Charlie Brooker has revealed how the current coronavirus pandemic put pay to a new Philomena Cunk series, inspiring him instead to revive his classic Wipe format.
In an interview in the new issue of Radio Times, the presenter and series creator said that production was about to start on a new series featuring gullible reporter Cunk (Diane Morgan) before the COVID 19 pandemic hit the UK.
“That was pushed back by a whole year,” he said. “So we were looking for ways to keep ourselves active, trying to come up with things that might be made under home working.”
He then realised that his Wipe brand, which involves Brooker reviewing TV from a sofa, “actually works pretty well under lockdown conditions”.
He added: “People would say, ‘I can’t wait to see what you say about a particular event’. So this seemed a good one to do. We’re just swapping a studio for a room in my house. I’m finding the lockdown side of it fairly easy because really, I’ve been in training for years. I don’t go to the pub much, I’m quite a home bird.”
BBC Two announced last month that Brooker’s Wipe series would return for a coronavirus special on Thursday 14th May.
Brooker’s multiple Wipe series began with Screenwipe on BBC Four in 2006 and eventually graduated to BBC Two before the satirist launched Newswipe, Gameswipe, Weekly Wipe and the annual Wipes.
Brooker added that he’s been limiting what he watches on TV, with news fatigue being one of the main reasons he stopped doing end-of-year Wipes.
“I was getting sick of having to relive the previous 12 months, watching one depressing event after another,” he said. “So I can absolutely understand that it’s a sensible thing to do for people to ration their exposure to news at the moment. It’s like taking vitamin C: it’s only helpful up to a point, beyond which it can become dangerous.”
The new issue of Radio Times is on sale now. Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe special airs on Thursday 14th May on BBC Two at 9pm. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide.