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Dead Set
Dead Set TV Logo.JPG
Format Horror, Thriller, Drama
Created by Charlie Brooker
Directed by Yann Demange
Starring Jaime Winstone
Andy Nyman
Kevin Eldon
Davina McCall
Riz Ahmed
Beth Cordingly
Kathleen McDermott
Composer(s) Dan Jones
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 5 Episodes (List of episodes)
Editor(s) Chris Wyatt
Running time 65 min. (Episode 1)
35 min. (Episodes 2-5)
These running times include advertisements.
141mins DVD feature.
Original channel E4
Picture format 1080p (HDTV)
576i (PAL)
Original run 27 October 2008 – 31 October 2008
Related shows Big Brother (UK)
Big Brother Series 9
External links
Official website

Dead Set is a BAFTA-nominated horror drama created by English writer Charlie Brooker. The series is set in the Big Brother house, and was first aired on E4 on 27 October 2008. The five episodes, aired over five consecutive nights, chronicle a zombie outbreak that strands the housemates and production staff inside the House, which quickly becomes a shelter from the undead.

Advertisements for the show were aired on Channel 4 and E4. The first episode, at its peak, received just under one and a half million viewers and 8.3% total audience share. The series was repeated on Channel 4 from the 6th to the 8th of January 2009, reformatted into three hour-long episodes.

The entire series was aired as a Halloween feature length (2.5 hours) version, showing all five episodes back-to-back in the U.K. on E4 on 31 October 2009 from 10:00pm to 12:30am


Production details

Although the real Big Brother House is in Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, the house featured in Dead Set is a purpose built set on a former military base in Virginia Water, Surrey, owned by QinetiQ. This site has also housed other productions including Holby Blue, Primeval and Echo Beach. Filming for the series took place over Summer 2008. Pippa's eviction was filmed outside the real Big Brother house during Belinda's eviction - in front of a real Friday night eviction audience - leading to a small continuity error as the Big Brother series nine logo was visible instead of the fictional version.[1]

According to the DVD, scenes featuring the undead Davina McCall were filmed in one day, and the bodies lying around the corridor during the scene were created with SFX dummies (besides Eugene Sully's, which McCall is seen feasting on). McCall stated that she was covered in bruises the next day, due to hammering on the door in several scenes. She based her zombie-running style on the T-1000 from the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgement Day. As she was restricted to only one day's filming, a dummy of McCall was used in some scenes which she was unavailable to film.[2]

Filming of the series was found to be difficult, due to budgetary constraints. Some extras were redressed to play different zombies due to the cost of the contact lenses used as zombie eyes; and the scene in Episode 2 in which Alex and Riq's car breaks down was originally meant to be an explosive car crash.[2] Many of the zombies featured in the crowd scenes - including the final assault on the house - were volunteers recruited through Charlie Brooker's Facebook group.[citation needed]

Website and DVD release

The website was launched on 17 September 2008. The website contains pictures, videos and competitions relating to the show.[3] There is also a viral marketing site called

The entire series was released on a one disc DVD on 3 November, 2008. The running time for the DVD is 138 minutes. The DVD extras included interviews with the director, writer and cast, behind-the-scenes and special effects featurettes, and a selection of deleted and extended scenes, including:

  • Pippa's eviction in full (featuring scenes shot from inside the actual Big Brother house staircase)
  • A segment from a fictional episode of 8 Out Of 10 Cats
  • A scene featuring Patrick discussing "recycling" Grayson's body
  • An extended version of Patrick mocking Veronica over her relationship with Marky
  • Pippa's death in the final episode at the hands of her undead mother.

A director's cut edition of the show was released in October 2009.[4]

Episode list

All viewer ratings are official from BARB.

Episode Original air date Guest stars Ratings
1.01 27 October 2008 Marcus Bentley, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Davina McCall, Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace, Brian Belo, Imogen Thomas, Helen Adams, Paul "Bubble" Ferguson, Kinga Karolczak, Eugene Sully, Makosi Musambasi, Ziggy Lichman 1,465,000
317,000 (+1)
During eviction night on Big Brother, there are widespread riots and the live show may be bumped for related news. Producer Patrick tries to maintain control, issuing orders to his assistant, Claire, and one of the runners, Kelly. Former housemates are having a reunion party in the studio green room and Davina McCall is preparing for the post eviction interview. The current housemates, Marky, Veronica, Grayson, Joplin, Angel, Space and Pippa get ready for eviction. Meanwhile, Kelly's boyfriend, Riq, is stranded at a train station after his car is stolen.

Another runner, Sophie, travels to the studio with Pippa's mom and their driver, who was attacked by a zombie earlier. They reach the studio as he dies and reanimates, killing both women and a security guard. As Pippa's eviction is announced, the guard stumbles into the crowd of fans and begins to infect others. The zombies invade the studio's interiors and attack Davina, the production crew, and the former contestants. Kelly is attacked but manages to barricade herself in an office. Patrick hides in a toilet cubicle, after sacrificing Claire to save himself.

In the morning, the housemates are bickering, oblivious to the situation. Patrick finds Pippa hiding in the green room when he ducks inside to escape Davina. Kelly is chased outside and attempts to escape in a van. She gets the keys but is forced back inside the studio, where she escapes from a zombie cameraman by going into the house. The housemates believe that she is a new contestant and she tries to explain that something is behind the two-way mirrors. Marky opens a door to taunt her and the cameraman bursts into the house, biting Angel before Kelly smashes his head in with a fire extinguisher.

1.02 28 October 2008 Davina McCall 1,038,000
336,000 (+1)
Riq hides from zombies in a petrol station, where he is rescued by another survivor named Alex. The two set off for the coast in her car, which eventually breaks down. While Riq attempts to repair it Alex guards keeps watch, occasionally shooting approaching zombies. They argue and sound attracts a large group of zombies, forcing them to leave the car and escape on foot. They take shelter in an abandoned country house.

Patrick and Pippa are stuck in the green room with no means of communication; their already poor relationship deteriorates rapidly. Meanwhile, Davina continues to prowl the corridor outside, making occasional attempts to get in.

The housemates move Angel to the greenhouse in the garden so that she is contained if she turns. Grayson, a nurse, explains that he needs proper medical supplies to help her. Kelly, Marky and Space plan use the van outside to fetch supplies from the nearby supermarket. Kelly tells Grayson to stab Angel in the head if she dies. Veronica and Joplin create a diversion, buying the others time to get to the van. Claire and other zombies chase them, but they make just in time. Marky injures his arm on a tool in the back of the van.

1.03 29 October 2008 Davina McCall 842,000
360,000 (+1)
Kelly, Marky and Space make it to the supermarket and gather supplies. When they are chased out of the store, two policemen looking for looters shoot the zombies. One of cops is bitten and then shot by his colleague who explains that those bitten die and turn quickly. Thinking the wound on his arm is a bite, the policeman threatens to shoot Marky, too. Kelly picks up the other cop's gun and shoots him in the leg. More zombies appear, and Kelly, Marky and Space escape in the van, leaving the wounded man to the zombies.

Grayson tries to comfort Angel, but when she stops breathing he hesitates to stab her and she attacks. Veronica and Joplin, hearing the screams, run to the garden. Grayson stumbles out of the greenhouse clutching his neck, and Angel chases after Veronica. Joplin hesitates inside, watching as Angel tries to bite Veronica. Grayson pushes Angel into the pool just before he dies. Joplin and Veronica trap Grayson with a bed cover and Veronica stabs him in the head just as Kelly, Marky and Space arrive. Seeing that Angel is unable to get out of the pool, they come to the conclusion that zombies have little intelligence, and Kelly shoots her in the head.

At the country house, Riq turns on the television, and discovers the Big Brother live feed is still broadcasting on E4. Alex hears a French radio broadcast say that a rescue boat has just left, stranding them and any other survivors. Suddenly, Riq is sees Kelly and the others on screen.

1.04 30 October 2008 Davina McCall, Brian Belo 907,000
299,000 (+1)
Riq decides he must get to Kelly, and convinces Alex to leave the country house and make their way to the studio by boat along the river. Alex is bitten a zombie while opening a lock gate. Knowing that she will turn, Alex hands Riq her axe and he kills her with it.

Patrick and Pippa manage to kill zombie Davina and make it to the studio control room. Using the PA System they are able to communicate with Kelly and the housemates and eventually join them in the house. Patrick wants to head for the coast, but Kelly shows him the crowd of zombies at the gates preventing them from leaving the compound. Patrick suggests that they cut up Grayson's body to use as bait to distract the zombies while they escape in the van. The housemates disagree but he starts to chop up the body.

Riq makes it to the studio and approaches the house. Marky is on the roof, picking off the zombies inside the compound with the policeman's assault rifle. Marky spots Riq and, thinking he is a zombie, aims at Riq and pulls the trigger.

1.05 31 October 2008 Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace, Saskia Howard-Clarke 705,000
Marky misses Riq several times before Kelly recognises him and stops Marky from shooting. Once inside, Riq warns that Patrick's plan won't work as there are too many zombies. The housemates decide to stay in the house as long as possible. When Patrick insists on going forward, they tie him up. Patrick manages to turn Joplin against the others. Joplin unties him and carries the bowl of bait while Patrick takes Kelly hostage, heading outside. Everyone follows him but in the struggle the bait is dropped and Patrick kills Riq. Pippa runs back to the studio's offices and Space follows. Joplin panics, and opens the gates. He is attack by the zombies as they flood inside the compound.

Kelly, Marky, Veronica and Patrick run for the house, but the zombies rip Patrick apart. Space makes it to the control room and communicates using the PA system. Zombies quickly fill the camera runs and Kelly realises they will easily make it through the two-way glass. She urges Space to open the diary room and he is bitten before he can get inside the control booth. He manages to get the door open, but the zombies have forced their way into the house. Only Kelly makes it into the diary room, leaving Marky and Veronica to be eaten. Kelly congratulates him on winning this series of Big Brother, and tells him to open the outside door. He refuses until he sees that Pippa is one of the zombies trying to get into the booth. As soon as the door is opened, Kelly screams and the camera cuts to black.

Joplin, Kelly, Marky, Space and Veronica are seen as zombies; Joplin roams outside the studio gates; Marky and Veronica feast on the remains of Grayson; Space stares blankly around the control room and Kelly gazes into a camera. A zombie in a shopping centre watches her on the Big Brother live feed in a shop window.

Series Omnibus: 257,000 (213,000 viewers on E4, 54,000 on E4+1.[5]

Series Average: 844,166 (664,833 on E4, 179,333 on E4 +1).

Cultural references

Dead Set contains several allusions to other zombie films, most notably George A. Romero's "Living Dead" series. Marky taunts Grayson by calling him 'Barbara', one of the central characters in Night of the Living Dead (1968). When Kelly takes refuge in the Big Brother house and informs the contestants of the zombie infestation, Marky directly quotes the line "They're coming to get you, Barbara!" that opened Romero's film. Later, as Marky and Veronica are clearing zombies from the compound, Joplin remarks that they keep converging on the house because of "some primitive instinct [...] This was like a temple for them," paraphrasing a line from Dawn of the Dead (1978).

Patrick's fate at the hands of the undead is an homage to the death of Captain Rhodes at the end of Day of the Dead (1985), even down to his last words. As Rhodes is torn in half he commands the zombies eating his intestinal tract to "Choke on 'em!"; in Dead Set, Patrick's mortal words are "I've got fucking bowels full of shit - eat it!" In the first episode, Patrick says that Angel has a face "like a Manchester Morgue", a reference to Jorge Grau's The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974).


Dead Set was nominated for a BAFTA for "Best Drama Serial". It ultimately lost out to Criminal Justice.

Simon Pegg, a co-writer and star of the zombie comedy film Shaun of the Dead, commented on Dead Set for The Guardian. While generally praising the series, he expressed dismay at the move away from the traditional slow zombies of the Romero films to the modern 'fast zombie' used in Dead Set which were akin to the infected from 28 Days Later or the zombies from the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake.[6] Brooker responded that this was due to a variety of reasons, including budgetary constraints, the fact that Dead Set had to differentiate itself from Shaun of the Dead, as well as the plot requiring that the infection could put the entire country out of action before the producers had time to evacuate the studios. He also cited two George Romero films in which the zombies behaved non-traditionally, including a scene where two undead children run.[7]


Cameos by former Big Brother housemates

International Broadcasts


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Dead Set is a British five part zombie thriller by Charlie Brooker, shown over Halloween on E4.


Episode One

Patrick: 37 minutes to go, minions! [pause] Do you know what a minion is? Don't look offended then.

An aide approaches Patrick with a phone
Patrick: What are you for?
Aide: It's, um, Sophie.
Patrick: [into phone] Tell me you are round the corner.
Sophie: Sorry Patrick, we've had a 'mare; all the main roads were chocka. Carl's trying to work some back-road magic now so...
Patrick: [Interrupting] You were supposed to be here [looks at watch] fuckin' three hours ago.

Patrick: [Watching news report on 'rioting'] Why do people riot anyway? It's not the eighties! They should stay in and watch telly.

Riq: I'm in Arse-end on Tweed trying to get a train home.

Davina: You are live on Channel 4, please do not swear.
Marky: Bollocks!

Patrick: Joplin has literally worn that shirt the whole fucking time. Imagine what that smells like.

Patrick: [Watching Pippa on the monitor] I cannot imagine living next-door to people like that.

Space: Something's wrong. No mics, no alarms and the cameras ain't movin'... Big Brother ain't watching us.

Kelly tells the housemates what's happening
Marky: This is quality. Hammer House of Horseshit.

Kelly: [After smashing a zombie's head into pieces] The head. You gotta get them in the head.

Episode Two

Joplin:This... This is not happening. And if it is, it is not happening to me!

[The housemates see the zombies feasting on the dead]
Marky: Gotta be some terrorist bollocks, they've released some... loony gas.
Space: Loony gas?
Joplin: The government or army must've tested something they shouldn't.
Veronica: What, like GM foods or something?

Patrick: [with a mobile phone] How do you turn this thing on? Fucking robot bollocks.

Pippa: I think we should stay here till the police come.
Patrick: Yeah? maybe you should compile a book of your fucking theories!

Kelly: Give us a fag.
Space: Short supply.
Kelly: You've got sixty hidden under your bed.

Riq:Where'd you get the gun?
Riq: Really?

Pippa: I wish you'd stop huffing, you'll use up all the air.
Patrick: It's not a submarine, you specimen. Do you understand how air works?
Pippa: You've just wasted more air!
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?!
Zombie Davina bangs on the door
Patrick: Oh, stay out of it.

Riq:I am surviving, and it's not easy.
Alex: What've you done? You've done nothing.
Riq: I've had a van stolen. I've been chased. I've slept in a garage and been shot at!
Alex: "At"? have you shot anyone? Have you had to do that yet?
Riq: No.
Alex: Have you shot your best friend. Have you done that? Have you pulled the trigger and seen your best friend's head explode? And walked about in a dream with her blood running down your face and in your mouth picking shards of skull from your jumper like cat's teeth? Have you done that?
Riq: No, can't say I have.
Alex: Well don't talk about surviving until you have.

Episode Three

Marky's seen himself on the cover of Heat Magazine
Marky:Whoah, check it out! Front cover of Heat!
He reads the accompanying headlines
Marky: "Rubbish in bed"? what the... "Desperate Fumble"? ... You don't half get a load of shit in that magazine.

Two policemen have stopped Space outside the supermarket
Police1:You're that fella off Big Brother ain't ya? Yeah, it is! [to his colleague] It's that sort-of black one. [To Space] You know you're shorter in real life?
Police2: Well, he's on his knees.

Veronica is showering. Joplin is watching her from the camera runs
Veronica: I know you're there, Joplin. You should have just asked for a quick flash; it is the end of the world, I might have felt sorry for you. But you didn't, which is a shame because what you're doing is a bit creepy, isn't it?
Joplin leaves quietly

Patrick: [To Pippa] Glad you applied?

Space: They're gonna keep pouring in from outside if we don't shut the gate, so we might as well do it while we're here. Sieze the day and shit.
Kelly: OK.
Kelly and Marky look at Space
Space: Well, I'm the driver, innit?

Joplin: Good old British Public.

Episode Four

Veronica: Why do they keep coming towards the house?
Marky: Glad they do, makes them easier to pick off.
Veronica: Yeah, but why?
Joplin: Some kind of primitive intuition, maybe. They feel the need to be near us. Don't forget, this place was like a church to them.
Marky: Maybe they can smell bullshit.

Patrick is disassembling a lamp so he can use its base as a weapon
Pippa: That's our light machine!
Patrick: It's not a machine, it's a lamp.
Pippa: Well, it lights up the room.
Patrick: Well... (turns off lamp) it's dead now!
Pippa: (disgusted) It's bad for the environment, wasting light.
Patrick: I'm not wasting it, I'm turning it into something else.
Pippa: What, like, recycling?
Patrick: (exasperated) ...if you like.

Patrick is coaching Pippa on his plan to kill the zombie Davina with the lamp base
Patrick: Listen to me. Stand there, you put your hand on the handle... put your hand on the fucking handle!
Pippa: (traumatised, near tears) I don't like it...
Patrick: Shut up and listen. You're gonna open that door, and you are gonna slam it, fucking SLAM IT on her, when she is halfway in. Do you understand what halfway is? Do you understand? Say "yes, I understand"!
Pippa: (still traumatised) Yes!
Patrick Then are you ready?
Pippa: (crying, quiet and high voice) I don't like it...
Patrick: It's either this, or we take it in turns shitting in the bin until we starve to death. Does that appeal? (Pippa shakes head) No? Then are you ready? (shouting) DO NOT FUCK THIS UP, alright?

Patrick has terminated the Zombie Davina
Pippa: My God, you've killed Davina!
Patrick: I hired her, I can do what I like.

The housemates are talking about things that have ended because of the zombie outbreak
Space: Doctor Who.
Marky: Who cares? It's a kids' show.
Space: No it's not.

Marky: It's one thing picking them off from the roof, it's another heading out there.
Patrick: Says the man with the gun to the man with the pointy stick.

Patrick: [over the 'Voice of God' PA system] Whose house d'you think you're standing in, you speck of shit?

Space goes to light a cigarette
Patrick Woah, woah, not in here. I'm trying to give up.
Space lights up anyway
Patrick Take it outside, ya dirty bastard.

Patrick [outlining his escape plan] We'll distract them. We'll bait them away. We'll bait them away from the gates then drive straight through.
Space: Distract them with what? A ball of string?
Patrick: They eat flesh don't they? Right? That's what they eat. We'll give 'em some! [Pointing to Grayson's corpse] There's a man-sized portion of Pedigree Chum lying right there. We'll chop 'em up.
Pippa and Veronica scream in revulsion
Patrick:We'll Chop 'Em Up! Toss the best bits to the fucking ghoulies, they run after that "Munch munch munch, thanks very much." We'll drive straight through.
Veronica:We're not doing that.
Patrick: I didn't say it was gonna be a genteel parlour game you titted fucking idiot, but it's worth a pissing shot!

Patrick is ranting while chopping up Grayson's corpse for bait
Patrick: You should come and help me with this, it's not as bad as it looks. Buncha cowards; I'll do it, I'll fuckin' do it. Lovely, look at that. What's the fuckin' matter with ya? Bloody backwards fucking livestock. Think you've still got a fucking audience? What you gonna do? Fucking sit here, breathing in each others fucking bum-clouds until the sky falls in? Pardon me but I'm a fucking bit more fucking ambitious, thank you very much. If you had to fucking Work for a living, instead of trying to do a fucking quick-fix, ay? "Look at me! Look how famous I am! I've been a twat on telly for two months" Maybe you'd know what that means. But no, you want it now. You want it right fucking now. Well come and get it!

Episode Five

Patrick: Are you on a personal mission to redefine ineptitude?

The Housemates are voting on Patricks escape plan
Marky: [Siding with Veronica] I'm staying.
Patrick: Oh, grow some nuts.
Marky: look, it's my decision.
Patrick:Wake up, Muttley! She only wiped her slit up your thigh for the highlights reel, ya chimp.
Veronica: No I never!
Patrick: You would fuck a fishermans dog if there was a Heat cover in it.

Patrick is trying to convince Joplin to turn against the others
Patrick: They Hate you! They've told me time and time again in that Diary Room.
Joplin: What did they say?
Patrick: You're old, you're a pervert, you're pretensious, you stink, your clothes make you look like a cunt. They have poured insults over you like buckets of cum. Do you know what they call you when you're out of the room? Gollum.

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