Black Mirror Had Interactivity Before Bandersnatch, But It Was Cancelled

By Holly Brockwell on at

The world is still very much in the grip of Bandersnatch fever, and show creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones have been doing some interesting interviews that have given us more of an insight into how it came about.

One of those insights is the revelation that they'd actually thought about doing interactivity previously, in a Black Mirror season 3 episode called Playtest.

Brooker tells the Independent:

At one point, there was a bit where [Bandersnatch] was going to explain to [Stefan] that he was in Black Mirror, but weirdly that was an idea we’d had a while ago. I remember pitching this to Netflix for “Playtest” back in series three, which was one of the reasons they called us in about the interactive stuff.

I’d said, “You know what would be great?” and even wrote it. Basically, if you went back to watch the episode a second time, it would have unlocked nightmare mode. In the scene where Cooper, the character played by Wyatt Russell, is going mad in the house, there was originally a bit where he literally discovers he’s a character in an episode of Black Mirror, and he’s told what it is and he’s shown characters from other episodes who are there in the house with him.

I literally wrote those scenes and then was like: “Fuck, that’s gonna be impossible. Let’s not do that.”

Brilliantly, the idea was not only considered too hard to write – Brooker also thought it'd be 'indulgent' and 'wanky,' some of the criticisms that have been levelled at Bandersnatch, resulting in Brooker telling haters to "fuck off" in another interview.

"So in that scrapped Playtest scene, there was a bit where he went in and he saw Victoria Spillane from White Bear, and he found himself in one of the rooms from Fifteen Million Merits.

The other reason we didn’t do it is we thought it was a bit indulgent. It would be a fun thing to do as a promo or something like that, but it was a bit too much, especially in your first series.

It would be a bit wanky. "

Whether or not Bandersnatch came out 'wanky' is a matter for debate (with fierce proponents on both sides). But what can't be denied is that it's changed the path of streaming shows for good – we reckon 'doing a Bandersnatch' will be TV production slang forever more.