Charlie Brooker

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Charlie Brooker in 2011

Charlton "Charlie" Brooker (born 3 March 1971) is a satirist, TV critic, TV presenter and columnist for the UK's Guardian newspaper.


  • Hello, I'm Charlie Brooker and you're watching Screenwipe, a programme all about television.
    • Introductory message on every episode of Screenwipe, usually said in an odd way (for example, with Brooker slapping himself as he says it).
  • Well, babies are notoriously foul-mouthed. [shot of Charlie pointing at a doll] This one just called Derek a prick!
    • Screenwipe S2E2
    • On Derek Ogilvy, the "Baby Mind Reader", apparently reading a baby's mind and finding it is swearing
  • Oh good, this is hardly ever on.
    • Screenwipe S2E1
    • While watching a Frosties advert, famous for being shown almost constantly
  • So whose side is it on, is it on Anthea's side or is it on human kind side? Well the answer is it's on nobody's side but its own; it's a TV program, it's just gonna sneer at everyone because that's what TV programs do they sneer and sometimes they just roll around slapping their bums! (rolls about pointing his buttocks at the camera and slapping them whilst grunting "Nuh, nuh!") On the sofa, because they're so bloody, fucking pleased with themselves.
    • Screenwipe series 1 episode 3 on Anthea Turner's "Perfect Housewife" and TV programs in general.
  • Balls to aspiration, it's a tosser's mirage.
    • Screenwipe S2E1
    • Discussing "aspirational" programming and its ill effects
  • Now, as an embittered cynic, I should be almost programmed to vomit all over the screen at the mere sight of this, but instead, I find it strangely moving. You see, as I stare into their happy smiling faces filled with naive joie de vivre, I know they're just blissfully unaware of the crushing despair that awaits them as they venture further into adulthood. The myriad disappointments, the yawning chasms of pain, the slow gnawing descent into physical decay, the sheer unrelenting horror of it all.
  • At first glance, My Super Sweet 16 appears to be a sugary bit of reality drizzle about some irritating American brats, but the more you watch it the more you realize it’s actually a stonehearted exposé of everything that’s wrong with our faltering so-called civilization.
  • Each episode follows an unbelievably spoiled rich and tiny sod as they prepare to throw a despicably opulent coming of age party for themselves and their squealing shitcake friends.
  • Actually, I think this might be an Al-Qaeda recruitment film.
  • Fortunately for whining snotface, the party itself goes with a bang. She enters looking every inch the cosseted flesh-waste she is, and her and her nauseating idiot scumbag friends celebrate into the night: dancing, shrieking, acting like pillocks, and generally making you feel like getting down on your knees and praying for a nuclear holocaust.
  • 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.
    • Screenwipe S4E1
  • ...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.
    • S2E5
  • ...I haven't seen so many dirty snouts, and slimy arseholes crammed into such a small space since I last looked inside a sausage.
    • S2E6
  • Newspapers chiefly exist to spooned the opinions of their readers back to them, much like an arse to mouth hosepipe.
    • 2013 Wipe

Guardian columns

  • One of the side-effects of having your work appear in a public forum such as this is that people often email me asking for advice on how to break into writing, presumably figuring that if a drooling gum-brain like me can scrape a living witlessly pawing at a keyboard, there's hope for anyone.
  • The original cut of Ridley Scott's recent retelling of the Robin Hood legend contained a puzzling interlude during which Russell Crowe recited the URL for a pornographic website. The scene was dropped from the theatrical release at the last minute when it was discovered that a script supervisor had inadvertently pasted the contents of their clipboard into the script while trying to find the keyboard shortcut for "print".
  • As for me, I'm stuck in a loveless relationship with myself, the backseat driver who can't stop tutting and nagging. There's no escape from me's relentless criticism. Me even knows what I'm thinking, and routinely has a pop at Me for that. "You're worrying about your obsessive degree of self-criticism again," whines Me. "How pathetically solipsistic." And then it complains about its own bleating tone of voice and starts petulantly kicking the back of the seat, asking if we're there yet.
  • Until this week the one thing I knew about the Twilight saga was that it had vampires in it, which was enough to put me off. I didn't realise it was a romantic fantasy aimed at teenage girls. Turns out it's possible to be put off something twice before you've actually seen it.
  • In some quarters the films and books are lauded for their wholesome message, which is weird considering Bella is essentially deciding whether she'd rather shag a bat or a wolf. She's got zero interest in honest-to-goodness human-on-human action. No. It's magic farmyard creatures or nothing for her.
  • Fictional serial killers are usually more pretentious than frightening, perpetually quoting Milton or arranging their victims in poses designed to evoke the martyrdom of St Sebastian. What are you, a cold-blooded murderer or the controller of Radio 3?
  • Forgive my pants for remaining unshitten.
  • I'll stop calling it the iPhone right now. Instead, for the remainder of this article, it'll be known as the Jabscreen. A better name in any case.
  • But once I had a Jabscreen of my own, I soon discovered the novelty lasts six months, tops. There's a limit to how many conversations you can have about it before you reach burnout. Have you seen the app which takes your photo and makes it look like you're really fat? Yes. And the game where you land all the planes on the runway? Yes, that too. Hey, how about this thing with the funny red monster that repeats everything you say? Please leave me. Please just leave me here to die.
  • Thoughtfully, just as Jabscreen owners everywhere were running out of apps to compare – and, by extension, anything to talk about – the nice droids at Apple Castle gifted them a whole new branch of conversation: the launch of the Jabscreen 4, which apparently is miles better than a regular Jabscreen, although no one can really explain why. Its most impressive feature is this: simply by existing, it suddenly makes your existing Olde Worlde vanilla Jabscreen seem rubbish. How can you enjoy sliding the little icons around on your Jabscreen 3 when you know that if you had a Jabscreen 4, those very same icons would be slightly sharper? The answer is you can't.
  • Even if the Jabscreen 4 was reportedly biting users' ears off and spitting them into a ditch, every Jabscreen 3 user is going to wind up buying one anyway.
  • Modern 3D cinema technology works by ensuring your left eye sees one image while your right sees another. But they could, presumably, issue one pair of specs comprising two left-eye lenses (for children to wear), and another with two right-eye lenses (for adults). This would make it possible for parents to take their offspring to the cinema and watch two entirely different films at the same time. So while the kiddywinks are being placated by an animated CGI doodle about rabbits entering the Winter Olympics or something, their parents will be bearing witness to some apocalyptically degrading pornography. The tricky thing would be making the soundtracks match. Those cartoon rabbits would have to spend a lot of time slapping their bellies and moaning.
    • The Guardian 15 February 2010. [5]
  • I usually quite like women, but this advert makes me want to kill about 900 of them with my bare hands. It ends with the tiresome ladettes marching down a high street triumphantly singing the Here Come the Girls song out loud, like an invading squadron tormenting the natives with its war cry. Next year they'll probably be armed. Fear this.
    • The Guardian 16 November 2009. [6]
  • The insomniac brain comes in various flavours; different personality types you're forced to share your skull with for several hours. It's like being trapped in a lift with someone who won't shut up. Sometimes your companion is a peppy irritant who passes the time by humming half- remembered TV theme tunes until 7am. Other times it's a morose critic who has recently compiled a 1,500-page report on your innumerable failings and wants to run over it with you a few times before going to print. Worst of all is the hyper-aware sportscaster who offers an uninterrupted commentary describing which bits of your body are currently the least comfortable. No matter where you put that leg, he won't be satisfied. And he's convinced you've got one arm too many.
    • The Guardian 26 October 2009. [7]
  • ...The result is the most nauseating display of artificial camaraderie since the horrific Doritos "Friendchips" TV campaign (which caused 50,000 people to kill themselves in 2003, or should have done).[1]
    • The,28 August 2009
    • On Microsoft's Windows 7 Launch Party ad campaign
  • The second Transformers movie came out this year. I didn't fight for a ticket. I'd caught the first one by accident. It was like being pinned to the ground while an angry dishwasher shat in your face for two hours. Any human dumb enough to voluntarily sit through a second helping of that unremitting fecal spew really ought to just get up and leave the planet via the nearest window before their continued presence does lasting damage to the gene pool.
    • The Guardian, 3 August, 2009 [8]
  • The only other thing I've noticed is some kind of acute muscular spasm in my neck and left shoulder, and that's hardly entertaining, except maybe for the bit where the doctor rather brilliantly prescribed me diazepam so I necked some and walked very slowly around the Westfield shopping centre listening to Henry Mancini's Pink Panther theme on repeat on an MP3 player, smiling eerily at shoppers.
    • The Guardian 9 February 2009. [9]
  • President Barack Obama. President Barack Obama. Nope, still can't get used to it. It's literally too good to be true. I must've died in my sleep and am now having an insane fantasy pumped into my head by the Matrix. Any minute now Salma Hayek is going to float through the door with a tray of biscuits and I'll know the game's up.
  • Darwin's theory of evolution was simple, beautiful, majestic and awe-inspiring. But because it contradicts the allegorical babblings of a bunch of made-up old books, it's been under attack since day one. That's just tough luck for Darwin. If the Bible had contained a passage that claimed gravity is caused by God pulling objects toward the ground with magic invisible threads, we'd still be debating Newton with idiots too.
    • The Guardian 2 August 2008. [11]
  • Man the lifeboats. The idiots are winning.
  • If this strikes you as a trivial subject to write about, you're wrong. Really. Bollocks to the rest of you. I could've sat through live 3D news footage of some gruesome bloody war, watching starving women and children being machine gunned in the face by Terminator rebels, and I'd have just shrugged. So what. Stop crying. They're only bullets. Try having my throat. Try some genuine suffering, you pussies.
    • The Guardian 28 July 2008. [13]
  • I hate Macs. I have always hated Macs. I hate people who use Macs. I even hate people who don't use Macs but sometimes wish they did. Macs are glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults; computers for scaredy cats too nervous to learn how proper computers work; computers for people who earnestly believe in feng shui.
  • If you truly believe you need to pick a mobile phone that "says something" about your personality, don't bother. You don't have a personality. A mental illness, maybe - but not a personality.
  • I'm quite hardcore on this. I think every psychic and medium in this country belongs in prison. Even the ones demented enough to believe in what they're doing. In fact, especially them. Give them windowless cells and make them crap in buckets.
  • God has far better things to do than creating self-important little species such as ours. He's got wars, deaths, disasters and diseases to ignore for starters. And a fair bit of not-exist-ing-at-all to be getting on with.
    • The Guardian, 4 December 2006, When it comes to psychics, my stance is hardcore: they must die alone in windowless cells [15]
  • It's a rum state of affairs when you feel like punching a jar of mayonnaise in the face.
  • 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."[16]
    • The Guardian, 4 December 2006, When it comes to psychics, my stance is hardcore: they must die alone in windowless cells [17]
  • You can't press a button to make Phil Mitchell jump over a turtle and land on a cloud (unless you've recently ingested a load of military-grade hallucinogens, in which case you can also make him climb inside his own face and start whistling colours).
  • If you're hell-bent on making your bank look and sound like a simpleton, a desk labelled Travel Money is still a bit too formal. Why not call it Oooh! Look at the Funny Foreign Banknotes instead? And accompany it with a doodle of a French onion-seller riding a bike, with a little black beret on his head and a baguette up his arse and a speech bubble saying, "Zut Alors! Here is where you gettez les Francs!"
    • The Guardian, 6 November 2006, The banks are coming over all chummy. It's nauseating [19]
    • On Barclays' rebranding in an attempt to make themselves appear less stuffy
  • 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.
    • The Guardian, 25 August 2006, Supposing... It's time to smother romance in its sleep [20]
  • On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?

Big Brother

  • Anyway, Big Brother 7: that was that. Big Brother 8 is scheduled to take place in the glowing centre of an irradiated war-torn wasteland formerly known as Earth. See you there.
  • The BB house works as a kind of twat amplifier, you see. Once harnessed within, someone who in normal life would merely strike me as a bit of a git quickly swells in negative stature, eventually coming to symbolise everything I hate about our cruel and godless universe.
  • 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.

Screen Burn

  • 2007 is going to be the best year ever made. All wars will end. We'll cure cancer and Aids - twice. In February it'll rain banknotes for a week. In July, rabbits will learn to talk. Better still, they'll tell jokes - hilarious jokes, jokes you don't need to be a rabbit to appreciate, jokes offering a fresh, rabbity perspective on human foibles, making us unite as one, laugh at ourselves and frig each other off for the sheer joyous hell of it. In December, we'll make contact with a benevolent race of aliens who shit chocolate and piss lemonade.
  • Right now, the theme is "Sex In The 80s", which must've been an exceptionally hard sell round Channel 4 towers. Mullets! Tits! Duran Duran! More tits! Bigger mullets! Ha ha ha! All you need is a few seconds of voiceover babble about "changing attitudes" and "social upheaval" laid over the top and hey presto: you've justified everything. It's not just a load of tit shots - it's a sociological investigation. With tit shots.
  • I won't get over that in a hurry: my least favourite atrophied Hazel McWitch lookalike in the world, singing "I just want to make love to you", right there on primetime telly. She has to be the only person on Earth who can take a lyric like that and make it seem like a blood-curdling threat without changing any of the words.
  • A lot of people think right-wingers aren't capable of being amusing at all. Not true. Mussolini looked hilarious swinging from that lamppost.
  • Maybe you've put your faith in spiritual claptrap because our random, narrative-free universe terrifies you. But that's no solution. If you want comforting, suck your thumb. Buy a pillow. Don't make up a load of floaty blah about energy or destiny. This is the real world, stupid. We should be solving problems, not sticking our fingers in our ears and singing about fairies.
  • You could grind a dog's head and a shoe together into a paste and spoon-feed it to me, and I'd probably think it was chicken liver pate, provided I kept my eyes closed, and provided you plucked all the dog hair out beforehand, and provided you'd managed to find a pestle and mortar big enough to mash it all up in, and provided - look, it wouldn't be worth it. I'm just saying I can't taste anything. There's no need to get carried away. What's the matter with you? You're an idiot.
  • Early on, presenter Mark Evans observes that a snake is essentially just "one massive tube with a head at the end", which, coincidentally, is also how he might describe his genitals to an audience of blind women in a hypothetical situation I've just invented in which hen nights for the visually impaired are held in special strip clubs where naked men describe their bodies in time to disco music. For what it's worth, I don't know what I'm going on about, either.
  • The upper classes really shouldn't open their mouths on television. Whatever it is they're saying, all your brain actually hears is "Tra la la, I live in a bubble, tra la la, murder a fox, tra la la, Conde Nast Traveller, tra la la, Kensington High Street, tra la la." They should know their place and keep quiet.
  • Do you consider the pursuit and slaughter of animals for entertainment a God-given right, even though it clearly fucking isn't? Are you infuriated by the lack of local shops, even though their closure is a direct consequence of pricks like you going to Sainsbury's in your Land Rover every week? Does the paucity of rural buses, post offices and police stations enrage you, even though it was avaricious cunts like you voting the Tories in for 18 years that got these services into such a state in the first place? Do you think farmers should be granted further subsidies, even when both the BSE and Foot and Mouth debacles were largely a result of their grisly cost-cutting exercises? Do you think it's basically a class issue? You're right. It is. You're a bunch of chasm-gobbed Fauntleroys, and no-one feels in the slightest bit sorry for you - in fact the further you march, the louder we'll laugh, because you brought it all on yourselves.