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Pippa: Is that Davina?
Patrick: ...Sort of.
How many of you have watched Big Brother and thought, "This is the beginning of the apocalypse"? Well, it seems you're not the only one.
Dead Set is the not-so predictable crossover of Big Brother meets the Zombie Apocalypse, particularly the fast plague-zombies of 28 Days Later. After a Zombie Infectee staggers into the crowd at a BB eviction, the disease spreads rapidly through the studio, leaving just one safe place: the heavily protected house in the middle. The remaining housemates then try to survive inside the house as the infection spreads and the remaining zombies search for flesh. Problem is, when everyone in the house has been chosen specifically because they create tension and conflict with each other to boost ratings, that's easier said than done...
- Anyone Can Die: And then come back and make the other characters die, too. Which happens to the entire cast by the end.
- Anti-Hero: Kelly, a zombie apocalypse kinda force you into this.
- Apocalypse How: Anything from Class 0 to Class 2. We just don't know.
- Author Tract: Patrick's awesome rant as he feeds the zombies.
- Bad Boss: Patrick. To say the least.
- Bilingual Bonus: Apparently, the French broadcast says: "Boats are overcrowded and leaving or entering the country is now impossible. People are strongly advised to reach their nearest emergency shelter as soon as possible".
- Biting the Hand Humor: Made by a subsidiary of the Big Brother production company, broadcast on the Big Brother channel.
- Black Chick Is First Housemate To Be Bitten
- Camp Gay: Grayson, the bitchy transvestite male nurse.
- Character As Herself: Davina, later Zombie Davina.
- Caught with Your Pants Down: Joplin's less-than-stealthy attempt to watch Veronica in the shower is less than successful (though as a wannabe "glamour" model, Veronica is unfazed by it).
- Celebrity Survivor: Most of the characters.
- Cliff Hanger: Marky spots Riq approaching the Big Brother house and, thinking he is a zombie, opens fire. Cut to black.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Most characters, but Patrick especially.
- Creator Cameo: Charlie Brooker appears as one of the undead.
- Death by Cameo: Many former housemates appear briefly only to be slain when the zombies arrive.
- Despair Event Horizon: Space agrees to open the Diary Room -- so Kelly can make a futile attempt to fight her way out -- only after seeing a zombie Pippa hammering on the glass outside.
- Determinator: Kelly has some shades of this.
- Dirty Coward: Joplin.
- Dirty Old Man: Joplin, better known to his anti-fans as "Gollum".
- The Ditz: Veronica has her moments. Pippa is this all the time.
- Divided We Fall: In typical Big Brother fashion, they find it difficult to get along and agree. They all die.
- Dumb Blonde: Pippa.
Patrick: Do you even understand what is going on here, or is the whole world just colours and shapes and the occasional noise in your head?
- Genre Savvy: Kelly and Alex.
- Hannibal Lecture: Patrick uses this on Joplin in the final episode. It succeeds and costs everyone their lives.
- Hostage Situation: In the final episode, Patrick takes Kelly hostage, holding a gun to her head.
- Hypocritical Humor:
Marky: Or we could chop his Achilles tendon in the back of the heel... turns the feet into dead plates, even if he wanted to use 'em, he won't be able to operate the pedal...
Space: Where'd you learn that from, man?
Marky: Saw Jack Bauer do it on the telly.
Pippa: No! S'not real life, is it? No! If we're doin' this, we're smashin' his ankles like in that film... "Mystery".
- Idiot Ball: Joplin. Ramming a van through an iron gate and countless zombies, in hope that it will carry you to a safe place? Risky. Opening the gate before in hopes of getting to the van on time? Absurdly, flat-out unbelievably stupid.
- Inspector Javert: The two policemen, especially the one that is not a fan of Big Brother.
- Ignored Vital News Reports: Patrick. Well, not entirely ignored - he just wanted to know if the next bulletin would interrupt Big Brother.
- Karmic Death: Patrick, who gets the most gruesome, Day of the Dead-style tribute death. And the surviving housemates in the last episode for treating Joplin like a Butt Monkey the whole series, causing him to pull a Face Heel Turn and get everyone killed.
- Kill'Em All
- Manipulative Bastard: Patrick. In spades.
- Manipulative Editing: Patrick is seen indulging in this. It backfires and makes the manipulatee suicidally open the gates and let the zombies flood in.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Kelly beating a zombie to death with a fire extinguisher (splattering his brains all over the place in the process) in the first episode.
- Not Using the Z Word, though one person does quote Night of the Living Dead.
- Only Sane Woman: Kelly.
- Ratings Stunt: Subverted; the housemates initially think that Kelly is a mentally ill woman added to boost ratings. Joplin comments to the cameras, "I think this is in very poor taste."
- Reality TV Show Mansion: The BB House.
- Regret Eating Me: Patrick yells the famous "Choke on it!" line from Day of the Dead while being eaten by zombies.
- Self-Insert Fic: The sneering, cynical producer Patrick bears some resemblance to the show's sneering, cynical creator. Could also be said of Joplin, who voices many of the creator's views, sometimes verbatim quoting him. This being Charlie Brooker, the king of Self-Deprecation, these two are respectively the most loathsome and most pathetic character in the show.
- Scenery Gorn
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog
- Shout-Out: As mentioned above, the famous "Choke on it!" line from Day of the Dead is uttered, and the famous "They're coming to get you, Barbra!" line from Night of the Living Dead is mockingly used in the first episode. Additionally, Veronica at one point makes a reference to the film version of Misery (although she mistakenly refers to it as "Mystery") - specifically, the ankle-breaking-with-a-sledgehammer scene - when the rest of the group are trying to decide what to do with a captive Patrick.
- Smug Snake: Joplin. For all his snark and looking down on everyone else, he ends being the most stupid of all.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Davina McCall has her throat ripped out by a zombie and is left to die to the tune of "Grace Kelly" by Mika.
- Springtime for Hitler: Joplin admits that the only reason he applied to be on the show in the first place was in order to decry it nationally.
- Tempting Fate:
Patrick (watching Pippa's eviction interview) Urghfff! I cannot imagine... living next door to people like that!
(Later Patrick flees from a zombie Davina McCall into the Green Room, only to find it's occupied by a hysterical Pippa)
Patrick: Not you! Fuck, not you!
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The second episode opens with Veronica puking her guts up after witnessing Kelly smashing a zombie's head open with a fire extinguisher.
- While Rome Burns: Pippa reads a magazine while Zombie Davina bangs on the door outside. Marky obsesses about what the papers say about him.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Firmly in the mold of 28 Days Later.
- Zombie Infectee:
- Averted with Alex who, when infected, calmly hands Riq her axe. He knows what he has to do without her even asking him to.
- Inverted with Marky who injured his arm when diving into the van. This gets him in trouble when a police officer threatens to shoot him, believing him to be infected.
- Played straight by Angel.