Dead Set was Dead Good!
Yes I know that was a very lame play on words but my life, this show really was an awesome feat of make-up and effects. It had everything; a good storyline – albeit a tad vague because we didn’t find out why everyone became zombies, we just had to accept that they did – and truly amazing effects, good humour and a strong ending.
I won’t give too much away about the ending in case some readers haven’t seen it yet, but suffice to say, I’d have felt cheated if it had ended in some fairytale way with Riq and Kelly becoming the new Adam and Eve, so bravo to Charlie Brooker and his team for not taking the easy way out with the ending!
It’s an interesting story in itself how it was that a Guardian columnist and TV critic came up with the idea for Dead Set. In a podcast for the Guardian, Brooker explains how he originally came up with the idea when he was watching ‘24’ on TV and thought that the terrorists in the show would be much more interesting if they were zombies. Then, while watching Big Brother during the summer, he thought “what better setting could there be for what essentially becomes a siege movie, than the Big Brother house?”
Dead Set is of course very much like the Dawn of the Dead movies in premise, which was Brooker’s intention when he wrote it. Those grisly zombie films were hugely popular and successful, and his idea simply brought the ever popular concept into the modern day. He freely admits that the show is “pure, unashamed schlock” and states that his love of the zombie type films as well as shows such as The Twilight Zone all had an influence of his writing of the script.
In an interview with The List, the piece says that, “Brooker had the advantage that his production company, Zeppotron, is actually owned by Big Brother’s makers Endemol. He’s quick to point out that he still had absolute creative autonomy in making Dead Set, which surprised him, and also that everyone at the show was only too willing to help. Even the biggest names.
‘You couldn’t have something set at a Big Brother eviction night without Davina,’ he says.
‘She’s in it quite a bit, playing quite an unexpected role, and she’s brilliant. She hurled herself into it, and I think she’ll really surprise people. And wouldn’t you know, I’ve been rude about Davina before – that’s a classic example of someone turning up who’s so incredibly pleasant that you just feel, “Who’s the ar*ehole in this scenario? It’s definitely me!”’
Well, I can’t disagree with him there! Davina was brilliant in this show, as I think she is in everything, with the possible exception of her chat show, but let’s not pick at that scab.
If there was anything that let this show down at all – and this is a very minor moan because it really was awesome – it was some pretty dire acting from those who were the housemates. I personally thought some of the characters were just too clichéd and OTT; most notably perhaps Pippa, Grayson and Joplin. I also didn’t much like the name for the character ‘Space’… it just felt sort of silly. I know we had a guy called Science in the real BB and I thought that was stupid as well. I used to refer to him as Bob because it just felt so ridiculous to call a person Science. That said, I personally have opinions on which characters were based on the real-life temporary inhabitants of the BB house.
Who do you think each character was meant to be? For instance, I think Veronica was meant to be Aisleyne and as I said, I reckon Space was based on Science and Joplin, Jonty. Let us know your thoughts!
If you missed this awesome series, worry not because tonight, E4 are treating us to a feature length re-run from 10pm to 12.45pm so you can catch it all at once. I didn’t miss it but I’ll be watching again! It’s very, very gory in places so best have your takeaway early or else it might make an unscheduled reappearance.
Look out for appearances by several real ex-housemates including Ziggy, Helen, Brian and Bubble… yep, another ridiculous name! Especially watch out for Davina’s role. The woman’s a chameleon; her acting was very good and her death scene was very convincing. She’s extremely bendy!
I absolutely loved Patrick’s character too. What an obnoxious, narcissistic tool he was! I loved the insults he hurled at people, especially Pippa, whose character was pretty typical of some of the past real housemates. If you’d put your ear to hers, all you’d have heard was the sea, or birds tweeting. She was dumb and ‘fluff’ headed and he couldn’t stand her. One particularly brilliant scene is when she and Patrick are locked in an office while a flesh-hungry Davina hurls herself at the door, anxious to eat them, and Patrick has to do a number two. His only option is a bin and the noises that accompany this sudden bowel evac are absolutely gross. It was so graphic and aural, you could almost experience the smell too!
Absolutely brilliant stuff all in all and there’s just not enough of this kind of quality programming around at the moment. Let us know what you thought of Dead Set and who you think the housemates were really based on!