Charlton “Charlie” Brooker (born 3 March 1971) is an English humourist, critic, author, screenwriter, producer, and television presenter. He is the creator and co-showrunner of the anthology series Black Mirror and has written for programmes such as Brass Eye, The 11 O’Clock Show, and Nathan Barley. He has presented a number of television shows, including Screenwipe, Gameswipe, Newswipe, Weekly Wipe, and 10 O’Clock Live. He also wrote the five-part horror drama Dead Set. He has written comment pieces for The Guardian and is one of four creative directors of the production company Zeppotron.
Charlton Brooker was born on 3 March 1971 in Reading, Berkshire. He grew up in a relaxed Quaker household in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Oxfordshire. He first worked as a writer and cartoonist for Oink!, a comic produced in the late 1980s. After attending Wallingford School, he attended the Polytechnic of Central London (which became the University of Westminster during his time there), studying for a BA in Media Studies. He claims that he did not graduate because his dissertation was written on video games, which was not an acceptable topic. Brooker listed his comedic influences as Monty Python, The Young Ones, Blackadder, Chris Morris, and Vic Reeves.
From 1999 to 2000, Brooker played hooded expert ‘the Pundit’ in the short-lived show Games Republic, hosted by Trevor and Simon on BSkyB.
In 2000, Brooker was one of the writers of the Channel 4 show The 11 O’Clock Show and a co-host (with Gia Milinovich) on BBC Knowledge’s The Kit, a low-budget programme dedicated to gadgets and technology (1999-2000). In 2001, he was one of several writers on Channel 4’s Brass Eye special on the subject of paedophilia.
In 2003, Brooker wrote an episode entitled “How to Watch Television” for Channel 4’s The Art Show. The episode was presented in the style of a public information film and was partly animated.
Together with Brass Eye’s Chris Morris, Brooker co-wrote the sitcom Nathan Barley, based on a character from one of TVGoHome’s fictional programmes. The show was broadcast in 2005 and focused on the lives of a group of London media ‘trendies’. The same year, he was also on the writing team of the Channel 4 sketch show Spoons, produced by Zeppotron.
In 2006, Brooker began writing and presenting the television series Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe on BBC Four, a TV review programme in a similar style to his Screen Burn columns in The Guardian. After an initial pilot series of three editions in April, the programme returned later in the year for a second run of four episodes plus Christmas and Review of the Year specials in December 2006. A third series followed in February 2007 with a fourth broadcast in September 2007, followed by a Review of the Year in December 2007. The fifth series started in November 2008 and was followed by another Review of the Year special. This series was also the first to be given a primetime repeat on terrestrial television (BBC Two), in January 2009.
In December 2011, three episodes of Brooker’s Black Mirror, a science fiction anthology series, aired on Channel 4 to largely positive reviews. As well as creating the show, Brooker wrote the first episode and co-wrote the second with his wife Konnie Huq. He also wrote all three episodes of series two. In September 2015, Netflix commissioned a third season of 12 episodes, with Channel 4 losing the rights to the programme A trailer for the third season was released in October 2016. This was later split into two series of six episodes. The third season was released on Netflix worldwide on 21 October 2016. Brooker has solely written four of the episodes in series three, and has co-written the remaining two.
Beginning on 11 May 2010, Brooker presented a 5-part BBC Radio 4 series celebrating failure titled So Wrong It’s Right, in which guests compete to pitch the worst possible ideas for new franchises and give the ‘most wrong’ answer to a question. Also featured are guests’ recollections about their own personal life failures and their complaints about life in general in a round called ‘This Putrid Modern Hell’. Guests have included David Mitchell, Lee Mack, Josie Long, Frank Skinner, Helen Zaltzman, Holly Walsh, Graham Linehan and Richard Herring. The second series began on 10 March 2011, and a third was broadcast in May 2012. In common with Screenwipe’s use of a Grandaddy track (A.M. 180) from the album Under the Western Freeway as its theme tune, So Wrong It’s Right uses another track from the same album, Summer Here Kids.