If you've ever seen Big Brother and wanted to throw darts at the TV because of the utter vulgarity and stupidity of contestants, then Dead Set is for you. The dead are returning to life and attacking the living. The living are trying to find a non-existent safe haven. Sound familiar? This is what seems like the TV adaptation of the film 28 Days Later, crossed with comedy moments of Shaun of the Dead with the gore of Hannibal all tied together with the love/hate appeal of Big Brother. Convinced?
Lead character, Kelly, played by Jaime Winstone, is an over-worked, underpaid runner on the Big Brother set. As if her job as on-set skivvy isn't crap enough, Kelly now has the equally poor-paying job of zombie dodging and looking for a place of refuge, as one of the only survivors of the contagious disease which has hit Britain and seems to be spreading like wildfire.
Curiously, there are a few people left in Britain who are totally oblivious to the fact that the world is ending aside from Kelly. The only thing they're interested in is how much budget they're going to get for food shopping and booze and that’s because they’re the remaining contestants in Big Brother. What a frightful thought that this bunch of reality TV wannabes may be the only people left to carry on the human race. Many would favour total extinction to this.
Kelly manages to get into the BB house, covered in blood by this point, and despite the fact they've not been able to get into the diary room, the cameras and mics have stopped working and they've run out of food, the contestants still question if it's a task and if Kelly is in fact an actor or an extra house mate.
Along with this bit, there are several parts of Dead Set which make you want to "get up and rent 28 Days Later instead" as one viewer told me. Kelly is quivering like the dog on the Volkswagen adverts one minute and within hours of the horrific outbreak, she's roaming around wielding a pair of scissors and turning all Lara Croft on us. And isn't it funny how even though there is not one radio signal or news broadcasts anywhere, houses are still able to get the E4 transmission of yes you guessed it, Big Brother Live. It's all a bit over the top and amateurish. But then zombie movies aren't supposed to be too serious, are they? And they are supposed to be over the top. This series is no different.
What will keep you in your seats over the next four days are moments that make Silence of the Lambs look like a U rating and tremendous comedic lines from actor Andy Nyman who plays Patrick the producer. He puts Big Brother into perspective, delivering lines which are ruthless yet what we've all thought about Big Brother contestants for some time now.
Whilst the story of everyone turning into flesh-eating zombies may not be realistic, the recreation of Big Brother, the set, the studio and the stars, including Davina, is spot on. If you didn't find Davina annoying before, you definitely will after she's been screaming and banging her head against a door for much of this series. Davina is coming to get you, but this time, it's just that bit more entertaining and as usual, there can only be one winner.