In the Flesh
Writer: Dominic Mitchell
Directer: Jonny Campbell
Producer: Ann Harrison-Baxter
Epidode 1 First broadcast BBC3 & BBCHD, 22:00 Sun, 17 Mar 2013
Epidode 2 First broadcast BBC3 & BBCHD, 22:00 Sun, 24 Mar 2013
Epidode 3 First broadcast BBC3 & BBCHD, 22:00 Sun, 31 Mar 2013
Jem Walker: Harriet Cains
Steve Walker: Steve Cooper
Sue Walker: Marie Critchley
Ken Burton: Ricky Tomlinson
Bill Macy: Steve Evets
Vicar Oddie: Kenneth Cranham
This is a zombie story with a big difference.
Four years ago the dead woke up, climbed out of their graves and started eating people. Now the British Government are re-habilitating the zombies – or Partial Death Syndrome (PDS) sufferers – and returning them to their community.
In Roarton, a rural village in thew North West of England, the reception to such an initiative might not be too welcome. Roarton was the first place to set up a HVF, Human Volunteer Force, to combat the zombie menace. Their leader, Bill Macy, vehemently resists all thought of having monsters living among them.
The village is a little backwater with one Anglican church, a social club ‘The Legion’ and one mini-supermarket. The Church Council apparently hold sway over the whole community and their ‘Hell fire and Brimstone’ Vicar Oddie is the only power above Bill Macy.
So when PDS sufferer Kieren Walker is returned to his family they live in fear of their neighbours finding out. This isn’t made easier by the fact that Kieren’s little sister Jem is a member of the HVF.
This story is set in an alternative timeline rather than the near future. Kieren died in 2009, following the death of his best friend in Afghanistan, so the action all takes place in 2013. His parents are overjoyed to have a second chance with their son, his sister seemingly less so.
The program deals with what might realistically happen in the wake of a zombie apocalypse if the apocalypse were not only prevented but reversed. Quite why the Government have gone to great expense to save the dead and return them to the community isn’t revealed, my only guess is that there is a population shortage after all the killing. We are aware that there have been many deaths in rural Roarton but apparently the cities fared much worse. So the death toll was possibly very high.
The PDS sufferers have to wear contact lenses and a special concealer make-up to look like the living. They also need regular injections of a drug that is rebuilding connections in their brains. Kieren suffers flashbacks as a side affect of the drug.
Family bonds, community spirit, mistrust, fear and guilt are among the themes of the program. The overall feel is of a drama that keeps just short of horror and somehow feels that it might have been a comedy, even though it isn’t.
I found the characters believable, the central characters certainly performed the emotional scenes perfectly and were well rounded characters with stories of their own. S
Very enjoyable and left with possibilities for a sequel.
This is Dominic Mitchell’s first tv program. He was one of four writers selected from entrants in ‘Northern Voices’ a scheme run by Drama North – BBC Writersroom