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One house, ten contestants, 30 cameras and 40 microphones. Another televised, real-life soap opera, House Arrest. Everyone knows the rules: total strangers are forced to live together while the rest of the country watches them do it. Only this time they're asking: who is the murderer?
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Ben Elton's Dead Famous brings together his talents in comedy and crime writing to produce a hilarious and devastating novel on the gruesome world of reality TV. Peeping Tom productions invent the perfect TV programme: House Arrest. Its slogan is: "One house. Ten contestants. Thirty cameras. Forty microphones. One survivor." This is all a clever parody of the massive TV hit Big Brother, with its vain, ambitious contestants with their:
tattoos and their nipple rings, their mutual interest in star signs, their endless hugging and touching, and above all their complete lack of genuine intellectual curiosity about one single thing on this planet that was not directly connected with themselves.However, Elton adds a clever twist to this very funny send-up. On Day 27 of the programme, one of the housemates is killed live on TV. Everyone in the country has a theory about the killer, "indeed the only person who seemed to have absolutely no idea whatsoever of the killer's identity was Inspector Stanley Spencer Coleridge, the police officer in charge of the investigation". Coleridge is an old fogey from the 1950s, who has to learn quickly about lesbians, piercings, blow jobs and the seductions of TV fame before he can crack the case. Elton's wicked parody of the housemates is brilliant, the murder fiendish in its ingenuity, and the ending wonderfully over the top. Dead Famous is great fun, and even has some social comment thrown in for good measure. --Jerry Brotton Review:
'This is Elton at his best' Daily Telegraph; 'Ben Elton the writer might be even funnier than Ben Elton the comic' Daily Mail; '...this brilliant chaotic satire merits rereading several times' Mail on Sunday
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