Black Mirror (2011– )
118 user 38 critic

The National Anthem 

Prime Minister Michael Callow faces a shocking dilemma when Princess Susannah, a much-loved member of the Royal Family, is kidnapped.


Otto Bathurst


Charlie Brooker, Charlie Brooker (creator)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rory Kinnear ... Michael Callow
Lindsay Duncan ... Alex Cairns
Donald Sumpter ... Julian Hereford
Tom Goodman-Hill ... Tom Bilce
Anna Wilson-Jones ... Jane Callow
Patrick Kennedy ... Section Chief Walker
Alastair Mackenzie ... Martin
Chetna Pandya ... Malaika
Alex Macqueen ... Special Agent Callett (as Alex MacQueen)
Jay Simpson ... Rod Senseless
Helen Fospero Helen Fospero ... Lucinda Towne
Lydia Wilson ... Princess Susannah
Sophie Kennedy Clark ... Lauren
Andrew Knott ... Brian
Allen Leech ... Pike


In a run-up to Christmas the British Prime Minister Michael Callow is woken up and shown a disturbing video. On it he sees that people's princess Susannah of Beaumont has been abducted and will allegedly be murdered unless he has sex with a pig on live television. An effort to trace the kidnapper on a deserted campus proves to be in vain and Michael dismisses his aides' suggestion that a porn star perform the bestiality with the PM's face digitally superimposed. News coverage and Internet tweeters go into overdrive as Michael ultimately does his duty, in a deserted room with one camera man and a seemingly contented pig. Despite being ordered not to look, millions of people tune in though their amusement soon turns to horror at what they see. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller


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Did You Know?


This episode became the subject of discussion when, in September 2015, then-current Prime Minister David Cameron was alleged to have placed his penis into the mouth of a dead pig as part of a university initiation rite (with even some of the hashtags seen in this episode being used). See more »


In the opening scene, a telephone rings with the single tone used in North America; British phones ring with a double tone. See more »


Michael Callow: You've sent in a strike team to rescue a manikin!
See more »


Featured in Charlie Brooker's Wipe: 2015 Wipe (2015) See more »


By Max Richter
From "The Blue Notebooks"
See more »

User Reviews

Good episode, just not the propper jumping off point.
6 January 2018 | by tellison-44087See all my reviews

I plan to review all Black Mirror episodes once I have seen them all twice. I like to space it out as to not tire myself of this utterly fantastic show. I plan to make my reviews spoiler-free!

So as for the opening episode of the entire series, "The National Anthem." As most of you know, most Black Mirror episodes take place in the future. The opening is episode is based within our real world, and the technology that is available to us. One of the aspects I love about Black Mirror so much is that it reveals the deeper, darker traits of human nature. The types of traits we like to pretend we all don't have, but we do. This episode is surely no exception of that.

The content of this episode is so dark, so disturbing, and for lack of a better word, just plain gross. Having the diabolical mind that I have, I am able to stomach it, and enjoy the twisted-ness of it all, to some degree anyway. If I myself were to write my own TV show, novel, etc... I would probably never delve into the territories that this episode does. Certainly not for the faint of heart. I suppose my favorite aspect of this episode is that the ultimatum presented could happen in today's world... and perhaps have the same outcome. When such a choice is presented to a person in order to save someone in danger, as well as to save face when they themselves are in a position of power, I'm not sure I see it playing out in any other fashion.

The downside, and why I decided to give this 8 stars, is due to the content being so gross. The acting is great, the story is interesting and powerful, and again, the darkest potential of our human nature is revealed in this episode. Upon recommending this show (perhaps my favorite show of all time, next to Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire), I always throw out the disclaimer that this is not the first episode that should be watched. I sincerely think Charlie Booker and crew made a mistake having this be the first episode, as people were probably turned off right from the get go. But, every episode of the series stands alone, with their own concepts.

All-in-all, this episode is an interesting look into what could happen if power is given to the wrong hands. The boundaries that are crossed are shocking... but that is one of the many things I love about the show in general. This just isn't the best episode, but it still encapsulates what the show is about. Delivering a dark and ominous message about what can come at the expense of the ever-rising importance and power of technology in our life.

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Release Date:

4 December 2011 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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