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Black Mirror 'asks viewers' to choose their own adventure

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image captionBlack Mirror moved to Netflix in 2015, having started life on C4

Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror is going interactive as Netflix hopes to find new ways to grow audiences.

According to reports, Brooker is working on a choose-your-own adventure episode for its fifth series.

The sci-fi show is the obvious choice for such a move, given its previous focus on the impact of technology on society.

It won't be the first time for Netflix - in 2017, it launched its first interactive kids show, Puss in Books.

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image captionCharlie Brooker (and his co-writer William Bridges) won an Emmy for Black Mirror

The programme, based on the Puss character from Shrek, allowed children to pick between different narratives.

But this will be the first time the streaming service has tried the approach with an adult show.

Former journalist Brooker created Black Mirror in 2011 for Channel 4 but it moved to Netflix in 2015.

The show's executive producer, Annabel Jones, recently told Hollywood Reporter that they "were experimenting with new genres" for series five.

Brooker added: "We try to do things that are markedly different from what we've done before, so hopefully we've got that."

The series is currently in production but no premiere date has been announced by Netflix yet.

However, it's not the first time alternative endings have been explored.

Take a look at these seven previous attempts from a diverse bunch across arts and entertainment.

1. Lost

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image captionLost premiered on ABC in 2004

Many fans of the US TV series about a bunch of survivors from a plane crash left on an uninhabited island were disappointed with the show's finale, arguing that several mysteries were left unexplained after the series ended in 2010.

But there was an alternative ending - if you were willing to pay for it.

The DVD for season six and the box set for the entire series featured a short epilogue called The New Man in Charge.

It starred Ben (Michael Emerson) visiting the Dharma Initiative workers who were providing the supply drops for the Island.

Ben and Hurley (Jorge Garcia) then helped Walt escape from the mental institution he was held in, with the inference that they planned to return to the Island.

Vanity Fair described the epilogue as having "all your answers".

The Daily Beast said the TV finale was "maddeningly frustrating" but added that "if you're looking for a well-crafted, full-blown epilogue, you'll be sorely disappointed".

2. Breaking Bad

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image captionBreaking Bad was a big hit for the AMC network

Breaking Bad's TV finale in 2013 was met with a largely positive critical response, as it pretty much tied up all the loose ends.

Walt (Bryan Cranston) was able to avoid capture and give the profits from his drugs business to his family.

He also avenged the Neo-Nazi gang who killed his brother-in-law and took his business partner Jesse hostage. Walt settled his affairs and prepared himself for his death from the inoperable cancer he had discovered at the beginning of the series.

But the Breaking Bad DVD box set contained an alternate ending for the show. It revealed that all of Breaking Bad was just a bad dream of Hal from Malcolm in the Middle, which also starred Cranston.

But of course!

3. Murder in Space

Cast your mind back to 1985 (if indeed, you're old enough) and you might recall this TV movie about a crew who are on an international space mission when an explosion occurs on their spacecraft following a murder spree.

Keeping up? The crew of the craft, which is supposed to be returning to Earth, are forbidden to come back until the murderer is caught.

When it was first aired on ITV, the film was shown without the ending and a competition was set up for viewers to solve the mystery.

The film's ending was then shown a few days later - introduced by none other than Anneka Rice - with the contestants eliminated one by one until the killer or killers were identified. The final half hour of the film was shown at a later date when the mystery was solved.

It was groundbreaking stuff at the time. The winning viewer, plucked out of all those who had called in with the winning answer, won a whopping £10,000.

4. How to be Both

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image captionAli Smith's How to be Both won the Women's Prize for Fiction in 2015

Clue's in the title when it comes to this 2014 Ali Smith novel.

The book is made up of two parts - one set in the present day about a teenage girl called George whose mother has just died, while the other goes back to the 15th Century in a fictionalised account of the life of Italian painter Francesco del Cossa.

Two editions of the novel were published, one with George's story first, the other with Del Cossa's. Both stories reference each other but they can be read in either order or separately. That's up to you, dear reader.

5. Choose Your Own Adventure

But long before the award-winning Ms Smith had thought of it, Choose Your Own Adventure gamebooks were thrilling the children of the 1980s and 90s.

The books let the reader play the protagonist in their own fantasy, where they were then offered alternate options at different junctures in the book which could lead to numerous different outcomes. Including death.

Well, it was an exciting alternative once you'd got bored of playing Donkey Kong or watching He-Man.

6. The Cardigans

Music has also got in on the act over the years. The Cardigans' track for 1998's My Favourite Game was accompanied by a video featuring four alternate endings starring lead singer, Nina Persson.

The video sees Persson driving erratically before crashing her car - with the various endings showing her either dead or walking away from the accident.

The music video caused a lot of controversy when it was first released, with many channels, including MTV UK, only playing an edited version of the video which left out any reckless driving shots and removed footage of the car crash itself.

7. Monty Python

And now for something completely different...

The Monty Python Matching Tie and Handkerchief was the fourth album released by comedy group Monty Python.

The 1973 record was mastered with two grooves on side two, so that different material would be played depending on where you put the stylus on to the record. So it came to be known as a "three-sided" record.

One side of the album was "normal"; the other contained a pair of grooves, each of which included different material.

The album didn't have a track listing and both sides were labelled "side 2", just to add to the confusion.

Other double groove dabblers include Michael Jackson, who released a double groove 12 inch vinyl single of The Way You Make Me Feel in 1987, and more recently, Jack White, with his 2014 solo album, Lazaretto.

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  • Netflix
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