Earlier this week, very sympathetic to the fact that everyone is probably suffering from festive fatigue, Channel 4 held a preview event in London for Charlie Brooker’s upcoming Black Mirror Christmas special, ‘White Christmas’.
In various states of recovery from our respective office Christmas parties – aided by multiple mince pies and several glasses of red wine – myself and a gaggle of writers are led into a private screening room, where we are each given a Black Mirror Christmas cracker to pull. (I got a compact black mirror, I kid you not.)
Right from the get-go, I got the feeling this was going to be a suitably – and quite literally – very twisted plot. It’s difficult not to give too much away at this stage, but any Black Mirror fan will know that technology and its social impact on the public are always the central theme in these dark tales.
In this festive feature-length story we are confronted with the horrifying reality of physically ‘blocking’ one another, which has now become the norm in society… and the effects are devastating for all who succumb.
On paper Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Rafe Spall (Prometheus) are not a pairing that should work, but in practice they complement each other’s performances so well and have clear on-screen chemistry as they unravel the tapestry of plot devices aimed to keep us all wondering, just which of the two are we suppose to emphasise with?
Oona Chaplin (Game of Thrones, The Hour) also deserves special praise for successfully managing to simultaneously convey both the victim over the powers beyond her control, and the living embodiment of the ice-cold bitch.
Brooker has spared no expense in turning our perception of this reality on its head as we are treated to a trio of delightfully dark tales within a single frame device; resulting in the perfect cocktail of an anti-Christmas antidote, throwing in enough references to everything that you love, hate and indeed fear about the holidays.
Following the screening, cast members Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall were joined by writer Charlie Brooker, producer Annabel Jones and director Carl Tibbetts for a Q&A session. Here are some of the highlights…
“If you’d have asked me if I’d have watched a movie in the palm of my hand 5 years ago. I’d have said no, unless I was having a nervous breakdown.” – Charlie Brooker
“It was very easy to say yes to!” (After reading the script) – Jon Hamm
“It’s so rare to read something so wholly original.” – Rafe Spall
“When it came to the filming, there are so many beats and rhythms and paces in it [sic]… there wasn’t too much to worry about.” – Carl Tibbetts
“Everything we’ve ever done together is pour-your-heart-out insanity! We irritate each other equally!” (On working with Charlie) – Annabel Jones
“The uniqueness of the writing means there are moments to laugh, moments to cry, moments to freak out, scream and go mad.” – Jon Hamm
“No matter how serious the subject matter, you should always be able to laugh.” – Rafe Spall
“It’s been remarkable, the reaction Black Mirror’s had since it came out on Netflix in the US.” – Jon Hamm
‘White Christmas’ air at 9pm on Tuesday 16 December on Channel 4.
Are you looking forward to ‘White Christmas’? Let us know below…