×

‘Black Mirror’: How Creator Charlie Brooker Came Up With That ‘White Bear’ Episode Twist

In this week’s issue, “Black Mirror” creator Charlie Brooker talks about bringing his cult anthology series to Netflix for it’s third season. But he also revealed the secrets behind one of his most famous episodes from Season 2. Be warned: spoilers ahead!

In the episode “White Bear,” which premiered in February of 2013, the audience is introduced to a young woman named Victoria (played by Lenora Crichlow) who awakens in an empty housing unit with no idea who she is or how she got there. A strange symbol is on the TV screen, and she will learn that this strange signal has turned most people into either murderous mobs or mindless zombies who record everything.

After making it to a gas station, Victoria teams up with others unaffected by the signal who aim to turn it off by reaching the transmitter at a place called “White Bear.” But when they reach the location, it’s all revealed to be a sham; it’s a fenced area called “White Bear Justice Park” designed to punish Victoria, who filmed her fiancé murdering a little girl. Every night her memory is wiped clean and she must endure the same day, where actors and attendees put her through the wringer. Many clues to the reveal are littered throughout: the strange symbol was a tattoo her fiancé had and the young victim was clutching a white bear as a toy when she was kidnapped.

Regarded as one of the most shocking twists on “Black Mirror,” Brooker says the big reveal wasn’t originally in the script. “It was a straightforward apocalypse story,” he notes. “It was a woman wakes up and there’s a signal going across the world affecting people. The original ending had a public crucifixion.”

Everything changed when Brooker was scouting locations on a former U.S. Air Force base. “We were looking around at what we could use,” he says. “I saw the housing, a gas station, and I saw this fence running around outside the place. I was like, ‘That’s interesting, there’s a fence. A fence. A fence!’ And the twist suddenly occurred to me. I ran off and wrote it in a couple days in a bit of a fever dream.”

Brooker adds that he’s never changed a script so dramatically that late in the production. “We were ready to go, we were scouting,” he says. “It was Darwinian in that such a better idea came along.”

For more discussion of the new “Black Mirror” episodes, tune in below.

More TV

  • Bob GreenblattCreating Great Characters: Dick Wolf

    Bob Greenblatt on WarnerMedia Streaming Strategy: 'The Assets are Undeniable'

    CANNES — AT&T is ready for battle in the streaming wars. The new parent company of HBO and Warner Bros. has moved quickly to respond to consumer demand by marshaling its forces behind the launch next spring of HBO Max, WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told a crowd of international TV and digital executives here [...]

  • Roberto Gomez Bolanos Mexican actor Roberto

    Chespirito Media Universe in Development from Grupo Chespirito, Thr3 Media Group

    Mexican production companies Grupo Chespirito and Thr3 Media Group have come to terms on a deal to co-produce multi-media content and create the Chespirito Media Universe based on the characters and world of Mexico and Latin America’s most iconic TV creator, director, producer and actor, Chespirito. Thr3 Media Group was launched in January 2018 by [...]

  • Bastian-and-Fabienne_2btube-Office-1

    2btube Adds Lacoproductora to Facebook, YouTube Originals Alliances

    CANNES —  Fast-driving from a huge digital media publishing base into the creation and production of premium content for global platforms and beyond, top Spanish-language digital native media group 2btube has clinched a wide-ranging production partnership with José Miguel Contreras’ Madrid-based Lacoproductora. The deal comes fast on the heels of 2btube’s production alliance with Facebook [...]

  • LA-CHICA-QUE-LIMPIA-PICTURE

    Spain's Fasten Films Nabs Remake Rights to Argentine Series 'The Cleaning Lady' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Barcelona-based company Fasten Films has optioned Spanish and Portuguese adaptation rights to Argentine suspense series “La chica que limpia” (“The Cleaning Lady”). The deal was negotiated with Argentine distributors RM Vistar and GlowStar, who jointly handle the format’s international sales. A Mexican remake of the series is being produced by Turner Latin America, alongside BTF [...]

  • Motiv: Max ConzeFoto: © ProSiebenSat.1/Martin SaumweberDieses

    ProSiebenSat.1 Boss Max Conze Unfazed By the Invasion of the Digital Streaming Giants

    Max Conze, CEO of German broadcast company ProSiebenSat.1 since June last year, appeared relatively relaxed about the prospect of the coming invasion of new subscription streaming players like Disney Plus into his territory when speaking to journalists at TV market and conference Mipcom in Cannes Tuesday. “Disney will not lock away all their content,” he [...]

  • Irmaos Freitas

    Amazon Prime Video takes Turner’s ‘Freitas Brothers’

    CANNES — In yet another – and significant – Latin America distribution deal for the now highly active OTT giant, Amazon Prime Video has acquired Brazilian and pan-Spanish-speaking Latin American SVOD rights to Turner Latin America’s highly anticipated “Freitas Brothers.” The announcement was made late Tuesday by Turner Latin America at Cannes Mipcom TV and [...]

  • Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, Cory Booker,

    Nonsense Ellen DeGeneres Question Derails an Otherwise Substantive Democratic Debate (Column)

    The fourth Democratic debate was dangerously close to being substantive. For almost three (3!) hours, the twelve (12!) candidates onstage tackled questions on foreign policy, reproductive rights, health care, gun control, big tech, and the opioid crisis. While the other debates — and indeed, the entire 2016 presidential campaign — have been marked by meme-able [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content