WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
Black Mirror has returned for its fourth season and everyone is talking about romance story Hang The DJ, set to the backdrop of a virtual reality dating world. But where is this dystopian love story really situated at?
It’s not actually that far away (the place, not the app) – and it’s a lot closer to home than you may have first expected.
The episode, available now on Netflix, takes a swipe at modern dating and dating apps, focusing on the story of Frank (Joe Cole) and Amy (Georgina) who are engaging on a date.
Except with this particular app, ominously titled the System, which pits young lovers through a ton of relationships to see ‘which works and which doesn’t, with the majority of relationships hitting an expiry date.
Basically, it’s like Tinder organising your dates for you and telling you how long each relationship will last – down to the very second. Scary.
The system seems perfect – high-class restaurants, numbered chalets and a solid ‘grip’ of the person you are ‘dating’.
But in the slightly dystopian world of the System, there are armed guards lurking about, inhabitants talking of ‘feeling like a prisoner’ and awkward sex aplenty. And it all goes on in Surrey.
Welcome to Painshill, Surrey
Frank and Amy are just one of 1000 simulations of themselves testing out compatibility in a chic, yet strangely clinical and empty simulation.
But, unlike the slightly frightening world of The System and its critique on modern love, the episode was shot at the beautiful and idyllic countryside of Painshill, Surrey – which was transformed into the strange world.
Amy and Frank find themselves in bed together at Pairing Day, a lakeside ruin that is clinically tidy and clean, with bare white walls and show-home style furniture, all neatly arranged for their 12-hour relationship.
But in reality, Pairing Day is actually one of the main focal points of Painshill Park, an 18th-century abbey creating a historical backdrop to the picture perfect surroundings of the gardens.
If you do down to Bourne Woods…
…then you won’t receive a big surprise. A half-hour drive from Painshill, it’s relaxing country plains, leafy woodland and 18th-century folies have been featured in films such as War Horse, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Transformers and Children Of Men besides a stack more.
According to Get Surrey, film student Luke Dudley came across filming at Bourne Woods, where they were spotted filming a car in the woods – which is likely to have made it on to the screen in the form of the System’s scarily perfect world, which includes fully functioning driverless cars.
‘The scene involved driving a vehicle in a loop around the woods. A vehicle was being towed around at the time I was there, by a camera car, ‘ the student said back in March.
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