Series two, episode one
Another two-parter for Charlie Brooker’s spoof crime procedural; this second run displays similar strengths and weaknesses to the first. ‘A Touch of Cloth’ is clearly in thrall to the ‘Police Squad!’ and ‘Airplane!’ school of comedy – not necessarily a problem in itself, but gag density has to be matched by gag quality otherwise things can become a touch wearing. The endless self-referentiality becomes tiresome too – do we really need a character moaning; ‘I don’t have time for a subplot now’?
On the plus side, Brooker’s endless familiarity with TV’s past occasionally leads him to strike gold: the funeral of Todd Carty, which features Pete Beale from ‘EastEnders’ and ‘Grange Hill’ alumni Roland Browning and Mrs McLusky, is sure to tickle viewers of a certain age. But ultimately – and oddly, given that he remains such a funny writer on the page – it feels like Brooker might be best suited to the darker, more serious end of TV drama. ‘Black Mirror’ certainly hasn’t been without the odd laugh, but it’s usually humour of the bleakest kind. More of that please.