Back when Big Brother was new and ‘shocking’, “Britain’s answer to South Park” (or so said The Guardian) came along. Pitting dead musicians John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, Kurt Cobain, Notorious BIG and John Denver together in a Big Brother-styled house (Marc Bolan gets voted out in the opening minutes of Episode One), anything could happen.
What does is a series of neat little gags (not least the visual one that sees Lennon constantly wearing a fancy dress-style yellow submarine around his waist, complete with fake legs hanging out of the side), alongside a bunch of dead celebrities drawn to stereotype and swearing their heads off (Mercury: Frank Zappa flexes his “pimp growl”. “Say ‘Give peace a chance’ one more time and I’ll fucking do you, Lennon”). Various period references (Ally McBeal, Fatboy Slim) made it amusing in its day, but its doesn’t have the legs to carry on. Come the tenth and final 10-minute episode, you can see the ideas running out before your eyes, almost as if it’s killing time till the credits.
It does have its moments, but they’re largely built on exaggerated personality gags (Cobain is a generally paranoid American; Denver annoying as apple pie; Freddie Mercury a flaming pie; Notorious BIG is intolerant of anything, especially Mercury) that haven’t stood up over time.