Charlie Brooker quotes:

  • In many ways, Big Brother is the present day equivalent of a 1980s Club 18-30 Holiday - flirting, sunbathing, silly little organised games, and lots of people you'd like to remove from the genepool with a cricket bat.

  • Whenever I tell people I'm a misanthrope they react as though that's a bad thing, the idiots. I live in London, for God's sake. Have you walked down Oxford Street recently? Misanthropy's the only thing that gets you through it. It's not a personality flaw, it's a skill.

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which is a pity because this week the National Association of Beholders wrote to tell me that I've got a face like a rucksack full of dented bells.

  • The iPad falls between two stools - not quite a laptop, not quite a smartphone. In other words, it's the spork of the electronic consumer goods world.

  • At the other end of the spectrum, George Gideon Oliver King Rameses Osborne, the fourteen-year-old novelty Chancellor and future baronet of Ballentaylor and Ballylemon - a man so posh he probably weeps champagne.

  • Don't accuse anyone with the temerity to question your sad supernatural fantasies of having a 'closed mind' or being 'blind to possibilities'. A closed mind asks no questions, unthinkingly accepting that which it wants to believe. The blindness is all yours."[17

  • Everyone had clearly spent far too long perfecting their appearance. I used to feel intimidated by people like this; now I see them as walking insecurity beacons, slaves to the perceived judgment of others, trapped within a self- perpetuating circle of crushing status anxiety.

  • Society? Can we trust us? Doubt it. We're probably not even real, as was revealed in the popular documentary The Matrix. That bloke next door? Made of pixels. Your co-workers? Pixels. You? One pixel. One measly pixel. You haven't even got shoes, for Christ's sake.

  • Women - why aren't you running the world yet? Frankly I'm disappointed in you. Men are still far too dominant for their own good, and consequently we've made a testosterone-sodden pig's ear of just about everything: politics, the economy, religion, the environment ... you name it, it's in a gigantic man-wrought mess.

  • I'm somewhat socially inept. Slide me between two strangers at any light-hearted jamboree and I'll either rock awkwardly and silently on my heels, or come out with a stone-cold conversation-killer like, "This room's quite rectangular, isn't it?" I glide through the social whirl with all the elegance of a dog in high heels

  • When you're being earnest, people think you're being sarcastic and when you're being sarcastic, they think you're being earnest. The moral in all this, of course, is that people should never attempt to communicate.

  • I think more and more people became aware that social media was starting to feel like a more toxic space. And, I mean - quite a lot of incidents of people getting very, very angry about all kinds of things and attacking people.

  • Online you're encouraged to perform one personality for everyone.

  • Whenever anything nice happens in the world I always expect something appalling to happen immediately afterwards.

  • The biggest teenage taboo is being strait-laced. It's easy to tell a researcher you went to a house party that turned into an orgy. It's less easy to say you like eating toast and watching QI.

  • Man the lifeboats. The idiots are winning.

  • The difference between smartphones and cigarettes is this: a cigarette robs 10 minutes from your lifespan, but at least has the decency to wait and withdraw all that time in bulk as you near the end of your life - whereas a smartphone steals your time in the present moment, by degrees. Five minutes here. Five minutes there. Then you look up and you're 85 years old.

  • I'm convinced no one actually likes clubs. It's a conspiracy. We've been told they're cool and fun; that only saddoes dislike them. And no one in our pathetic little pre-apocalyptic timebubble wants to be labelled sad - it's like being officially declared worthless by the state. So we muster a grin and go out on the town in our millions.

  • One of the benefits of aligning yourself with an indistinct cluster of people is that claiming to feel their pain is often enough.

  • That's not something that we've gone in thinking 'Right! How are we going to examine that now?' It's just when you take a step back you see that they're actually all sort of in that mode.

  • Seriously, if I switched on the TV and they were showing live footage of an army of fire-breathing pterodactyls machine-gunning people to death on the streets of London right outside my door, I'd be horrified, but not entirely surprised, nor any more scared than I already am. I'd probably just shrug and wait for them to smash the door down. We're so screwed, I don't even know what to worry about first.

  • I did once leave one of [my kid] watching something on YouTube, something completely innocuous, and I went out of the room and the algorithm kept playing the next thing and the next thing and somehow worked its way around to showing him the trailer for John Carpenter's The Thing - at which point I walked back in. He wasn't happy.

  • I'm not some anti-technology person. I think it's often how people would assume that if they don't know me.

  • the news might be single-handedly trying to bring about an environmental catastrophe, which it will then report on. Super injunctions are interesting legal weapons really, they don't just gag the press, they gag them from mentioning the existence of the gag. Sport belongs in a news bulletin about as much as a mummified cat's head belongs in a Caesar salad. Combine the "mounting pressure" with the "growing cause" and you've got yourself a "media whirlwind" which you can also refer to.

  • People gravitate towards their own era, nostalgia therapy is a real thing that's being tinkered with.

  • I'm convinced no one actually likes clubs. It's a conspiracy. We've been told they're cool and fun; that only "saddoes" dislike them. And no one in our pathetic little pre-apocalyptic timebubble wants to be labelled "sad" - it's like being officially declared worthless by the state. So we muster a grin and go out on the town in our millions.

  • [British television series] Hammer House of Horror. I used to really enjoy these one-off stories where often there would be an incredibly cruel twist. A good example is the episode with Burgess Meredith and there's a nuclear war and he drops his glasses. To this day, you can show that to anyone and they'll go "Bwrrrrrrrr!" You know, sort of wander away shuddering.

  • In summary, our world is doomed.

  • Creationists reject Darwin's theory of evolution on the grounds that it is just a theory. This is a valid criticism: evolution is indeed merely a theory, albeit one with ten billion times more credence than the theory of creationism - although, to be fair, the theory of creationism is more than just a theory. It's also a fairy story. And children love fairy stories, which is presumably why so many creationists are keen to have their whimsical gibberish taught in schools.

  • Many people find bald, unvarnished truths so disturbing, they prefer to ram their heads in the sand and start dreaming at the first sign of scientific reality.

  • I mean, sometimes we do do that, The National Anthem was a caustic satire and sometimes that's the way to go with the story rather than me being particularly misanthropic.

  • If love were a product, the queue at the faulty goods desk would stretch right round the universe and back. It doesn't work properly. The seams come apart and it's full of powdered glass.

  • Hi-def is merely the latest in a string of evolutional leaps that have transformed the way we sit slumped in front of a box wishing we were dead.

  • What happens often is the script is written and once the director comes on board you have lots of conversations and it mutates again.

  • proper work" usually involves performing a task you hate on behalf of people you'd gleefully club to death with a bull's knee if only it were legal to do so

  • [Worshipping God] is like fellating someone who intermittently stubs fags out on your head for no good reason. And we all know how unsatisfying that can be.

  • Your grades are not your destiny: they're just letters and numbers which rate how well you performed in one artificial arena, once.

  • Things like social media and the Internet, of course, it's not going away. There is no cure for it. And this shouldn't be just like there shouldn't be, you know - it would have been a tragedy if there was a cure for the printing press. I think it's just that it's an amazing tool that we as a - as an animal are just getting to grips with because it's like we've grown a new ultra powerful limb and we're learning how to use it.

  • I've instinctively hated the Tories since birth.

  • Being slagged off is good for you. It thickens the skin and strengthens the backbone.

  • I actually had that conversation with [Channel 4 Chief Creative Officer] Jay Hunt. We were at a bit of a crisis point. I'd written a totally different script - about war, basically - that got rejected at the last minute for various reasons. The whole of the series was in doubt. I said, "Well, there is one other idea [ "National Anthem"]."

  • Technology is a global thing and wherever you go, people are prodding the same devices and worrying in the same way and have had their lives slightly altered in the same way.

  • [The rumor that David Cameron maybe once did this unspeakable thing with a pig's head] it was freakish and weird. It seemed such a coincidence that I couldn't quite process it. And then, as it sank in, I genuinely had the thought, "Am I living in a Truman Show sort of VR simulation designed to send me insane?"

  • I've always had a bad attention span.

  • You sort of perform your personality, I guess, to everyone on some level.

  • Most of the books I read these days are children's books at bedtime.

  • I'm terrible at reading fiction. I don't have the attention span - it's awful.

  • [One of my kids ]is not named after Aldous Huxley. I haven't even read Brave New World!

  • I pitched Jay Hunt the opening scene (prime minister, middle of the night, he's woken up...). She paused, and then she laughed. She was very intrigued and all that, and then she said, "Does it have to be a pig?" So we went through various options: Could it be a supermarket frozen chicken? A giant wheel of cheese? A pig seemed just the right level of absurd, but then when he walks in and there's actually a pig there, it's awful.

  • As long as we've still got crazy "what if" ideas, we can continue [Black Mirror]. It's outpacing reality that's probably the challenge.

  • It's interesting, in the U.K., I'm known for doing comedy things, which often doesn't translate to the U.S.

  • When you look at things like social media, that's an immensely powerful tool that I'm all in favor of. I think it's amazing. It's a powerful tool, and it's one that we're, as a species, still grappling with learning to use. It's like we've grown an extra tail and we inadvertently lash out and knock over all of the furniture.

  • My theory is that we used to have several personalities, and now we're encouraged to have one online.

  • I kept saying I want to do an episode that's set in the past, how do we do a period episode of Black Mirror? And simultaneously there was another idea we were thinking about and the two things sort of gelled and became San Junipero.

  • When I was a chain smoker, I used to wake up and the first thing I'd do was reach for a cigarette, basically. And now I do the same thing for a smartphone, basically.

  • What are people going to expect when they sit down to watch a new episode of Black Mirror? And what you're going to expect is somebody with a translucent TV in a drone strike and a robot walking by... or frowning at a phone and going 'aaah! Oh no! I've just deleted my own leg!' or whatever. So I thought well, let's not do that.

  • Most writers or performers walk around with the notion in their head that - a paranoid worry that maybe people don't like them.

  • I really don't want to sound like overly negative or critical of the Internet in general because I'm actually really quite pro-technology.

  • [My parents when I was a kid] would go, "It's a nice hot day. Why are you inside watching the TV?" And you go, "Well, 'cause it's better?"

  • I grew up in the countryside . But there's a danger of us romanticizing that. Because when I was a kid in 1982, that's what my parents were saying to me about television and comics and computer games!

  • I'm more pro-technology than people probably realize.

  • My continuum? Blimey! For me,Black Mirror is all part of the whole.

  • Often the ideas in the show start out as ideas that make you laugh - outrageous "what if" ideas. I wanted an outlet for doing those.

  • I saw The Twilight Zone for the first time when I was 12 or 13. I used to stay up late to watch.

  • I was more aware initially of shows like Tales of the Unexpected. And the BBC used to put on a lot of one-off, bizarre television plays.

  • It's a barrel of laughs, isn't it? It makes The Day After look like friggin'...insert name of cheerful thing here. It was one of the things that made me really worry about worst-case scenarios. There's something impish and probably somewhat therapeutic about thinking about those things.

  • The logic for me, in writing it is that the different areas or different years are almost like different rooms.

  • You don't have the economy of scale of building a set once and casting once. You blow up the world, basically, at the end of each episode.

  • My kids are very young. I'm sure there's a world of horror for me to worry about as they get older.

  • Our four-year-old, like a lot of kids, you introduce him to an iPad and he quite quickly gets drawn in in a way that you're like, "Wow, I've got to stage an intervention here." He picked up on gaming terminology really quickly. If you say, "Keep practicing holding a pencil and see if you can draw a letter, the alphabet," he understands that if you do that you've unlocked Level Two.

  • "National Anthem" was just a funny idea I'd been knocking about. I initially thought about a beloved celebrity having to do that - and then I watched an episode of 24. In my head, I was writing almost a parody of a 24-style president woken in the middle of the night with a crisis. It seemed more interesting to play it ultrastraight and to have the viewer's initial reaction be one of laughter and disbelief - and just have the whole thing become progressively more uncomfortable.

  • What we were also trying to do is vary the tone slightly across the season of Black Mirror, because there are six stories this time around, so you don't want it to just be the devastating, bleak-em-up.

  • I'm actually quite pro-technology, but I'm a worrier, so I like to envision worst-case scenarios.

  • I tried to be all intellectual and erudite and with others I'd just swear and curse and be an idiot. And suddenly, when they're all in one space, I don't know who I am.

  • We take things that would have struck us as miraculous five years ago for granted. Like Pokémon Go would have been insane, and now it's just like, "Oh, okay."

  • I'm known as being a massive dweeb who's into video games and so on.

  • I'm trying to think overall. Some of our stories [Black Mirror], I think you're right in that they don't tend to have a message.

  • Men Against Jive is a brilliant title! That's a military story, that's a difficult one to explain really because that's sort of a war... it's not just a war story.

  • Overall, looking at the stories [Black Mirror], almost every story we've ever done is concerned with authenticity or reality in some way.

  • Generally I know that we've hit on a good idea if there's a moment where I'm going "HA HA HA!" because that's usually my starting point, me laughing.

  • In Britain people might know me more for my comedy writing background, things like that.

  • Technology isn't the villain and the people aren't often really the villain so much as they're weak.

  • [Black Mirror] is always about unforeseen consequences and unforeseen problems, it's not usually that someone's created a machine that they want to enslave mankind with, it's someone's invented a new kind of... paperweight that enslaves mankind.

  • Obviously, you try not to repeat yourself so that forces you to re-evaluate what you're doing constantly [in Black Mirror].

  • What is useful about when there is a sort of pull-out to reveal moment going on is that it actually focuses the mind when you're writing the earlier scenes because you're thinking 'right, how do I? I can only show this amount of the room... I can only show these characters from the waist up because they've all got robot legs!' it's a challenge so it keeps you engaged on some level.

  • In a weird way, when everyone's feeling that the world's going to hell in a hand basket, I kind of relax a little more because I often feel like that.

  • I am neurotic, and I'm a worrier.

  • While I was thinking about that, the military, I read a book called On Killing, about the obstacles people have to pulling the trigger in combat. So sometimes you just absorb all this stuff without realizing you were doing research.

  • My wife made me watch this documentary about the Iraq War, and there was a really powerful moment where they followed some civilian whose family had been killed. This was 5 or 10 minutes of this woman talking, and it was extremely arresting. You realize how you never hear from the person on the receiving end of a war without a reporter stepping in to compartmentalize the story. Usually they're just a few shots at the end of a news report, wailing and screaming at a funeral.

  • "Be Right Back," in which Hayley Atwell brings Domhnall Gleeson back from the dead using his social-media profile, sprang out of an unrelated conversation. Other stories you thrash away at for weeks and weeks.

  • In comedy writing, a sitcom plot is basically the same thing: What's the worst thing that could happen? But you're playing it for comic effect. It's a similar muscle being used with Black Mirror.

  • I would say the thing you can still see in Black Mirror is that I was probably traumatized by the specter of nuclear war. I was born in 1971, and in the '80s I came to understand that I was inevitably going to be frazzled to death in the nuclear apocalypse.

  • I wasn't really aware they were a religious organization for quite some time. But my grandparents were very devout and ran a Quaker meetinghouse and were missionaries at one point.

  • Am I living in a simulation?

  • I think overseas viewers assume that Black Mirror is written by the Unabomber, essentially - a Ludd­ite, technology-hating, angry old man waving his fist at the App Store.

  • I'm quite geeky and I'm very much into video games and technology and stuff like that.

  • I'm a worrier. In the UK, if I'm known for anything, it's sort of for being cynical.

  • 'Waldo' was one episode I always felt I didn't quite crack. And weirdly, now that feels like one of the more prescient ones.

  • A sort of angry populism here in the UK and across Europe, a sort of anti-political mood and what then steps into that place? In one episode [of Black Mirror] you won't have seen, there's a very simple gaming gadget that turns out to be a monstrous idea, which I suspect we will end up doing for real.

  • I think people are starting to look away and questioning, and they're sort of horrified.

  • I'll just immediately automatically, without even thinking, check my phone. And it feels like the same little bit of my brain is being - the synapses are lighting up when I do that.

  • Technology by default became the thing that was a new thing that had swept in and was altering it everything.

  • There's something I find very satisfying about a nice ironic twist.

  • In the U.K. I'm probably better known as a comedy writer - or certainly that's my background is in writing comedy.

  • I could worry about pretty much anything you put in front of me, so I'm not actually sort of anti-technology. So it doesn't sort of come out of that. It's not like a fear of the future. It's a fear of everything.

  • I could worry that I'm going to bleed to death, you know, from cutting my finger on a sandwich packet, you know, if I sort of open a sandwich.

  • I can worry about anything.

  • I suppose kids probably know less boredom these days - or at least a different kind of boredom.

  • I think somebody's marketing a thing that Hoovers up your Twitter and it will continue tweeting for you after you're dead. I have no idea whether they saw "Be Right Back" or not.

  • On the other hand [making a string of one-off episodes], there's a real freedom, because you're kind of reinventing the show every week.