International Emmy winner Black Mirror, written by Charlie Brooker, returns to Channel 4 with three brand new films; each story is in turn, disarming, suspenseful and darkly satirical, and all explore our modern reality.
Episode 1: ‘Be Right Back’
Monday 11 February 2013, 10pm
Martha (Hayley Atwell) and Ash (Domhnall Gleeson) are a young couple who move to a remote cottage, where Ash’s parents used to live. Ash is a big user of social media, tapping away on his phone, just a bit too much. Martha doesn’t really mind, she loves him and they’re looking forward to their new life together. The day after the move, Ash is killed, returning the hire van.
At the funeral, Sarah (Sinead Matthews), a friend of Martha’s, tells her about a new service that lets you stay in touch with the deceased. By using all his past online communications and social media profiles, a new ‘Ash’ can be created – disarmingly ‘real’ and a help to a grieving partner. Martha is disgusted by the concept and wants nothing to do with it.
Martha decides to stay in the cottage, despite her sister, Naomi (Claire Keelen), being worried about her isolation. Then one morning Martha receives an email from ‘Ash’. Sarah has signed her up. Martha is furious and deletes the message. But then she discovers she is pregnant and in a confused and lonely state Martha decides to talk to ‘him’.
Episode 2: ‘White Bear’
Monday 18 February 2013, 10pm
A woman, Debra (Lenora Crichlow), wakes in a house that she does not recognise and cannot remember anything about her life. There are photos of her with a man and another photo of a young girl on the mantelpiece – neither of whom she recognises. The TV is on and is playing a symbol that means nothing to her.
Confused and agitated, she leaves the house only to find a deserted street. Knocking on doors, no one answers. Sensing movement behind the curtains of the houses she looks up and sees a young family – the father is filming her on his phone.
A car pulls into the road and a man gets out (Michael Smiley). Debra starts to approach him until she sees he is a carrying a gun and pointing it at her. As she runs away a few people come out of their houses to film her. Running round the corner she stumbles into Damien (Ian Bonar) and Jem (Tuppence Middleton), who together with Debra seek refuge in a petrol station. The man with the gun tries to break his way in. A group of people have gathered outside and are filming this on their phones. As the glass shatters the man with the gun enters the petrol station and Damian tries to grapple with him. The girls make a run for it. They see Damien try to escape but he is shot and dies. Debra and Jem manage to escape.
Jem explains to Debra that this has been going on for months – a signal started being transmitted that has caused most of the population to become dumb voyeurs. This apathy has allowed others to do what they want and they have essentially become what Jem calls “Hunters” – out to get people like her and Debra.
During Jem’s explanation, Debra is plagued by various flashbacks – they are becoming more and more regular and involve her in a car with the man and the girl, her assumed daughter, from the photos.
Jem and Debra set out to find and destroy the transmitter, to stop its signal. It is their only hope of finding a safe way out. Reaching the transmitter they try to set fire to it just as the ‘hunters’ arrive. Will they manage it and is this the end of their torment?
Episode 3: ‘The Waldo Moment’
Monday 25 February 2013, 10pm
Meet Waldo. A blue bear from a children’s educational TV show, teaching them about the world through interviews with politicians and establishment figures. In reality however Waldo is an anarchic animated character on a satirical late-night topical comedy show who, once he has lured someone into the studio, unleashes a series of humorous innuendo, sarcasm and childish vitriol.
Behind the scenes, Waldo is voiced and controlled by failed comedian Jamie Salter (Daniel Rigby). The public success of Waldo contrasts with Jamie’s less than happy personal life.
When the channel decide they would like to give Waldo his own pilot, the production company come up with the idea of Waldo standing against one of his victims, Conservative Liam Monroe (Tobias Menzies), who has been parachuted in to win a safe Tory seat in an up-and-coming By-Election. Worried about entering the world of politics, Jamie takes some convincing by Jack Napier (Jason Flemyng), boss of the production company. On the campaign trail Jamie meets and falls for Gwendolyn Harris (Chloe Pirrie), the Labour candidate who is a rising star in the Labour party. When Gwendolyn backs away, warned off Jamie by her campaign manager, Jamie struggles to contain his disdain for career politicians.
And in a ‘Meet the Politicians’ election hustings, when taunted by Monroe, Jamie lashes out at all the other Party candidates accusing them of being more artificial than Waldo is. The clip seems to hit a nerve with a disengaged mistrusting public. It becomes a hit on YouYube and generates a lot of broadsheet commentary about the state of politics. Could this blue bear actually win the By-Election? Or is there more to play for?
Are you looking forward to Series 2? Let us know below…