Charlie Brooker hailed as “genius” by fans after “brilliant” Antiviral Wipe special

Charlie Brooker didn't hold back during his coronavirus coverage special, and fans loved every minute

Credit: BBC

Charlie Brooker ended his four-year presenting hiatus last night with a coronavirus-themed Antiviral Wipe special and, judging by Twitter, fans were not left disappointed.


The one-off special, which looked at coronavirus news coverage from the last five months, was packed full of satirical swipes aimed at politicians, celebrities and at times the public.

Viewers also saw the return of Brooker’s classic characters Philomena Cunk (Diane Morgan) and Barry Shitpeas (Al Campbell), who eagerly chipped in their moronic takes on COVID-19.

Fans of show took to Twitter to praise Brooker’s comeback, with one user describing the special as “the best bit of lockdown telly” seen so far, while another called for Antiviral Wipe to be included in the national history curriculum.

Standout moments for many viewers included Brooker’s “genius” nicknames for various member of the Cabinet, including “mega Womble” Boris Johnson, “Apprentice semi-finalist” Rishi Sunak and Chief Medical Office Chris Whitty, who was described as “a sad Doctor resembling Tintin, prematurely aged after watching his dog drown”.

However, Matt Hancock’s moniker – “Peter Pandemic” – was by far the most talked about, with one viewer noting: “I nearly choked on my wine.”

Other satisfied fans were pleased with Brooker’s no-holds-barred approach, praising the comedian’s “spot-on” take on the current state of the world. “Finally someone who speaks with the cynicism and rage I feel every day,” one viewer wrote.

A few viewers were happy to see ex-Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, who married Brooker in 2010, during the special and also to see her credited for behind-the-scenes work.

Fans welcomed Philomena Cunk back with open arms, with the character popping up throughout the special and presenting her own “moments of wonder” segment at the end of the show. Viewers loved her interview with a vaccine-developing scientist, with one user describing it has having “made [his] night”.


Fans were generally delighted with Brooker’s COVID-19 return, with some calling for another series. You can read what we thought of Antiviral Screenwipe here.

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