Black Mirror Christmas special to feature in Channel 4 winter lineup

Charlie Brooker has created a new feature-length special of his dystopian series. Elsewhere in Channel 4’s autumn and winter schedule is an exploration of the British empire in India, a cross-platform project about gay life from Russell T Davies – and something called Scrotal Recall

Like a lump of coal chucked among the chintz of Christmas, Charlie Brooker is bringing back his dark, dystopian satire Black Mirror for a festive special on Channel 4.

The special is a single feature-length tale with three intertwined storylines. “I always enjoy a good ghost story at Christmas, and I’m a sucker for the Amicus compendium horror movies of the 70s,” Brooker told the Radio Times. “Our aim is to create the Black Mirror equivalent of that.”

Channel 4’s head of comedy, Phil Clarke, described it as “a dystopian future festive tale, that intertwines three stories to deliver a dramatic and thrilling twist. It’s satirical, comic, disturbing, and thought provoking.”

Black Mirror has had two series of three separate episodes each, exploring a variety of vivid possible futures, featuring robot boyfriends, replayable memories and – perhaps less feasibly – the prime minister in coitus with a pig.

Elsewhere in Channel 4’s lineup of autumn and winter shows, there’s a major cross-platform project from Russell T Davies, exploring gay life in Britain. Cucumber and Banana are two dramas, one on Channel 4 and one on E4 but with characters crossing between each; Tofu, meanwhile, is an online documentary exploring modern sex lives.

There’s more sex in Scrotal Recall, a romantic comedy perhaps reverse-engineered from its fabulous title – it focuses on a man who has to contact his previous sexual partners to let them know he has an STD. And following on from Sex Box last year, the channel continues its car-crash approach to the complexities of human relationships with Married at First Sight, where strangers marry each other having been matched with “a range of scientific and sociological criteria”.

Drugs and rock’n’roll meanwhile also get a look in, with Drugs Live monitoring people getting high on cannabis, and documentary series Don’t Stop the Music campaigning to get kids to take up instruments. Grayson Perry is another big culture name, with a look at the development of a bizarre Essex holiday home he designed, as well as Who Are You?, in which he makes portraits of people at crossroads in their lives.

New crime drama includes Glue from This Is England writer Jack Thorne, and Paul Abbott’s previously announced No Offence, while real-life crime gets examined in 24 Hours in Police Custody, riffing on the format that made 24 Hours in A&E such a success. The channel’s controversial hit Benefits Street has a sequel in Immigrant Street; other returning shows include Babylon and Googlebox, while Gordon Ramsay’s Nightmares series hits the European tourist circuit.

Finally, the jewel in its drama lineup is 10-parter Indian Summer, starring Julie Walters, which promises to be an epic look at the dying days of the British empire in India.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The 50 best TV shows of 2018: the full list
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s femme fatale takes the top spot, above political high camp, breakneck drama and the water-cooler hit of the decade

21, Dec, 2018 @11:03 AM

Article image
The 50 best TV shows of 2021
The great telly countdown hits the top spot with a furiously joyful, gut-wrenching five-part drama that was funny and full of life

22, Dec, 2021 @6:03 AM

Article image
The best television of 2011: Euan Ferguson's choice
As the news took a distinct turn for the worse, the nation turned to The Killing – and baking, writes Euan Ferguson

Euan Ferguson

11, Dec, 2011 @12:02 AM

Article image
The 100 best TV shows of the 21st century
Where’s Mad Men? How did The Sopranos do? Does The Crown triumph? Can anyone remember Lost? And will Downton Abbey even figure? Find out here – and have your say

Kate Abbott, Hannah J Davies, Gwilym Mumford, Phil Harrison and Jack Seale

16, Sep, 2019 @5:00 AM

Article image
The 50 best TV shows of 2017: 50-1
The countdown reaches its peak with a sci-fi dystopia that chimed with the real threat of Donald Trump, followed closely by superlative police drama, true-crime milestones, peril at sea, and the comic adventures in wrestling

30, Nov, 2017 @6:00 AM

Article image
The 50 best TV shows of 2019: the full list
The pick of the year’s top television featured ghosts, gangsters, comedy buffoons – and a hot priest

19, Dec, 2019 @8:47 AM

Article image
The week in TV: Cat Burglar; Suspicion; The Fear Index; We Are Black and British
Charlie Brooker’s gaming hymn to Looney Tunes is spot-on; Uma Thurman goes awol in a new Apple thriller; and six Black Britons enjoy a passionate debate

Barbara Ellen

27, Feb, 2022 @9:30 AM

Article image
Tell us your favourite TV shows of 2015
As we count down 2015’s best TV shows, it’s your chance to nominate the programmes you enjoyed the most

04, Dec, 2015 @4:50 PM

Article image
The 50 best TV shows of 2016: the full list
Guardian TV’s favourite programmes of the year

06, Dec, 2016 @12:31 PM

Article image
The must-watch TV of autumn 2017, from Blue Planet to Stranger Things
Strictly sparkles, David Simon goes hardcore, Jodie Foster bags a Black Mirror, Spike Lee has to have it – and it’s welcome back Winona Ryder, Larry David and the League of Gentlemen

Stuart Heritage, Mark Lawson and Kate Abbott

14, Sep, 2017 @5:00 AM