A new series of Newswipe from the brilliantly acerbic (and secretly rather nice) Charlie Brooker starts tonight, and if you're anywhere near your sofa this evening you'd be advised to sit down and pay close attention.
In the show, Guardian columnist Brooker, who created Newswipe's older, meaner sister Screenwipe — and who, along with Chris Morris, brought us Nathan Barley — dissects news coverage in the British and American media. With help from comedian Doug Stanhope and journalists including Marina Hyde and Peter Oborne, he examines the way war coverage has changed, the grammar of reporting, the rise of the confrontational political interview and how the news loves a scare story.
Due to the obviously topical nature of the programme, it’s impossible to know what the new series will cover, but as the man himself says, “hopefully we won't be picking apart coverage of either an intercontinental nuclear war or a global ebola outbreak. Whatever happens, we'll be staring at it with amusement and horror." How recent events in Haiti will play into this set-up, if at all, is difficult to guess at. It will certainly be a challenge for the satirist.
Not only that, but according to our host, “it nearly killed me last time. Maybe this time it’ll finish me off.” Hopefully not, but evidently the closer he comes to despair and destruction, the funnier Brooker is. So let’s pray that he’s pushed close to the edge but not quite so far that he won’t manage to finish the series. Because personally speaking, a second round of Nathan Barley would be welcome too.
Newswipe starts tonight at 10:30pm on BBC Four