Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe - review: Comedian takes satirical swipes at Nigel Farage among others

Brooker's Wipe might be uncomfortably similar to Russell Brand's YouTube rant 'The Trews' were it not for the top-notch contributors

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The Independent Culture

Next year, why not have yourself put in an induced coma and woken up on the 30 December 2015, just in time to let Charlie Brooker tell you what happened? Not that Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe (BBC2), in which the angry, sarcastic man shouted at a TV screen, made all the inanity of 2014 any easier to comprehend, but it did make it a lot funnier.

This month-by-month guide included lots of "your mum" jokes, Operation Yewtree references and the opportunity to see any celebrity ice bucket challenge videos you may have studiously avoided in the months previous. Brooker's knack for insults also reduced the year's major political figures to a "chortling boozy frogman of the people" (Nigel Farage), "a man with the face of a rubber ear and the voice of an enchanted plimsoll" (Ed Miliband) and "like a sort of cross between Jesus and rise of the planet of the apes" (Russell Brand).

Brooker's Wipe might be uncomfortably similar to Brand's YouTube rant "The Trews", were it not for the incorporation of his top-notch contributors offering alternative-alternative perspectives on the year's headlines. Remember the nonsense-talking heads Barry Shitpease (here credited as "mansplainer") and Philomena Cunk? They were back offering uninformed waffle on, among other things, Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave: "These days America's changed and black people can be whatever they want to be," observed Cunk sagely, "as long as it's either President or shot."

There was no Jake Yapp, sadly – his condensed impressions of TV programmes were a highlight of the last series of Weekly Wipes – but Cassetteboy stood in, and neatly summarised the Scottish referendum debate with a mash-up video along the lines of October's viral "Cameron's Conference Rap". Some bitter food for thought was provided in a five-minute film by revered documentary maker Adam Curtis. He expanded on his "Oh Dearism" theory of how confusing and depressing news narratives help support a new system of political control. "We live with a constant vaudeville of contradictory stories that makes it impossible for any real opposition to emerge." There was nothing for it but to dance into oblivion accompanied by Brooker and the Blockheads' rendition of "Reasons to Be Fearful". Oh dear.

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