Charlie Brooker has compared watching the news during the coronavirus crisis to eating apples, saying it is “good for you in moderation, but consume too much and you’ll give yourself the shits”.
The Black Mirror creator casts his eye over the coverage of the crisis in Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe, his first Screenwipe since 2016.
He said he decided to return to the satirical format, which features archive news footage alongside his commentary and that of Philomena Cunk (Diane Morgan) and Barry Shitpeas (Al Campbell) when production was postponed on another show he was working on.
Brooker said: “We were supposed to be making a new Philomena Cunk show — we’ve done the scripts and everything — when this whole thing kicked off, and that got postponed.
“We wanted to keep as much of the team on as possible — the BBC asked if we’d make a new Wipe show instead, and I initially said no, before relenting when it became clear the format itself would still work under lockdown.”
He said they managed to film the different elements during isolation with the bare minimum production, adding: “It’s basically a locked-off shot, so you don’t really need a big studio, and it’s about as complex as Gogglebox.
“As luck would have it both Al Campbell and Diane Morgan are directors. So the equipment basically got dumped on doorsteps, and from that point on it was all a bit DIY.”
Discussing his attitude to watching the news during the pandemic, the writer and presenter said: “I haven’t been able to ignore it because of this show — but generally I think it’s sensible to limit your consumption to one bulletin a day.
“It’s a bit like eating apples — good for you in moderation, but consume too much and you’ll give yourself the shits.”
He also offered his verdict on 2020, after describing 2016 as “shitmongous”, saying so far this year has been: “F***awfulous.”
Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe is on BBC Two at 9pm on Thursday.