Silver Screams V: Dead Set (2008)

Silver Screams V concludes with Leon Nicholson taking a look at Dead Set starring Jaime Winstone, Riz Ahmed and Andy Nyman.

For those unaware, Dead Set was a mini-series that was originally aired on Channel 4 in 2008 from October 27th -31st – yes just in time for Halloween. How does it work as a TV series and is it worth watching?

It’s eviction night at the Big Brother House but in the real world something strange is occurring. It seems as if the dead are re-animating but what’s worse is that they are attacking the living. When the zombies find their way to the live eviction, mass carnage ensues as they munch, bite and feed their way through the audience. The zombies even find their way inside the studio attacking everyone in sight. The Big Brother contestants however are unaware what is happening outside. Enter Kelly (Jaime Winston), a runner on the show who manages to escape the zombie hordes by taking solace in the Big Brother House. The housemates Marky (Warren Brown), Veronica (Beth Cordingly), Grayson (Raj Ghatak), Joplin (Kevin Eldon), Angel (Chizzy Akudolu) and Space (Adam Deacon) initially think she is just part of the game – that is – until one of them forces their way through biting Angel. From here a tense battle of survival begins. Will the housemates see this out or will the zombie hordes break through claiming the fame hungry contestants as just another meal ticket.

This Charlie Brooker penned mini-series possesses lots of gore, blood and humour. Of course we would expect nothing else but a brilliantly written series from Brooker. It’s satirical, it’s humorous, it’s violent and it’s tense and even though this was made in 2008 nothing much has changed with regards to reality TV and 15 minutes of fame making this still very current. Credit must also go to director Yann Demange for handling all Brooker’s quirks and bringing them to life on the small screen. The pacing is excellent and Dead Set wastes no time involving the viewer in proceedings.

There are plenty of strong performances from the likes of Jaime Winston, Riz Ahmed (who plays her boyfriend Riq), Adam Deacon and Warren Brown. The outstanding performance however goes to Andy Nyman’s arrogant, offensive and uncouth producer Patrick. It’s clear that Nyman has the best lines but what makes Patrick so hilarious is the wickedly cold manner in which he delivers them.

Along with the blood and guts, of which there is plenty, Dead Set is actually very smart. In addition, the cameos by Davina McCall and former Big Brother Housemates including Brian Belo and Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace are a nice touch and it contributes to the whole ‘authenticity’ of the series. Is it worth watching Dead Set? Absolutely! One will be hard pressed to find anything better than this.

FMV Rating ****½

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