Before “Black Mirror,” Brooker rose to fame with the BBC “Wipe” review series, which began in 2006 with “Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe,” and went on to include “Newswipe with Charlie Brooker,” “Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe” and “Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe.” The last episode of his annual “Wipe” review ran in 2016.
Last year, Brooker said he was too busy working on Netflix series “Black Mirror” to focus on “Wipe,” but the lockdown has clearly freed up some of his time.
The BBC said Brooker will be taking “a typically sharp look at life in lockdown, in a show made during lockdown.” The program will air on channel BBC Two.
As well as coverage of the crisis itself, Brooker will also be looking at the things people are watching and doing to keep themselves occupied.
The show will also feature hapless regular contributor Philomena Cunk, played by comedian and “Motherland” actor Diane Morgan with her own special brand of in-depth reporting, alongside Barry Shitpeas, played by Al Campbell.
Brooker and collaborator Annabel Jones left their Endemol Shine Group-owned production label House of Tomorrow and set up new production company Broke And Bones in January, each taking a 50% stake in the company. They have been in protracted negotiations with Netflix about an exclusive deal, which has yet to be publicly announced.
“Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe” is billed as a Broke & Bones and Endemol Shine UK co-production for BBC Two. The executive producer is Annabel Jones, and series producer is Alison Marlow. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Ben Caudell.
News of the Brooker commission came as BBC Two also announced a slate of new comedies.
Sophie Willan’s “Alma’s Not Normal” has been commissioned for a full series following a successful pilot that aired as part of the channel’s New on Two series. The pilot was watched by over one million people and the full series is expected in 2021.
Created, written by, starring and executive produced by Willan, inaugural winner of the BBC’s Caroline Aherne Bursary Award in 2018, “Alma’s Not Normal” centres on wild-child Alma Nuthall and her family of eccentric, unruly women from the northern England town of Bolton.
The six-part series of 30-minute episodes is being produced by Expectation, and follows Alma as she tries to get her life back on track following a recent break-up.
Shane Allen, controller of comedy commissioning at the BBC, said: “Sophie’s raw honesty, eye for characterization and comedic insouciance have resulted in a cracking show bursting with potential.”
Meanwhile, “Comedians Playing With Themselves” is a six-part series of 15-minute episodes that sees comics including Bob Mortimer, Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar, Russell Kane, Sally Phillips and Mat Horne tasked with entertaining and enlightening the nation during lockdown. Each of the comics will self-shoot their comedy contributions.
“Comedians Playing With Themselves” is a Done + Dusted Production for BBC Two. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Katie Taylor, while Lisa Clark is exec producing.
“The Road to Brexit’s” Matt Berry also returns to BBC Two with four 15-minute episodes of “Squeamish About…”. Co-written by Berry and “Father Ted’s” Arthur Mathews, each new weekly episode will shine a light onto a different topic. Presented by Berry in the persona of ‘Michael Squeamish’, every episode will make creative use of archive footage and voiceover to create an authored and surreally comic take on the subject matter.
“Squeamish About….” is an Objective Fiction Production for BBC Two. It will be produced by Hannah Mackay, with Ben Farrell as executive producer. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Kate Daughton.
All the series have been commissioned by Patrick Holland, controller of BBC Two and Shane Allen, BBC controller of comedy commissioning.