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12th Jun 2018

Charlie Brooker breaks down whether or not Black Mirror all takes place in the same universe

Wil Jones

After ‘Back Museum’, there was a lot speculation

Netflix’s Black Mirror is one of the most vital and fascinating TV show of this generation. Not only is it very much about where we are as a society, and where we are going, it can also be funny, scary, heart-breaking, thrilling and mind-blowing in a way almost no other show is capable of.

And a lot of that is down to what makes it unique. It is an anthology show, which each episode being completely stand alone, introducing a new setting, with new characters every time. It’s a format that was common in the early days of TV, but has largely died out (even other examples like American Horror Story tend to tell a new story every season, not every episode).

However, in the final episode of the latest season, ‘Black Museum’ (very mild spoilers), Leitita Wright’s character visits an attraction filled with items and references to previous episodes. Did this mean that they all took place in the same universe? Were they all secretly connected?

Fans even began to draw up timelines of how episode potentially fitted together.

Last week, Black Mirror showrunners Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones were on The Watch podcast, and host Chris Ryan asked Brooker if they all took place in the same shared universe. And his response suggested that fans had thought about that a lot more than they had.

I think we have malleable rules on that. Sometimes it’s useful… So in Black Museum, Rollo Haynes works for TCKR, which is the same company that we see in ‘San Junipero’ and he’s going into a hospital called St Juniper’s Hospital. There’s a clear sort of through-line there, that we don’t bother to explain.

But he continued to say that a lot of the connections were born out of convenience more than anything else.

But on the other hand, we sometimes have used the logic [of another episode]. Often it is to do with the gadget. We did The ‘Entire History of You’, which is the episode where everyone can rewind memories, and they use a little thumb controller thing to access the UI in their eyes.

And then we came to do ‘White Christmas’, which also had a sort of in-retina system, we went round the houses trying to invent different modes of technology, and then thought, why do we just use the one [we already came up with]? [It was] laziness. We’ve cleared the company name for that, and we’ve designed the thing.

Annabel Jones went on to say that she found the old prop in a draw, and just thought they might as well re-use it.

So it seems all those fan theories were mostly misplaced. Just because most movies and TV shows are plotting five steps ahead, it doesn’t mean they all are.