‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ was supposed to be more complex, says Charlie Brooker

The original plans included an escape room feel

Charlie Brooker has revealed that his interactive Black Mirror film Bandersnatch was originally going to be more complex.

The Netflix one-off originally dropped during the 2018 festive period, and follows a young video game programmer (Fionn Whitehead) as viewers guide his decisions with a series of interactive choices.

Reflecting on how Bandersnatch turned out, Brooker admitted to The Guardian in a new interview: “From a technical point of view, I was satisfied.”

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However, the writer revealed that he initially wanted an escape room feel, which included a puzzle that viewers would solve by repeatedly failing, with each failed turn giving another digit in a phone number, before it was scrapped.

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A scene from ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’. CREDIT: Press

“The problem was, and this is a damning indictment of humankind, people couldn’t remember a five-digit number for more than five seconds,” Brooker admitted. “So we had to take that out. Which basically meant that you weren’t quite sure when it had finished.”

The creator also explained that doing Bandersnatch was “an expensive proposition, risky, difficult” given it was Netflix’s first interactive drama.

Charlie Brooker
Charlie Brooker (Picture: Getty)

“They wrote loads of code to make it work… looking back, why didn’t they want something like a Bond movie? This was very niche: it’s about someone writing a game in his head, on a Spectrum,” he continued.

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“The biggest set piece was him walking in to WH Smith in 1984. It would have been easy for Netflix to say: ‘Could you set this in America, make it a Tandy computer and make it more like War Games starring Matthew Broderick? Can it be a bit more glamorous?’ There was none of that.”

Brooker has recently been busy on other projects for Netflix, including Attack Of The Hollywood Clichés! with Rob Lowe, which takes a look at some of the biggest tropes in Hollywood films.

His production company also released Death To 2021, a follow-up to Brooker’s own Netflix satire Death To 2020.

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