Newest Review: ... show is performed by Brooker in voiceover, intercut with shots of him in his own flat watching TV programmes and commenting on them. His s... more
Charlie Brooker on TV - on TV
Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe
Member Name: cerys82
Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe
Advantages: Biting, articulate satire on television
Disadvantages: That its not on more often!
Screenwipe is a series in which Guardian TV columnist Brooker sets his scathing and acerbic wit on the TV of the moment.
Shown on BBC Four, over the course of several series and some 'year-end' reviews it has challenged conventional television programming and also tackled the sordidity and hypocrisy that takes place behind the scenes and in the output of television.
Brooker as a personality has really come to the fore in recent times, thanks mainly due to the popularity of his equally excellent but somewhat lighter in tone, late night Channel 4 show "You Have Been Watching" which has one some quite high profile television awards.
The layout of Screenwipe does tend to vary from episode to episode, sometimes each show is based around a theme - however mainly they are just highly skilled rants about the dumbing-down of television, particularly those which are touted as being primetime.
Most of the show is performed by Brooker in voiceover, intercut with shots of him in his own flat watching TV programmes and commenting on them.
His style is dark and aggressive, yet always impassioned and articulate - he has a very definite voice which anyone who has read his "screen burn" column (editions of which you can find on the Guardian website) will know what to expect. He reserves a particular level of scathing for advertising, and the transparent, manipulative tactics that are used.
The show itself is faced paced, zipping between lots of different styles. He also has a number of regular contributors, though these can change depending on which series you are watching. Most recently the show normally contains an animation which is particularly dark in tone. There is also a section by 'angry' American stand-up comedian Doug Hope and a specially commissioned poetry performance by 2009 Edinburgh Festival comedy main-prize winner - Tim Key.
Undercutting all of this, and making it the well-rounded programme that it is,is that Brooker is not afraid to give out praise where praise is due. If he loves a programme then he actively raves about it - it was initially through this show that I first heard about The Wire a few years ago when it was solely being shown on FX. Something that is worth particular mention is his tribute to Oliver Postgate, creator and writer of many popular 1970's children's TV programme such as Bagpuss and The Clangers. Shortly after Postgate's death in 2008, Brooker did an impassioned tribute to him and the breadth of the legacy that his work has left. If you can find it on You Tube I would recommend you watch it as it is written with obvious passion and admiration without being cloying, sentimental- a lot of TV producers could learn from this!
Increasingly in later series he has focussed some of his vitriol towards the manipulative tactics of the news, over here and in the US - particularly with the increased use of rolling news channels. This in turn has lead to Brooker being given his own show along the same lines called Newswipe, which I also highly recommend. He also did a one-off show about the state and history of one of his other passions - computer games entitled 'Gameswipe'.
In my view this is a very important programme, it cuts through all the faff and fakeness which is presented to us on a daily basis and shows jsut how potentially damaging it is. However it comes from the point of view of someone who has real passion for television and only criticises it because he knows that for the most part it could be so much better and beneficial to society. Through all of this it is highly intelligent, not to mention funny - there are few peole on TV who have such a wise but acid tongue as Brooker does and you cannot help but wonder what TV would be like if Brooker was a commissioning editor.
Many episodes are available on YouTube and I would strongly recommend that you watch them!
Summary: Charlie Brooker at his best!