Taking a satirical look at life under lockdown, Brooker will dissect rolling news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in a “hopefully cathartic” way. As well as coverage of the crisis itself, he’ll also explore what we’ve been watching to whittle down the hours.
As Brooker himself says, “If nothing else it will give you something to do for 45 minutes.”
So when can you catch it? And who will appear on the show? Here’s everything you need to know
What time is Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe on TV?
Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe is on 9pm, Thursday 14th May, on BBC Two. The show will be available to watch soon after on BBC iPlayer.
Is Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe a series?
Unfortunately not. Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe is a one-off special running at 45 minutes (though that’s 15 minutes more than was first planned).
Who is Philomena Cunk?
Philomena Cunk is played by actress Diane Morgan. As well as appearing on previous Wipe shows, Cunk has fronted documentaries such as Cunk on Christmas, Cunk on Shakespeare, Cunk on Britain and Cunk and Other Humans.
Brooker actually had another Cunk project in the works before the global pandemic. “We’ve done the scripts and everything. When this whole thing kicked off and that got postponed,” he said.
You might also recognise Morgan from Ricky Gervais Netflix comedy series After Life (as Kath), Sky One’s comedy series Rovers (Mandy) and BBC Two sitcom Motherland (Liz). She also starred and directed BBC Two comedy short Mandy.
Who is Barry Shitpeas?
Barry Shitpeas is played by Al Campbell. Although portraying the half-witted commentator since Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe in 2006, Campbell isn’t actually an actor. He primarily works as a director, helming many of Brooker’s early Wipe shows.
Campbell has also directed the likes of Greg Davies sitcom Man Down, Sky comedy Urban Myths and Jack Whitehall’s Bad Education.
How was Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe filmed in lockdown?
Although social distancing guidelines mean Brooker couldn’t film behind-the-desk links in a studio à la Weekly Wipe, lockdown measures haven’t drastically changed the show’s format.
“[It’s] not hugely different – the Wipe shows don’t have a live audience, and there’s almost never more than two people on screen at once, and most of it is archive,” said Brooker, who filmed much of the show in his actual lounge.
Viewers can also expect a special home-made Antiviral Wipe desk to make an appearance.
ANTIVIRAL WIPE – which will be 50% *longer* than first advertised – is on BBC2, May 14th at 9pm. Please excuse cardboard desk. pic.twitter.com/0ARj3tkosZ
— Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker) May 8, 2020
Fortunately, filming contributions from Barry Shitpeas and Philomena Cunk wasn’t too much of a problem, with the characters played by two directors.
“Well it’s basically a locked-off shot so you don’t really need a big studio, and it’s about as complex as Gogglebox,” explained Brooker.
“As luck would have it both Al Campbell (Shitpeas) and Diane Morgan (Cunk) are directors. So the equipment basically got dumped on doorsteps and from that point on it was all a bit DIY.”
Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe is on BBC Two at 9pm on Thursday 14th May. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.