of darkness
2 January 2017 | by BigRichAUSee all my reviews

I only recently came to Black Mirror and find it fascinating viewing them through the prism of all that's happened in the five years since this first season was produced.

The structure of this episode feels more like a piece of theatre. The scenarios in which the characters are placed are implausible and don't bear analysis (yes, of course using humans to generate electricity is not efficient) and the supporting characters are deliberately one- dimensional. But that's what makes it so effective.

Look beyond the obvious and specific commentary it provides on reality TV and body image obsession, and you'll find that what it really exposes is the fundamental futility of our modern consumption-driven existence. Our visceral needs to obtain more drives us to greater debt. Our debt forces us to work, pedalling frantically at life just to keep our heads above water. Like the man relegated to wear yellow and serve as the butt of crass humour, failure to keep up just pushes us onto a downward spiral from which we cannot return. And ultimately the fear of failure, of the oblivion of death, allows us to swallow our moral objections to that life when a path to greater comfort is offered to us.

And of course, at the end of the day, those in power know how to manipulate our weaknesses. They are caught up in the cycle, trapped themselves. The judges know they have to keep pushing the boundaries to keep people viewing. So their moral compass spins as wildly as our own as they struggle to stay ahead of the pack. In a world bereft of genuine feeling or emotion, what little genuineness exists is itself commoditized. Expressions of individuality, of innovation, become the intellectual property of others, are franchised and end up as dully ubiquitous as what came before.

But what choice do we have? Can we escape the treadmill? We are not fulfilled, but can we see a viable path to a fulfilling life? Are we better off mindlessly keeping the wheels turning so that the material necessities of life are still provided? Or do we take the risk and break out? Is there even anything outside the treadmill? Can we live outside of the economy that imprisons us? Is death really our only escape?

Or should we just resign ourselves to it? Become like the crass, mindless idiot who laughs along with the spoon-fed televisual mush? Can we suppress thoughts of betterment and make our lives tolerable by giving in to conformity? Can we let "I really had no choice" become a valid defence for our inhuman actions?


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