The National Anthem
Black Mirror Season 1



Critic Ratings: 18
Critics Consensus

This inaugural tale of political machinations and elite perversions works as a scalding satire and a nightmare of burgeoning technology gone awry, making it a perfect sampler for viewers seeking to step through the looking glass.

Episode Info

A twisted parable for the Twitter age, a political thriller in which the fictional Prime Minister Michael Callow (Rory Kinnear) faces a huge and shocking dilemma when Princess Susannah (Lydia Wilson), a much-loved member of the Royal Family, is kidnapped.


Rory Kinnear
as PM Michael Callow
Lydia Wilson
as Princess Susannah
Anna Wilson-Jones
as Jane Callow
Donald Sumpter
as Julian Hereford
Lindsay Duncan
as Alex Cairns
Tom Goodman-Hill
as Tom Blice

The National Anthem Photos

Critic Reviews for The National Anthem

There is no better introduction to the show's cold-realist aesthetic.

Oct 2, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

[It's] a perfect amuse-bouche for the more elaborate, stranger courses to come. Like those early episodes of Breaking Bad, The National Anthem clearly states this is a show that will have an airtight internal logic.

Aug 15, 2018 | Full Review…

Brooker turns what would otherwise be a dark comedy sketch into an astute depiction of public opinion's changing tides, and the uncanny speed with which the unthinkable enters the realm of the acceptable.

Oct 2, 2018 | Full Review…

"The National Anthem" remains the story that should be used to indoctrinate viewers into Brooker's universe. The political satire is polarizing, and if it's viewed as a turnoff? A reminder that this series isn't for the faint-hearted.

Oct 2, 2018 | Full Review…

If you believe Black Mirror takes place in a shared world and that each episode occurs at a different point on the same timeline, "The National Anthem" is the insane event that made everything else possible. It's a warning.

Dec 3, 2018 | Full Review…

What follows is a wild, tense ride through media storm, shifting public sentiment, and political calculation. It's a hard-hitting look at the way TV news and online media can bring out some of the very worst in collective human instincts.

Oct 8, 2018 | Full Review…

That last shot shows that finding, keeping and losing love - Black Mirror's most consistent theme - has been quietly woven throughout this first episode.

Oct 2, 2018 | Full Review…

The ingenuity of "The National Anthem," besides its wrenching final twist, is in its ability to make it clear to the audience that they're just as culpable as the characters in the series, forcing the entire sickening ordeal to unfold.

Oct 2, 2018 | Full Review…

Black Mirror wanted people to know what it was right out of the gate, and oh does it leave an impression.

Oct 2, 2018 | Full Review…

The episode is a vivid reminder of the power of popular opinion and how it can be manipulated by the media.

Oct 2, 2018 | Full Review…

The National Anthem may have been funny, full of razor-sharp satire and with one of TV's silliest, basest stunts at its centre, but it was also one of the scariest things you're likely to have seen this year.

Sep 5, 2018 | Full Review…

It's a cruel and hyper-modern farce played like a thriller - and very straight. It's also very intelligently made.

Sep 5, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…