Charlie Brooker reveals what he left out of Antiviral Wipe

The comic coronavirus-themed show originally featured a heavy nod to ITV's Robert Peston

Credit: BBC

From a cutting look at life in lockdown, to a masterful description of Chris Whitty (“A sad Doctor resembling Tintin prematurely aged after watching his dog drown”), critics and viewers were wowed by with coronavirus-themed comedy Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe.


Sadly, however, not everything could fit into the 45-minute special and it turns out several ideas had to be dropped from the show. Brooker recently revealed one such skit poked fun at one particular newsreader.

“We had a couple of bits in the show that we took out actually, about how when Robert Peston starts asking a question at those briefings it’s like someone’s put on an audiobook,” Brooker explained to GQ.

“And so there’s a bit where I’m staring at my phone and realise that I’ve managed to get bored during a pandemic.”

Brooker also delved into perhaps why Antiviral Wipe didn’t feature any clips of Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan. “Probably because it would have meant I would have to say something nice about him!” he said.

“He’s an odd fish, isn’t he? Because he obviously thrives on antagonising people, and so when he’s antagonising the right people from whatever your viewpoint then he’s a bit of a hero.

“I suppose in some ways it’s refreshing because he does seem to actually relish being disliked by half the population at any given time.”

Antiviral Wipe also featured the return of talking-head commentators Philomena Cunk and Barry Shitpeas, played by Diane Morgan and Al Campbell, respectively. As Brooker explained, he was in the final stages of a new Cunk series when the nationwide lockdown was rolled out.

“We’d written a whole series for Diane Morgan – a Philomena Cunk series, which was due to start filming around the world. And we were putting the finishing touches to the script and then this stuff started happening,” he said.


Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.