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The secret musical detail we’ve all been missing in Black Mirror

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Kayleigh Dray
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Black Mirror fans, did you spot this huge easter egg?

Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror is one of the most addictive and thought-provoking shows around, with lengthy Reddit threads dedicated to uncovering its many spoilers and Easter eggs.

However, it seems as if there was one secret which has been hidden in plain sight (or should that be sound?) all this time – and only those with a very keen ear will have picked up on it.

We’re talking, of course, about Brooker’s frequent use of Irma Thomas’$2 1964 track Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand).

The song was first used way back in series one, during that iconic Fifteen Million Merits episode.

Brooker explained to The Wrap: “It was originally selected for [this episode] because it was, it has the sound of a timeless haunting classic, yet wouldn’t be familiar to most viewers.

“The idea was to have the character of Abi sing a song of earnest beauty.”

Since then, the bewitchingly mournful ballad has been heard in White Christmas, Men Against Fire and the brutal and bewildering Crocodile.

Now, at long last, Brooker’s co-showrunner, Annabel Jones, has confirmed that they used the song for a very specific reason: to tie all of the stand-alone episodes into one “artistic universe”.

Explaining that Brooker “has loved [the song] for a long time”, Jones said that they constantly return to Anyone Who Knows What Love Is because they “like the idea of nesting all the episodes together in an artistic universe of sorts”.

“Oh, I think you know it is just – it’s an Easter egg,” added Jones. “I think it’s something we just love and find very emotive. And it’s something that’s really worked for us as a motif.

“And so if we can bring it back in and it adds to the overall sense of the universe or connection between some of the things that we’re talking about then that’s great. But it is a lovely piece of music.”

Brooker has also confirmed a long-standing theory as to why he named his dystopian series Black Mirror in the first place.

Speaking to Channel 4, the showrunner said: “What I took it to mean was when a screen is off – when a screen is off it looks like a black mirror.

“Because any TV, any LCD, any iPhone, any iPad – something like that – if you just stare at it, it looks like a black mirror, and there’s something cold and horrifying about that, and it was such a fitting title for the show.”

Brooker added: “I mean, I don’t know what else we would’ve called it – Spooky Technology Time?! It would’ve been rubbish.

“I quite like the fact that people are watching it on their TV or on their laptop, or their smartphone or whatever, and then as the end credits start running and the screen cuts to black, they see themselves reflected.”

Of course, it’s worth noting that Black Mirror isn’t the only show to hide easter eggs within its soundtrack.

As we’re sure fans of the Margaret Atwood adaptation will no doubt be aware, the Handmaid’s Tale is similarly famed for hiding musical clues under our eye (or ear).

From Blondie’s Heart of Glass to Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me, we’ve carefully analysed every single musical reference you missed – and highlighted exactly why each song is so crucial to the plot.

Find out more here.

Images: Netflix

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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