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Page last updated at 07:56 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008
Zombie Big Brother starts on E4

By Kev Geoghegan
Newsbeat entertainment reporter

Images from Dead Set
Big Brother hostess Davina McCall puts in an appearance in the show

Dead Set, a new five-part series about a national zombie outbreak, kicks off on E4 on Monday.

Not one for the faint hearted, it's set in the Big Brother house as a group of fictional housemates fight off a growing mass of the undead outside their four-walled fortress.

It has more in common with the 2004 remake of Dawn Of The Dead and 28 Days Later than the hilarious pratfalls of Shaun Of The Dead.

It's bloody and brutal, with quick, disorientating edits and we even get to see loveable Big Brother host Davina McCall turn into a slavering bloodthirsty beast.

"Davina's moulded head on four wheels, that was great fun. We just pushed it around," laughed Jamie Winstone, who plays Kelly, a runner on the show.
Running zombies are great because they're just scarier and that bit more determined
Dead Set writer Charlie Brooker

Winstone's character is forced to defend herself when the dead start returning to life and get a bit bitey.

She added: "I'd go home some nights and just be like, 'Oh my God, I've caved someone's head in today, I've cut someone up, I've been chased by a hundred zombies', and you have to go, 'Well, I'm just lucky I guess'."

Fearsome reputation

At just 5ft (1.52m), Jaime Winstone is hardly typical of an action hero but is already gaining a reputation for playing tough but vulnerable girls in films like Donkey Punch and Phoo Action.

But let's not forget, she is still the daughter of big screen hard man Ray Winstone.

She said: "I knocked out a stuntman on Phoo Action, it was a total fluke accident.

"On this, there was a little accident when I was lovingly pounding a stuntman's head in with a prop fire extinguisher and they forgot to take the plastic rim off it and I took a chunk out of his eyebrow.
Images from Dead Set
Jamie Winstone takes respite from the zombies in the diary room

"It made my knees wobble a bit but he was fine, he's double hard."

Running zombies

Dead Set was written by newspaper columnist and TV critic Charlie Brooker.

It is not his first foray into telly, though, having worked with satirist Chris Morris on Channel 4's Nathan Barley.

A long time zombie aficionado, Brooker said his initial inspiration from watching 24's Jack Bauer in action. The idea of setting the programme in the Big Brother house came later.

He said: "The terrorists in 24 just didn't seem real and I thought they might as well be zombies, but nobody was doing anything about it.

"Then, I was watching Big Brother and I thought, 'That's it, it's the perfect place'.

"Because all zombie movies end up essentially as siege movies and what better place to do it than a fortified house full of people who've been chosen not to get on with each other?"

Brooker has also taken a leaf out of Danny Boyle's book and, like the infected in 28 Days Later, his zombies can run - fast.

He said: "Once you've seen running zombies, you can't really go back to the shambling ones.

"Running zombies are great because they're just scarier and that bit more determined. The old ones, I call them shamblers, they would eventually get you through sheer weight of numbers.

"But with the running ones, you only need one in a house and you're in ******* big trouble!"

Dead Set is on E4 every night this week at 10pm.



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