Magazine article Screen International

Emmys 2017: Charlie Brooker Talks Netflix and 'Black Mirror'

Magazine article Screen International

Emmys 2017: Charlie Brooker Talks Netflix and 'Black Mirror'

Article excerpt

The series’ creator reveals to Screen why his partnership with Netflix has given him the opportunity to push even more creative boundaries.

For UK writer and comedian Charlie Brooker, television anthology series Black Mirror, which he created in 2011, has propelled his name onto the international stage. Depicting satirical and often dark visions of our near future, the show now has a home in the ever-expanding Netflix stable.

The first two series - produced by UK outfit Zeppotron for media major Endemol in 2011 and 2013, and each comprising three 60-minute episodes - were broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK to critical acclaim. The series was belatedly brought to the US in late 2013 via DirecTV’s Audience Network. After a one-off Christmas special in 2014, the rights were then picked up by SVoD giant Netflix in a reported $40m deal.

The US company ordered an extended 12-episode run, broken up into two series, the first of which debuted on the platform in October 2016. Starring recognisable film talent including Bryce Dallas Howard, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Kelly Macdonald, the show also boasted directors known for their big-screen work such as Joe Wright and Dan Trachtenberg. When Screen International caught up with Brooker in the spring, he was mid-production on the follow-up season.

“I don’t have time for reflection [on last season]. It feels like a very recent memory but also a thousand years ago at the same time,” Brooker says, noting that he has gone virtually back-to-back from wrapping the first season with Netflix into production on the second. “Before the last season had been delivered, we were already panicking about this one. It’s kind of never-ending.”

Netflix influence

Despite the pace of production, the relationship with Netflix - which has brought with it bigger budgets - has been seamless for Brooker. “When Netflix picked us up, they were keen for us to keep doing what we were doing; they don’t tend to interfere,” he says. “From story to story, we can reinvent the wheel and produce massively different tonal pieces. …

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