“A book with pace and wit, real tension…and a big on-screen climax.”
From a celebrity performer, bestselling author of Popcorn and Inconceivable, a stunning satire on the modern obsession with fame.
One house. Ten contestants. Thirty cameras. Forty microphones.
Yet again the public gorges its voyeuristic appetite as another group of unknown and unremarkable people submit themselves to the brutal exposure of the televised real-life soap opera, House Arrest.
Everybody knows the rules: total strangers are forced to live together while the rest of the country watches them do it. Who will crack first? Who will have sex with whom? Who will the public love and who will they hate? All the usual questions. And then suddenly, there are some new ones.
Who is the murderer? How did he or she manage to kill under the constant gaze of the thirty cameras? Why did they do it? And who will be next?
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.