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Dead Famous

By Ben Elton

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Format: Paperback
Published In: United Kingdom, 01 July 2002
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 and 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 television cameras? Why did they do it? And who will be next?

About the Author

BEN ELTON's career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memorable and incisive comedy of the past twenty years. In addition to his hugely influential work as a stand-up comic, he is the writer of such TV hits as The Young Ones, Blackadder and The Thin Blue Line. Most recently he has written the BBC series Blessed on the subject of young parenthood. Elton has written three musicals, The Beautiful Game, We Will Rock You and Tonight's the Night and three West End plays. His internationally bestselling novels include The First Casualty (out in Black Swan paperback in April 2006) Popcorn, Inconceivable, Dead Famous and High Society. He wrote and directed the successful film Maybe Baby based on his novel Inconceivable starring Hugh Laurie and Joely Richardson.


A bestseller in the U.K., Dead Famous, by Ben Elton (High Society), combines the traditional whodunit with contemporary reality TV to hilarious result. TV personality Elton may lack brand-name recognition here, but this murderous tale of 10 contestants stuck in a house with 30 cameras and 40 microphones has real appeal, particularly to the young and hip.

"One of the best whodunits I have ever read...a funny, gripping, hugely entertaining thriller, but also a persuasive, dyspeptic account of the way we live now, with our insane, inane cult of the celebrity." -- "Sunday Telegraph" "A book with pace and wit, real tension, a dark background theme and a big on-screen climax." -- "Independent" " One of the best whodunits I have ever read... a funny, gripping, hugely entertaining thriller, but also a persuasive, dyspeptic account of the way we live now, with our insane, inane cult of the celebrity." -- "Sunday Telegraph" " A book with pace and wit, real tension, a dark background theme and a big on-screen climax." -- "Independent"

EAN: 9780552149020
ISBN: 0552149020
Publisher: Black Swan
Dimensions: 17.9 x 10.8 x 2.3 centimetres (0.15 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years

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5 review(s)
All Reviews
Rebecca on
Whether you love Big Brother, or hate Big Brother, you will love this take on reality housebound shows.
With ridiculously over the top house mates, a power hungry producer, ditsy host and a murder mystery to boot, this book is laugh out load funny.
Ben Elton fans will not be dissapointed.
Emily on
This is Big Brother. It was written after the first Australian Big Brother (Elton's wife is Australian and he dedicated it to the kids in that first house in UK and OZ). At the time I read it, it seemed improbable things would go that far. Sure there was the dancing doona incident in season 1, but that was as raunchy as things got other than that bondage party at the beginning. A hot box, orgy, contestants plied with alcohol? Well that's pretty much what happened from season 3 onwards and especially in season 4 where the contestants were encouraged to drink and mate for the TV show.
A sick society but a very funny book. How far will we go?
erin on
With the rising popularity of reality TV programs like Survivor and Big Brother, this is certainly a topical book. The question is how do you get away with murder in front of an audience of millions of people watching your every move? Ben Elton knows the answer. The book has some great twists and it certainly makes you wonder just how much of 'reality' TV is actually real. I really enjoyed this book.
Dana on
A cutting commentary on the "reality" of reality TV this book is a murder mystery with a twist: everything was caught on camera inside a Big-Brother style house. This book is extremely readable, and is very much a page-turner, however, ti still addresses some complex ideas, including the distinction between fact and fiction and the ethics of reality TV. A must for any reality TV fan.
Gemma on
Definitely one for the big brother generation. If you like a story that doesn't require too much thinking with large helpings of sex and equally large helpings of innuendo then this is for you. Ben Elton is a great story teller but I can't help but wonder if he dropped the ball with this one - there is a fine line between being funny and making cheap jokes. Having said that, you do get engrossed in the story and I was genuinely interested in how it would all end.

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