As he releases the latest fruits of his new megabucks deal with Netflix – an interactive cartoon about a cat – the Black Mirror creator discusses gaming, nuclear war, and why his generation has wrecked the UK
Charlie Brooker is sitting at a desk, a big cardboard box in the background, miscellany spilling out of bookshelves. “What you can’t see,” he says, since we’re on Zoom, “is all the shit all over my desk. I’m shambolic.”
He got his first gig doing a comic strip when he was 15, for 80 quid a week; he dropped out of Westminster University as the only dissertation he wanted to write was on video games, and scrambled into a career in journalism – “there was no planning, I wasn’t somebody who was out hustling” – via working in a shop and writing video game reviews. He shifted, via Screenwipe, Gameswipe, Newswipe and Weekly Wipe, into screenwriting, and achieved astonishing success with the anthology series Black Mirror. His production company with Annabel Jones, Broke and Bones, has just been bought by Netflix for an unspecified sum; the rumour is that it’s so enormous that, well, I had to get out a calculator to work out what “nine figures” over five years means ($100,000,000). I just can’t wrap my head around why he still has Billy bookcases from Ikea.