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Screen Burn

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,546 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Cruel, acerbic, impassioned, gleeful, frequently outrageous and always hilarious, Charlie Brooker's Screen Burn collects the best of the much-loved Guardian Guide columns in one easy-to-read-on-the-toilet package. Sit back and roar as Brooker rips mercilessly into Simon Cowell, Big Brother, Trinny and Susannah, Casualty, Davina McCall, Michael Parkinson...and almost everyt ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 2nd 2004 by Faber & Faber
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May 24, 2012 Graceann rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Charlie Brooker Fans
Shelves: essays, humor
This book consists of Charlie Brooker's "Screen Burn" columns from 2000-2004, discussing what was annoying him (or, more rarely, making him happy) in his television viewing. It's a brilliant look at his ability to create a comprehensive narrative using a few hundred words at a time.

To be honest, if you weren't living in the UK and watching television here during the years that this book spans, some of this will not be understandable. I know that there were several references to programs long go
Jul 29, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
This isn't as good as Dawn of the Dumb, simply because it fulfills its original purpose: a regular 'forthcoming TV' column. As the entire TV schedule is not wall-to-wall crap (so I'm told), Brooker actually likes a lot of it, and is often too damn nice. It results in a good, balanced piece of journalism, sure, but he's at his funniest precisely when he's being unbalanced and levelling his typographical Uzi at his well-deserving victim. I much prefer this out-and-out curmudgeon he becomes later.
Rosemarie Short
Feb 19, 2014 Rosemarie Short rated it it was amazing
When I think of Charlie Brooker the first word to cross my mind is caustic. His words come like vinegar to a wound, his derision of all things (without prejudice) making both a difficult read and one of the most entertaining.

Screen Burn isn't something I would recommend reading in one go. The page and a half - two page televisual review segments are hilarious (and, if you were growing up around the time these columns were first published, nostalgic) but after reading several pages in one sittin
Mar 15, 2010 Jo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour, non-fiction
Although I don't read the Guardian (where these articles originally appeared) and I've not seen the majority of the shows reviewed, I still found this book extremely funny. I think I'm in love with Charlie Brooker due to his misanthropy and caustic wit!! His obsession with spoons and pine cones in orifaces is a bit of a concern though.
Arthur Meursault
Feb 09, 2016 Arthur Meursault rated it really liked it
Same review as what I wrote for Brooker's Dawn of the Dumb book. They are very similar, the only difference is that this one is more TV oriented...

Charlie Brooker is great for rage reading. If you've ever been angry at something in your daily life at any point in the last 10 years, chances are that Brooker has covered it. Transport, banks, reality TV... he rages on all of these and more with his idiosyncratic humour that will be familiar to anyone who is a Chris Morris fan or seen Brooker's othe
Andrew Ives
Aug 30, 2015 Andrew Ives rated it liked it
As this is a collection of Brooker's Guardian articles over the space of almost 3yrs, a period around 10yrs ago at my time of reading, some of it hasn't aged particularly well.

The programmes reviewed here are extremely varied, but still most often from the low-brow end of the TV spectrum. This is understandable, as it gives Brooker a great opportunity for comedy, and some of this book is very very funny indeed. I laughed at some parts more than I've laughed at just about any book before. However
Nick Davies
Jan 31, 2016 Nick Davies rated it liked it
Though Charlie Brooker writes well, with a high level of insight and a sometimes delightful use of creative expletives and imagery, alas this didn't quite work as a completely enjoyable read because of two things.

Primarily, the format of the book is that it's a collection of columns written by Brooker for The Guardian in the early 2000's. As entertaining as each piece can be, it still feels very much like someone has collected together a load of (now a lot less relevant) rants about something wh
Aug 20, 2011 Shaun rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: TV Buffs
Recommended to Shaun by: HMV (it was next to the tills for a couple of quid)
Shelves: read-in-2011
I don't normally write reviews since I can't write and struggle to come across as coherent at the best of times, but I wanted to justify the low mark I have given this book.

First off this is 2/5 on the skewed Goodreads scale, which would probably be a 3/5 on any other rating system.

Secondly I love pretty much everything Charlie Brooker has done. I'm a big fan of his TV work and his column in the Guardian (the one that isn't Screen Burn, I never read that since it was printed on a Saturday and I
Jan 03, 2012 Melissa rated it it was ok
Although Screen Burn did contain a decent number of laugh-out-loud moments, the sheer volume of it - spanning five years of Brooker's Guardian columns - meant that the end product was sadly mediocre. By and large, his columns are all pretty much the same. TV spews out a ludicrous show, and Brooker angrily criticises it at length, employing a staggering range of metaphors and similies that eventually become meaningless through sheer number. Rinse, wash, repeat. These are not bad columns in and of ...more
Eddie Duggan
Feb 04, 2012 Eddie Duggan rated it really liked it
Shelves: doublebookcase
This book, as well as the second volume (Dawn of the Dumb) collects Charlie Brooker's weekly columns which first appeared in The Saturday Guardian's entertainment supplement, The Guide. Unlike most television critics, Brooker tends to be scathing and is dismissive of most of the television programmes he reviews, but because television is almost always disappointing, falling so far short its potential, it isn't Broker's approach that should be surprising, it should be the fawning arse-lick simper ...more
Aug 26, 2012 Marsha rated it liked it
While I found myself chuckling or even laughing out loud at many of Mr. Brooker’s observations about British telly, I was hampered more often than not by my complete and utter ignorance of many of the people, terms and shows to which he alluded.

Also, an entire book composed of nothing but reviews gets a trifle wearying to read. A person who prefers novels or any kind of story with a linear plotline is repeatedly thrown off course by page after page of critique. Each one is a separate encapsulat
Mark Farley
Feb 09, 2014 Mark Farley rated it it was amazing
The first collection of Brooker's ascerbic and ranting columns from the Guardian Guide. They started out life covering the world of television but his humour covered all subjects and eventually morphed into the columns that gave him more free reign and in the case of his subjects, some terror. The early musings are collected here and are classic Brooker. Funny, clever, angry and mostly bang on the money. Thank God he I around to tell us truly like it is.
My goodness. Rather like his TV shows - in fact more so, because he can stretch his bile out to palatable endurability in 30 mins, rather than the foam-flecked bullets of hatred this columns have condensed to - the inner mumblings of Charlie Brooker should definitely be taken in small doses. It's taken me far longer to read this collection of Guardian (and pre-Guardian) TV reviews/comments. This is principally due to the fact that reading more than, say, four in a row and you feel the red mist s ...more
Oct 08, 2012 Aoife rated it liked it
This is Brooker's first collection of columns and unlike the others it's just about TV-shows, so what I said about The Hell of it All is even more true here: while he is very good at making you hate a show you've never watched he's even more obsessed with certain personalities, especially from reality-TV (the book covers the years from 2000-2004, i.e. the beginning of the's rather hillarious when he comments on the original US version of Pop Idol and says 'Please, British TV-pr ...more
Elizabeth Coldwell
Nov 13, 2014 Elizabeth Coldwell rated it really liked it
Ah, there's nothing like a good spittle-fuelled rant and Charlie Brooker is the master of hurling invective at dull-witted TV programmes and the people who dream up, produce and appear in them. Screen Burn may pick easy targets like Simon Cowell, Trinny and Susannah and Davina McCall but that's not to say they don't deserve it. And it almost makes you nostalgic for the days when you could find a channel showing a 24-hour feed from the Big Brother house (with all the interesting bits covered up b ...more
Screen Burn, the first collection of Charlie Brooker's weekly columns mercilessly mocking the trashiest of television shows is as hilarious as anything else he's done, albeit, towards the end a little repetitive. Written between 2000-2004, it covers the first broadcasts of the type of faux-reality television that is now ubiquitous. Brooker's curmudgeonly take on the dreck that fills up the television schedules is characteristically and consistently funny, even when the reader is not entirely fam ...more
Big Ste
Jan 14, 2008 Big Ste rated it it was amazing
This book and the subsequent television programme have seriously opened my eyes to how much mainstream television has been on a downward spiral, ever since Big Brother and the reality tv boom, not to mention the increase of sophistication behind the editing of shitty shows - polishing turds?

Charlie Brooker's style is unique, and as he says himself, it would be boring if he only reviewed tv he liked. Check him out on one of those weird extra bbc channels.
Oct 15, 2008 Godzilla rated it it was amazing
This won't be everyone's cup of tea. If you like acerbic, well observed diatribes, you'll love this.

In this book Charlie Brooker basically disects modern television, charting it's recent slide into a rut of reality shows.

I haven't watched much of this twaddle, but I was surprised by my recollection of many of the show names. Time does fly and I'd almost forgotten how quickly these things had sprung up around us.
Andrew Henderson
Feb 20, 2010 Andrew Henderson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Misanthropes.
Recommended to Andrew by: Peter Stuart
Shelves: humour, journalism
I was a little wary of reading this book after being warned that many of the television references were a little dated and, not being much of a television fan, I expected much of it to go straight over my head. Luckily, Brooker's natural wit and disdain for bad broadcasting and people in general kept me throroughly entertained and amused throughout, laughing out loud on average about once every 1.75 pages. Lovely.
Lee Savery
Sep 15, 2015 Lee Savery rated it it was amazing
Scathing but hilarious, Screen Burn has been a great read on many miserable bus journeys. I didn't care that people looked at me oddly for laughing out loud, I was having a hoot. I am sure the same could be said for Charlie Brooker, despite writing a review column just as TV took a turn for the reality worst. Angers brings out his humour. Long may things piss Brooker off.
Jul 28, 2011 Jane rated it liked it
A book jammed with reviews on varying television programmes from 2000- 2004 from Charlie Brooker… bitter, angry and hilarious! This is good for a light read and a giggle from soaps to reality TV to an on-going obsession with 24 and the horrors of Davina McCall, not forgetting an unhealthy infatuation for punishment for bad programming from pine-cones and teaspoons!
Jul 23, 2010 Andrew rated it really liked it
I learnt there's someone else out there who bemoans the lack of anything decent on TV and the number of 'reality' dramas/Soaps and other trash!!
An amusing book maybe a little dated in the fact that many of the shows are now defunct but as long as you can cast your mind back 6-10 years you will be OK!!
May 22, 2010 Tamsin rated it really liked it
Whilst a lot of these articles went over my head slightly as I don't really watch much TV, the humor was enough to make me laugh out loud! Brilliantly misanthropic, sometimes the thoughts seem to have jumped out of my own head and onto the page! Looking forward to reading the other collections of Charlie's Guardian articles.
Jan 07, 2013 Amy rated it liked it
Hilarious in places and interesting always, a must read for anyone into British telly. If you're less familiar with that genre, the book is still good, but you should expect to skip over the bits about shows you haven't heard of.

I haven't seen the show, but I think Charlie figured out the ending of Lost just a few shows in.
Sep 12, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
On his day, there are few people funnier than Charlie Brooker. This book collects some of his TV columns, where he dismembers the offal paraded as prime time broadcasting in the UK. Generally hilarious, although as the book is more than 10 years old, some of the references fall flat today.
Jul 27, 2011 Jono rated it really liked it
Laugh out loud funny in places but not as good as the second installment, which I stupidly read first. Seems a bit repetitive at times and to be honest I didn't watch a lot of the shows he is ranting about so maybe that's why I gave it a lower score. Great toilet reading though!
Faye Ducker
Nov 01, 2015 Faye Ducker rated it really liked it
I love Charlie Brooker's writing, and this book is the first time I've laughed out loud reading in a while.

My only slight gripe would be that it is too long to be so much of the same. Although I enjoyed it, I found it a bit of a chore towards the end.
Neil Davies
Jul 04, 2012 Neil Davies rated it really liked it
At times bitingly, hilariously funny - and even when he's not he's still amusing and always readable. Time to search out some more of his writing I think. And isn't it about time he was back spitting his vitriol on tv again? Haven't seem him for a while.
Jack Griffin
Sep 13, 2010 Jack Griffin rated it it was amazing
It's that simple. Even talking about tv shows I hate, like Big Brother, still had me crying with laughter. If you can watch tv without a blank look on your face and can tell good from bad programming then this is for you.
Amy-lee Cook
Nov 09, 2013 Amy-lee Cook rated it it was amazing
Hilariously funny... the perfect bus book. Compact, light-hearted and easy to pick up and put down. The only downside was the odd looks I got from other people using public transport as I unsuccessfully swallowed my laughter. I highly recommend it!
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Charlton "Charlie" Brooker is a British journalist, comic writer and broadcaster. His style of humour is savage and profane, with surreal elements and a consistent satirical pessimism.

He presents TV shows Screenwipe, Gameswipe and Newswipe, wrote a review column for The Guardian newspaper, and is one of four creative directors of comedy production company Zeppotron.

His five-part horror drama Dea
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“Whenever I tell people I'm a misanthrope they react as though that's a bad thing, the idiots. I live in London, for God's sake. Have you walked down Oxford Street recently? Misanthropy's the only thing that gets you through it. It's not a personality flaw, it's a skill.

It's nothing to do with sheer numbers. Move me to a remote cottage in the Hebrides and I'd learn to despise the postman, even if he only visited once a year. I can't abide other people, with their stink and their noise and their irritating ringtones. Bill Hicks called the human race 'a virus with shoes', and if you ask me he was being unduly hard on viruses; I'd consider a career in serial killing if the pay wasn't so bad.”
“These days, watching television is like sitting in Travis Bickle’s taxicab, staring through the window at a world of relentless, churning shod.” 0 likes
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