Black Mirror - Season 1, Episode 1 - Rotten Tomatoes

The National Anthem



Critic 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

The National Anthem Photos

Critic reviews for The National Anthem

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

October 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.

August 15, 2018 | Full Review…

This [episode] was a dementedly brilliant idea. The satire was so audacious, it left me open-mouthed and squealing.

August 15, 2018 | Rating: 4.5/5 | 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.

December 3, 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.

October 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.

October 2, 2018 | Full Review…

Discussion Forum

Discuss Black Mirror on our TV talk forum!