Karl Pilkington Predicted One Of Black Mirror's Plots A Decade Ago

Although it can occasionally be a little too clever for its own good, one of the main reasons why Black Mirror has become such a hit and is thoroughly engrossing to watch is because it blurs the lines between reality and fiction very well.

Even more so because some of the scenario it depicts - say a kidnapped prime minister being forced to fornicate with a pig on live TV, for instance - turned out to have some unlikely - and alleged, we should say - close real life counterparts.

And some of its predictions - the bereaved woman who 'reconstructs' her dead boyfriend from his social media accounts, for example - probably aren't that far off becoming a reality. Shudder.

Anyway, there's now been a further blending of fact and fiction with the release of the fourth season yesterday. And if you're unlike us and didn't binge-watch the whole thing the moment it was available on Netflix, you should probably stop reading now because there are spoilers.

Credit: Netflix

The final episode of the new season of Black Mirror is called 'Black Museum'. A series of interconnected short stories, one tells the tale of a man called Jack who, after his girlfriend Carrie is hit by a car and left in a coma, has her consciousness implanted in the dormant part of his brain.

It's a concept based off the hypothesis that - according to the doctor in the episode - we 'only use 40% of our brain capacity'.

"There is this whole other 60% of our noggin hanging around like an empty Airbnb. We can fit another whole consciousness into that unused space."

Which is precisely what Jack does, of course, in order to be able to communicate with his dearly departed beloved once more.

Ten years ago, however, on The Ricky Gervais Show podcast, Ricky's right hand man Karl Pilkington, revealed pitching a film idea to two producers. The film never got made, but the plot, as described in the podcast, bears a striking similarity to the couple's tale in 'Black Museum'.

Pilkington's idea revolved around a couple who were very much in love and who were to be played by Clive Owen - who he mistakenly called 'Clive Warren' and Rebecca De Mornay.

"They're going out together an' that," explained Karl to Ricky and Stephen Merchant. "You're thinking, 'Oh, they've got a nice life...' then he walks out the house, gets hit by a bus.

"So Clive Warren's dead - she's devastated.

"I've read a thing about how... you've actually got a full brain, [but] you can run it on half," Karl tells Ricky and Steve. "Chances are, he's not going to come out of that coma, but his brain is still awake. [The doctors] say, 'D'you want half of his brain in yer head? What will happen is, he's gone, but you'll have his thoughts'."

And so, in Karl's plot, just as in that Black Mirror episode, the bereaved partner has his dead soulmate's consciousness inside his brain. "She's Rebecca de Mornay," explained Karl, "but now and again with him chipping in with a bit of voiceover."

Credit: An Idiot Abroad/Sky 1

That's a pretty big similarity right there, but that's not it. In 'Black Museum', there are severe negative consequences - no shit, Sherlock - after Jack finds it difficult having Carrie living inside his head all the time.

Which was also a narrative Karl was going to explore in his film, with Clive - inside Rebecca's head, naturally - accidentally revealing he'd had an affair.

"She hears [Clive's] voice go, 'Lesley, where are ya?' - her name's not Lesley," Karl explained. "She's thinking, 'Who's Lesley?'"

Of course, Pilkington's idea is utterly ridiculed and torn apart by Gervais and Merchant. "What are you talking about?!" Gervais rages. "

In the podcast, Gervais gives Karl's idea for a screenplay a lashing, calling it 'the worst idea I have ever heard, for any piece of art' among various other insults. "Why would I have someone's brain in my head when they're dead?!" Gervais rants, which is a very valid question.

And probably one that Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker should have with Karl Pilkington before the lawyers get involved...

Featured Image Credit: Sky 1

Mischa Pearlman

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]

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