“Does this mean we’re not on telly anymore?”
All I can say it’s it’s a shame that not every episode can be feature length like the first night’s! Britain has been lost to a zombie plague, and the most ironic pocket of survivors are the Big Brother housemates and show runner Jaime Winstone. All-too-late they’ve realised her intrusion isn’t a stunt and that they’ve lost everything. At the same time Winstone’s boyfriend Riz Ahmed is saved by a lone female survivor with a really big gun, and they go on the run together, but their car breaks down, leaving them having to outrace zombies with only one bullet to save them from the undead…
What happens when morality is no longer relevant? How does a Big Brother producer with nothing to lose relate to his former contestant? How do the housemates cope when one of them is infected? Would they find solidarity in armageddon when they had none previously? Writer Charlie Brooker walks the line comfortably between horror and black comedy in finding the answers.
And the feeling of foreboding is both awful and compelling. Winstone and Ahmed both know there’s nothing they can do but sort out problem after problem, and there’s no other overarching subplot which we can see either. All the housemates, old and new, can do is try to help their friends, with the presumption that there’ll be no rescue. And the wry humour Winstone brings to her central role is what continues to swing this from an amusing 28 Days Later imitation, into a fascinating character piece which uses zombie armageddon to frame it. Using Big Brother as a prism for us to look at the characters through also adds an effective air of cynicism (the show is produced by Endemol). Will Winstone and the housemates get the drugs they need to save their companion, or is it all an exercise in futility? And isn’t it the futility of Big Brother which makes it too so compelling and so awful at the same time? Food for thought.