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Dead Famous by Ben Elton
Published by Black Swan, 2002

If you have been bitten by the reality TV bug, more specifically the Big Brother phenomenon, then you must read this book. Ben Elton takes the concept of Big Brother off the screen and transfers it to the pages of this can’t-put-down book.
This, however, is reality TV with a twist. In front of thirty television cameras, a full production crew and millions of viewers, a murder has been committed. We know this from the outset so the murder itself is not the nail-biter. Rather it is the question of who did it and how they could possibly have gotten away with it that will keep you riveted to this book. Elton introduces you to the ten contestants of the ‘Peeping Tom’ game by their name, job and star sign and proceeds to make you either like them or hate them. He also expertly individualises the members of the investigating police force and uses them as the voice of the public; of the ordinary man or woman in the street.

Elton uses his personal knowledge of television and its unseen aspects to satirise a phenomenon that, however ridiculous it may seem, has gripped people of all ages, races and backgrounds. His method of moving backwards and forwards from one location to another and from one time period to another will confuse you far less than it will enthral you. What better time to discover this novel than when Big Brother is in its fourth series and, once again, dominating the media. Read Ben Elton’s version and you are guaranteed to enjoy his infamous use of wit and satire and see ‘reality’ TV in a whole new light.