Charlie Brooker’s hilarious Antiviral Wipe provides much-needed coronavirus catharsis


After spending the final eight weeks glued to our TV units in lockdown, the suggestion of re-watching 5 months price of coronavirus protection would make most individuals need to swear off their screens for good.

However in some way, Charlie Brooker’s ScreenWipe makes the expertise each bearable and cathartically entertaining.

After 4 years off-screen, Brooker is again with one other Wipe particular however this time, he’s directing his trademark mixture of sarcasm, cynicism and silliness in direction of the largest information story of our lifetimes – COVID-19. And he actually doesn’t maintain again, packing the 45-minute episode stuffed with scathing take-downs of public figures, relatable observations of lockdown life and the occasional toilet-related joke.

Brooker kicks-off the quick-paced particular by taking us again to 2020 BC (earlier than corona), often known as January, reminding us that the press did truly cowl tales unrelated to the pandemic, reminiscent of Brexit, Megxit and Phillip Schofield’s emotional coming-out, even when it looks like all that occurred a lifetime in the past.

He shortly strikes on, nevertheless, taking us on an intensive coronavirus journey by way of current historical past. From our response to the virus’s origins in Wuhan (“China, that’s miles away, who offers a f**ok”), to the daybreak of panic-buying bathroom roll and the “tasty mixture” of pasta, yeast and hand gel, Brooker isn’t afraid to take a pop on the public’s ever-changing pandemic angle.

Unsurprisingly, the Prime Minister bears the brunt of Brooker’s satirical jabs all through the episode. The presenter makes certain to focus on the “mega-womble’s” absence at early COBRA conferences and his complicated recommendation on handshakes, while repeatedly referencing Boris’s crimson Brexit bus which promised the NHS £350 million.

It’s not simply Boris who receives the Wipe therapy. From “Apprentice finalist” Rishi Sunak and “your sister’s first boyfriend with a automotive” Matt Hancock, to Gal Gadot and Elton John, nobody is secure from Brooker’s derision. Even Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty is described as a “prematurely aged Tin Tin”.

The spotlight of the episode, nevertheless, needs to be the return of Philomena Cunk (Diane Morgan) and Barry Shitpeas (Al Campbell) who pop up all through the particular to offer their classically idiotic takes on the pandemic, sharing their ill-informed and misguided views on the 5G conspiracy and the US President’s suggestion of injecting disinfectants.

Diane Morgan as Philomena Cunk

Diane Morgan as Philomena Cunk

Different visitor stars embody TV presenter Konnie Huq, additionally Brooker’s spouse, seen placing her Blue Peter expertise to work by making face masks and trying to homeschool their kids.

Brooker does additionally discover time to fairly actually put his earnest hat on, telling viewers, “whoever and nevertheless you might be, do maintain on as a result of we’d like you”, earlier than reverting again to his default sarcasm.

This refreshingly trustworthy and sharp have a look at quarantine life is relatable for all of us caught inside – from the brand new hobbies we’ve been taking over (“baking, writing novels and screaming on the f***king partitions”) to the unending Zoom calls which we spend judging our colleagues/pals’ backgrounds.

Antiviral Wipe is precisely what the general public want as we enter our third month in lockdown, permitting us to chuckle at clips we had beforehand watched in horror and discover humour within the coronavirus chaos.

Antiviral Wipe is out there to look at on BBC iPlayer


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