Black Mirror (2011– )
8.1/10
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Fifteen Million Merits 

In a world where people's lives consist of riding exercise bikes to gain credits, Bing tries to help a woman get on to a singing competition show.

Director:

Euros Lyn

Writers:

Charlie Brooker, Konnie Huq (as Kanak Huq)
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Kaluuya ... Bingham 'Bing' Madsen
Jessica Brown Findlay ... Abi Khan
Rupert Everett ... Judge Hope
Julia Davis ... Judge Charity
Ashley Thomas ... Judge Wraith
Paul Popplewell ... Dustin
Isabella Laughland ... Swift
David Fynn ... Oliver
Colin Michael Carmichael ... Kai (as Colin Carmichael)
Hannah John-Kamen ... Selma Telse
Kerrie Hayes ... Glee
Eugene O'Hare ... Hammond
Jaimi Barbakoff Jaimi Barbakoff ... Anna
Merce Ribot Merce Ribot ... Big Shot Registration Lady
Matthew Burgess Matthew Burgess ... Botherguts Host
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Storyline

In this alternate, future reality, Bing and thousands of others must ride exercise bikes for hours a day to earn "merits", credits that can be used to purchase basic necessities as well as novelty items. They are surrounded by televisions playing mindless entertainment all day long, including TV shows that mock the odd overweight citizen who cannot work, a lot of pornography...and a talent show similar to the real-world Got Talent franchise. When Bing meets, Abi, a woman with a talent for singing, he believes she can win the competition and earn a better life. However, after he makes sacrifice upon sacrifice to get her to the show, she is degraded and harassed by the judges and audience, who offer her a choice: start a career in pornography...or go back to being a slave. Her choice inspires a revelation in Bing, who begins to see the cruel injustice of the world in which he lives, and he is determined to change it...no matter what the cost. Written by alexandriahicks-10795

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song Abi Khan (Jessica Brown Findlay) sings during "Fifteen Million Merits" is "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)," recorded by Irma Thomas in 1964. See more »

Goofs

When Bing meets Abi in the cafeteria, Abi buys an apple. While standing and talking, Abi takes two bites out the apple. But when the sit at a table, Abi picks up the apple and it is untouched. See more »

Quotes

Bing: I liked your singing the other day.
Abi: I was trying to sing so no one could hear me pee.
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Crazy Credits

Merce Ribot was wrongly credited as "'Big Shot' Registration Lady" (it should say 'Hot Shot'). See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojoUK: Top 10 Black Mirror Episodes (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Lapdance (Instrumental Version)
Written by Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Malice
See more »

User Reviews

 
Multiple layers of darkness
2 January 2017 | by BigRichAUSee all my reviews

I only recently came to Black Mirror and find it fascinating viewing them through the prism of all that's happened in the five years since this first season was produced.

The structure of this episode feels more like a piece of theatre. The scenarios in which the characters are placed are implausible and don't bear analysis (yes, of course using humans to generate electricity is not efficient) and the supporting characters are deliberately one- dimensional. But that's what makes it so effective.

Look beyond the obvious and specific commentary it provides on reality TV and body image obsession, and you'll find that what it really exposes is the fundamental futility of our modern consumption-driven existence. Our visceral needs to obtain more drives us to greater debt. Our debt forces us to work, pedalling frantically at life just to keep our heads above water. Like the man relegated to wear yellow and serve as the butt of crass humour, failure to keep up just pushes us onto a downward spiral from which we cannot return. And ultimately the fear of failure, of the oblivion of death, allows us to swallow our moral objections to that life when a path to greater comfort is offered to us.

And of course, at the end of the day, those in power know how to manipulate our weaknesses. They are caught up in the cycle, trapped themselves. The judges know they have to keep pushing the boundaries to keep people viewing. So their moral compass spins as wildly as our own as they struggle to stay ahead of the pack. In a world bereft of genuine feeling or emotion, what little genuineness exists is itself commoditized. Expressions of individuality, of innovation, become the intellectual property of others, are franchised and end up as dully ubiquitous as what came before.

But what choice do we have? Can we escape the treadmill? We are not fulfilled, but can we see a viable path to a fulfilling life? Are we better off mindlessly keeping the wheels turning so that the material necessities of life are still provided? Or do we take the risk and break out? Is there even anything outside the treadmill? Can we live outside of the economy that imprisons us? Is death really our only escape?

Or should we just resign ourselves to it? Become like the crass, mindless idiot who laughs along with the spoon-fed televisual mush? Can we suppress thoughts of betterment and make our lives tolerable by giving in to conformity? Can we let "I really had no choice" become a valid defence for our inhuman actions?


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 December 2011 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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