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Death to 2021: Hugh Grant’s Tennyson Foss complains about pronouns in new Netflix show

Dark comedy retrospective mixes real footage with fictional talking heads

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 27 December 2021 18:31 GMT
Death to 2021 trailer
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Hugh Grant reprises his comedy role as academic Tennyson Foss in Netflix’s Death to 2021.

The annual look-back on the many bizarre events of the past 12 months stars Grant along with Lucy Liu, Stockard Channing and Joe Keery.

In the opening scene, Grant’s character wades into the row over preferred pronouns while preparing for his interview. As he’s having his hair and makeup done, he’s asked how he would prefer to be referred to in the captions.

“Oh here we go,” he says. “I expect you want to know my ‘preferred pronouns’? Well I don’t have any! I don’t have any, I do not dance the wokey-kokey, so you can call me whatever you like.”

“I was just checking whether we should put OBE after your name...” the showrunner responds.

“Oh you should... you must, in fact,” Foss responds seriously.

Death to 2021 is streaming on Netflix now.

Last year’s show was panned by critics, including The Independent’s Ed Cumming, who gave Death to 2020 one star.

Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe format was honed over many years to a fine balance of commentary, news footage and spoof talking heads. He already made a solid coronavirus programme, the Antiviral wipe, for the BBC in May, his first since the 2016 Wipe, which won a Bafta,” the review said.

“So it’s baffling that for this Netflix one-off, Death to 2020, he and his longtime co-producer Annabel Jones have taken their unbroken idea and tried to fix it, with the usual results.”

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