Last night saw Charlie Brooker back on screen with Weekly Wipe, the ultimate evolution (so far) of the -wipe franchise, seen so far in Screenwipe, Newswipe and Gameswipe flavours. Here, Brooker takes on any and all from the media/news/events spectrum - in short, it's a vehicle for him to simply talk about whatever he wants.
And whenever Charlie Brooker launches a project, long-term fans such as myself start wishing he'd cut outthis newfangled stuff and make another BBC4 show where he sits alone and rants at a TV. So, now that he's making a direct sequel to those shows, are we finally happy?
Brooker Vs WorldWell, yeah. For those of us who live for Brooker's annual reviews of the year, this is basically a weekly one of those. Mostly monologues, Brooker lambasting any passing targets without having to worry about fitting it into a single theme. It's basically the show you wish he could make every single week of the year, although I imagine it takes far too long for that to be sane.
Wipe regulars Barry Shitpeas and Doug Stanhope return, even the sofa-in-the-glare-of-the-TV setting is back. If you're grumpy because Brooker has been too busy hanging out with celebrity pals on 10 O'Clock Live or indulging his Proper Writer Of Drama dreams (see those in a couple of weeks when Black Mirror returns!), this could be what you've been waiting for. Enjoy, I know I did.
You Have Been Wiping?Indeed, the one segment that felt odd was the film-review-with-guests section, hitting an odd sweet spot of too short to really get going, yet weirdly long as well. The camera angles didn't help, constantly going obtuse and making it hard for the conversation to seem natural, and as You Have Been Watching kinda showed us, panel-leader isn't necessarily Brooker's strongest area. Perhaps after a few minutes of solid monologues from various contributors, trying to get a discussion going was too jarring.
Still, they can always refine that part. It's easy to focus on the complaint, but this was four minutes out of an otherwise good show. The rest of Weekly Wipe zigged nicely between Brooker's mockery and more in-depth pieces on serious issues, which is what I've been wanting from the annual review for literal years. Great work.Brooker fans should be happy with this, and if you can't stand him... your decision to watch it in the first place baffles me.
Oh, he did use two Value Burger jokes though. Tsk. So, what did you think? Best hardcore Brooker show in years, or disappointment?
Weekly Wipe airs Thursdays at 10PM on BBC Two. There's a BBC official website and the first episode is unsurprisingly up on iPlayer. Now, as the man always says, go away.