Charlie Brooker: Virtual Masterclass

16 April, 2020

On Wednesday 8th April, almost 100 Screen and Film School students, staff and alumni welcomed television legend Charlie Brooker to join us for an in-depth Student Takeover Masterclass

For over two hours we tried to ask as many of the 120 questions submitted to him as possible in this hilarious and insightful virtual masterclass. We were hoping to be joined by Annabel Jones too, however, due to unforeseen circumstances she couldn’t be there – but we’ll welcome her back another time!

Throughout Charlie’s TV career he has been called a soothsayer, with many people suggesting that he ‘predicted’ some of the stranger events of the last decade, and he is best known for creating sci-fi anthology Black Mirror and horror drama Dead Set, as well as co-writing Nathan Barley with Chris Morris and presenting Screenwipe series.

We received so many fantastic questions for Charlie, ranging from inspiration tips for writers to his thoughts on the progression of satire now that the world is looking like something from Brass Eye, as well as discussing the development of individual Black Mirror episodes all the way through to his appearance in Sniper Elite 3. We didn’t get through all 120 questions, but we’ve included some below, as well as the full video!

What is the process of developing a landscape in your script to then choosing a location? – Beccy (staff)

Sometimes it’s very clear from the script where it should be set but sometimes, we make a big left turn. For instance, Crocodile, was set in Scotland in the original script – it was all specifically set in Scotland because we were trying to give it a different flavour to some of our other episodes. Then Netflix said, “What do you think about Iceland?” so we got location people involved. They came in and came up with lots of locations in Iceland to film so we did that! In the story, we didn’t change anything – we didn’t say where it was set, we just shot it in Iceland.

Do you see a future in interactive television, or do you see it as a one-off tool that you’re probably not going to try to do again? Do you see it as something there’s potential in? – Gabriel (current student)

There is a lot of potential – it really depends. It is laborious to make, and we encountered all sorts of issues – it’s not without its challenges. There are lots of other things you can do with it and I think there will be more of it. It’s never going to supplant regular storytelling but I think as a genre, like musicals or westerns, it will become its own thing as more people get to grips with it.


A huge thank you to Charlie and all of our staff, students, and alumni for making this masterclass one to remember. We can’t wait to welcome Charlie Brooker to Screen and Film School in the future!

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