Charlie Brooker is worried — no, "terrified". Terrified of nuclear war. Terrified of fire. Terrified that he took a sleeping aid that has been found to increase the chances of Alzheimer’s. "It must be a consequence of growing up in the 1980s and expecting to be blown up any moment," he says. "If someone doesn’t respond to a phone call, I think they’ve died." Who knew anxiety could be so useful? In a world of technological shocks, Brooker has turned his fears into a bizarre guide to our existence. For more than a decade, he has been an enfant terrible of British television, with writing credits on a clutch of breathtakingly acerbic programmes. Cynicism was a national pastime; Brooker seemed intent on professionalising it. His satire stopped just short of grievous bodily harm. Then he went further. In Black Mirror, a series he created six years ago, Brooker foresaw how politics would descend into entertainment, how cameras would envelop us, how one British prime minister would become ...

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