Spoilers: Interactive Movie Bandersnatch Breaks the Fourth Wall

Interactive movie Bandersnatch boasts five different endings


Bandersnatch     def



a fierce mythical creature immune to bribery and capable of moving very fast

Meta isn’t the word for Charlie Brooker’s newest Black Mirror creation: Bandersnatch is the interactive story of Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), a coder who attempts to adapt his favourite book (also Bandersnatch) into a game. Set in the 1980s, this nostalgia filled flick is a collision of flashbacks and turning points, all of which we see in quick succession when it is revealed we have picked the wrong option, and have to go back to point A, or B, or C.

Bandersnatch Book

Until Brooker releases a tell all interview about Bandersnatch, there is really no way of telling how many twists and turns there are. In the beginning Brooker lulls us into a false sense of security by asking us to choose between two cereals. The difficulty increases from there on out.

At first the nail-biting wait to see what effect my choices would have on Stefan’s life added some tension to Bandersnatch, but the resulting brutal violence wore away at the suspense. The audience can only watch Stefan beat his father (Craig Parkinson) to death so many times before a sense of deja vu sets in.

The consensus appears to be that there are five alternate endings, which range from prison for Stefan to tekkenesque fight scenes. The ending does not mean you are finished. When you have reached an ending or chosen the ‘wrong’ choice you can circle back and discover a new ending. Bandersnatch is about the illusion of freewill, both for Stefan and the viewer.

Bandersnatch Metal Head Easter Egg
Metal Head Easter Egg

Bandersnatch cannot be compared to any of Brooker’s other Black Mirror creations. Unlike the vibrant colours in the U. S. S. Callister, Bandersnatch paints a pallid picture. Far from the undeserved sympathy that the murderer Mia evokes in Crocodile, in Bandersnatch we see Stefan under a microscope, which means we cannot step back and see the bigger picture. Bandersnatch is a bit too much of everything at once. How can we sympathise with Stefan when we have seen it all played out before? And unlike the protagonist in Crocodile, whose motivations are laid bare, the Bandersnatch book that began Stefan’s decent into insanity is hovering somewhere off in our peripheral vision, a bit too blurry to make out.

The Bandersnatch book separates this movie from the Black Mirror theme: while Stefan’s deterioration is linked to the stress of creating his multi-choice game, Bandersnatch is much more widely linked to mental health, trauma, and obsession than it is tech. The latter is incidental to the overwhelming idea that free will is just that, an idea.


Blink and you might miss it, but Bandersnatch is also about legacy. After we have experienced each ending, we watch a game reviewer gives his verdict on Stefan’s creation. In one variation he gives it 0/5. For me, the reviewer only gave Bandersnatch 5/5 when Stefan murdered his father and chopped him into little pieces. In this timeline Stefan later told his therapist that his father was away visiting friends, and that with the house to himself he finally feels free to focus on coding. Like the murderers who want to make their mark, we go back in time and find the ending that makes Bandersnatch a critical success.

Bandersnatch breaks the fourth wall for me a bit too much. One option is to tell Stefan we are watching him on Netflix and admit that we are choosing his next move. Although this was no doubt a tongue in cheek choice meant to stir up conversation more than anything else, I still find it unnerving.

With Netflix being the perfect medium for your average couch potato, hopefully the interactive format will stay within the realm of subversive programmes like Black Mirror, and will not be rolled out across whole genres.While Bandersnatch is a masterpiece of planning and editing, I do not want to interact with the characters, and I am looking forward to the next season of Black Mirror, which I will have absolutely no input in.


Landmark event for men falsely accused: Roxanne Pallett’s false accusations against Ryan Thomas

Roxanne Pallett: ‘I am a woman more sinned against than sinning.’

This year’s celebrity big brother was set to be a flop: between view count heavy weight Stormy Daniels dropping out and the questionable contestant choices for this year’s show, viewers were changing the channel in droves. The opening episode attracted only two million viewers, one million less than the increasingly popular Love Island.

Scandal launched Big Brother back into the public consciousness when Rodrigo Alves repeatedly used a racial slur. Despite Big Brother giving Alves a formal warning, Ofcom still received 1,000 complaints from furious viewers.

Rodrigo Alvez
Rodrigo Alvez

By far the biggest viewer draw of this season is the 35 year old actor Roxanne Pallett, who is perhaps best known for her previous role on Emmerdale. Unsatisfied with the eyebrows she raised by flirting with fellow housemate Ben Jardine, Pallett (who is engaged to Lee Walton) accused Ryan Thomas of maliciously and vindictively punching her, ‘like a boxer would punch a bag.’

The slow motion video can be found here.

Roxanne made light of Ryan’s play fighting in the moment, but when she entered the bedroom she said, ‘Big brother that hurt. Can you call me to the diary room please.’

Click here to watch the fall out.

Sensitive or not (which has been Roxanne’s main defense since she has apologised for falsely accusing Ryan), it is confusing as to why Roxanne thought she could get away with saying Ryan viciously attacked her when every action in the Big Brother house is recorded.

Later, in the diary room, Roxanne describes the attack as ‘unprovoked’ and ‘completely deliberate.’

Roxanne Pallett Diary Room
Roxanne Pallett in the diary room

As the controversy unwound over social media, newspapers, and talk shows alike, Roxanne’s past accusations came to light.

More than twenty of her former co-stars (most of which worked with her on her three year stint in Emmerdale) publicly denounced Roxanne on social media. Her former Emmerdale on screen husband Kelvin Fletcher even went as far as to Tweet ‘She. Is. Evil.’

Kelvin Fletcher and Roxanne Pallett Emmerdale
Roxanne and Kelvin as an on screen couple in Emmerdale

He went on to Tweet:

‘She’s not ‘mentally ill’ or in need of ‘help’. That denounces that people with actual mental health issues are as vindictive and menacing as her. They are not. There is a big difference. That was calculated and manipulative beyond belief. Ryan ❤️.’

And here is where it gets interesting. Roxanne’s history of over exaggeration is far beyond the i’m-too-sensitive plea. Footage has been released of the recent crash she involved in. Before viewing the crash, it might be worth it to watch this interview, in which Roxanne describes her injuries, and how traumatic the event was for her.

Roxanne Pallett Crash
Roxanne Pallett leaving hospital with her boyfriend Lee after the crash

A trained first-aider (Lynsey Pannett) was on hand at the race track when Roxanne crashed, and later told The Sun newspaper: ‘After my initial assessment of her I knew there was nothing wrong.’

Despite this assessment, Roxanne was airlifted to hospital.

More disturbing still, Connor Byrne has spoken out about his experience with Roxanne while they were performing a panto version of Jack and the Beanstalk. He claims that Roxanne also falsely accused him of violence, and even went as far as to say that the incident with Ryan was a ‘carbon copy’ of what he went through.

jack and the bean stalk
Connor Byrne and Roxanne Pallett on the set of Jack and the Beanstalk

Roxanne’s quivering lip and doe eyes have served her well in her public appearances since the incident. During her Jeremy Vine appearance her fellow panelist turned to Roxanne and said, ‘All I can say… I met, we had a chat outside, I’ve seen you now, I do think we’ve got a big problem in this country with this idea that we, we are entitled to abuse people just because we’ve seen people very briefly, very fleetingly, do something. And then we create this storm.’

No mention of how Roxanne’s false accusations could have ruined Ryan’s career.

This is a land mark moment for men who are falsely accused. The sordid details of Roxanne’s past accusations have been laid bare for the public to see, but that does not change the face that she acted so convincingly. She cried on cue. When asked by her fellow house mate to show how Ryan punched her, Roxanne pounded on his ribs. When Ryan defended himself she stood, lip trembling, saying, ‘He’s lying.’

Thank god Big Brother was watching.

big brother logo

‘Eye Of The Storm’ Season Brings Out The Slimiest In Society: Big Brother 2018

Far from the light-hearted Candid Camera, today’s reality TV programmes shows are littered with the sewer scum of society.

Since the advent of British reality TV with Candid Camera in 1948, the genre has exploded on to the small screen with a pace that increased with programmes like Big Brother and The Apprentice. Far from the light-hearted caught-on-camera moments that viewers enjoyed with Allen Funt’s hidden camera show, audiences now tune in to see cat-fights, bickering, and surprise evictions.

As the definition of reality TV show is stretched beyond recognition by producers and programme creators alike, we have to wonder whether the mantle of reality show fits the biggest names in the business, and whether they are accountable for who they drop into their pressure cooker environments.

  • Reality TV definition:

uncountable noun

Reality TV is a type of television programming which aims to show how ordinary people behave in everyday life, or in situations, often created by the programme makers, which are intended to represent everyday life.

…the Americans’ current infatuation with reality TV.

Reality television programmes like Love Island have come under fire for their choice of contestants with a specific body type: the slice of society on the programme is a thin one. Love Island is ranked as the most watched programme for 16-34 year olds, and has 1.6 million 16-34 viewers, which is 52% of the audience.

Love Island Contestants

Reality TV programme Big Brother has always included housemates who are less than stable, even once having Nikki Graham and Pete Bennett on the programme. Some think they should have been barred from entering on the grounds of emotional vulnerability. The Big Brother producers would probably argue they make for better entertainment, and bigger view counts.

Big Brother 2018 has hit a new low in allowing Daniel Osborne on the show. Daniel has a history of threatening physical violence towards his ex-girlfriend, but at least he starred on The Only Way Is Essex from 2013-2015. A claim to fame, as small as it may be, seems to be the only requirement for prospective Big Brother contestants, regardless of their history.

Daniel was allegedly motivated to threatened Megan because he feared being unable to see their son, Teddy, if Megan began a relationship with someone else.

  • ‘As long as you’ve got my son, you’re part of my property.’
  • ‘You’re making Teddy cry because you’re a fucking slut.’
  • ‘Shut your fucking mouth you fucking slut.’ To which Megan replied, ‘Don’t start hitting me or I’ll start going mad.’
  • ‘If you go near another man I promise you I will stab you in the fucking throat. I swear on this boys’ life I will end your fucking life if you shag another man.’ Megan replied, ‘You can’t threaten me, Dan, so just stop.’ Dan then said, ‘It’s not a threat, it’s a promise.’
Megan released the tapes in an effort to show friends and family members the extent of Daniel’s abusive behaviour. She also describes the tapes as ‘not a one-off’ and said, ‘they were typical of Daniel’s behaviour towards me.’

In the light of these tapes, which were released as recently as 2015, why have the producers of Celebrity Big Brother allowed Daniel Osborne on the show?
dan osborne
Dan Osborne

Their decision was obviously motivated by the desire for higher ratings: this season, after all, is called ‘eye of the storm.’ Daniel’s involvement in the show becomes less shocking when we see the whole line-up: this year’s programme is littered with the likes of Jermaine Pennant, a footballer who has served time in prison for drunk and disorderly driving, and Hardeep Singh Kohli, a presenter who was agreed to take six months of leave from the One Show in 2009 for behaving inappropriately towards a female colleague.

Hardeep Singh
Hardeep Singh Kohli

In a recent episode Hardeep’s co-stars questioned him about his disappearance from main stream television. He labelled his 2009 dismissal as ‘boring and nothing.’ He went onto imply that he was targeted for his race, saying, ‘if you’re a man of colour in this business, you get one chance.’

Does the series title ‘eye of the storm’ justify allowing these men having air time? Time that could be better spent advocating against domestic violence, drink driving, and sexual misconduct? Does it matter that both Dan and Hardeep apologised for their actions?
Is Big Brother turning into Doctor Who’s Bad Wolf version of the show? A relentless cash cow that is solely focused on a contestants pulling power?
I could fall for the argument that the contestants are chosen because of their dis-likability, and that Big Brother’s view count (which often reaches over a million) is a vindication of how slimy and unlikable these people are, rather than an avocation of how they can be redeemed. If only these people did not walk out of Big Brother and into another reality TV contract, and another, and another, glossing over their abusive behaviour as a result of being in a ‘bad place,’ as Daniel Osborne did after threatening to stab his ex-girlfriend.

Rillington Place: The Man Behind The Murders

Rillington Place shows us the gruesome murders of John Reginald Christie

Rillington Place details the murders of John Reginald Christie, played by Timothy Roth in this miniseries. The 2016 BBC drama, which has just been released on Netflix, is based on true events and accounts for the eight people Christie murdered while he lived at 10 Rillington Place between 1937 and 1953. The three episodes focus on one individual: Ethel (Christie’s wife), Tim (Christie’s upstairs neighbour), and Christie himself.

Who was John Reginald ChristieJohn Reginald Halliday Christie?

Christie, nicknamed Reg in Craig Viveiros’ miniseries, was imprisoned for both minor and major offences over the course of nine years: stealing postal orders in 1921, two counts of larceny in 1924, and for assaulting a prostitute in 1929.

While imprisoned, Reg remained married to the meek and forgiving Ethel, played by Samantha Morton. During this time Ethel had no idea of Reg’s whereabouts, and regularly wrote to the police to ask if he had been found dead.

The opening scene shows the two reunited in a prison visiting room. Reg is shamefaced, and tells Ethel that he borrowed a friend’s car that turned out to be stolen. It is shocking to a modern audience, but perhaps expected of a woman living in the early 20th century, that Ethel is anxious Reg will not want to stay married to her. Reg reassures her that divorce is the last thing he wants, and the pair move into 10 Rillington Place.

The idea of separating  is disregarded almost before it is brought up. Here the audience begins to wonder if Ethel knows the real Reg.

Morton plays a subdued, hushed wife. She is everything the audience expects from a mousy, mild, lower class women in the 1930s/40s. She is so eager to ignore the horrors that happen in her own home that she forgets Reg’s outbursts, and even covers for him.

Ethel and Christie

Reg is emboldened by Ethel’s silence.

As the three part series goes on Reg becomes increasingly violent. Roth portrays the murderer as a quietly charming elderly man whose age is written all over him: he walks slowly, staggeringly, and with quiet concentration. Later, in the court room, Reg delights in listing his physical ailments before the jury.

‘I’ve been suffering from fibrositis, interitus… last year I had a nervous breakdown.’

This depiction of Reg has triggered controversy from those who knew him at the time of the murders.

Roth’s depiction of Reg makes his murders seem all the more sinister. When the newly wed couple Tim (Nico Mirallegro)  and Beryl (Jodie Comer) move into the upstairs apartment, Reg takes the opportunity to ingratiate himself to the newcomers. Playing the role of the semi-parental, concerned couple, Ethel and Reg put money on the electricity meter for their neighbours, and look after their new born Geraldine.

Beryl and Tim

Tim and Beryl’s story arc is not for the faint-hearted.

There is little respite for the women in Reg’s life, or the women in 1930s/40s London at all, it seems. Reg prays on the difficulties that lower class women face: the need to earn quick money, the need to cure ailments without paying for doctor’s fees, and the need for an abortion.

Embodying the kindly older man, Reg invites Muriel Eady (Sarah Quintrell) to 10 Rillington Place, assuring her that he has a remedy to cure her bronchitis. At his home, he instructs her to breathe in a mixture from a tube and pumps carbon monoxide into Eady, gassing her to death.

Rillington Place is a gritty, often times depressing, account of early 20th century London society which places trust in the elderly, feeble Reg. It is only when the trusting girls enter his home that they discover his deviant nature.

At an hour a piece, each episode realistically depicts Ethel, and Tim, and even Reg. They are so jam packed that the episodes are like mini movies, and when they came to an end I felt for the characters, because they are 3D and fully formed, rather than the overabundant 2D characters in most TV dramas.