In The Flesh is a new zombie drama on BBC Three (Sunday 10pm or repeated a lot). However, it is not about zombies. It is about love, fear, discrimination and intolerance. It has far more in common with This Is England than The Vampire Diaries. It is also not the too awful for words hip ‘yoof’ nonsense you can get on BBC Three. What In The Flesh is is a very good and unique drama something that is to be commended in this day of televisual saturation.
We see the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse and how people are being treated for this illness. In fact that they are not ‘zombies’ but suffer from ‘Partially Deceased Syndrome’ (PDS) an excellent touch of bureaucracy added to political correctness and humanity. This is a wonderful twist to the traditional and, frankly, done to death concept. You don’t see much zombie killing action; instead we are treated to the human side of something which has been portrayed as monstrous in every interpretation up until this point.
Already the writing has provided some chillingly brutal and moving moments (without giving spoilers away some characters doth protest too much, methinks) where my heart was racing. After just one episode that is some achievement. The writer Dominic Mitchell deserves high acclaim for his script as it has managed to create a range of characters that you can relate to.
The beautifully innocent Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry) is the PDS sufferer who is brought home to his parents after rehabilitation – including copious amounts of brain stimulating drugs, fake tan and contact lenses to make him look normal. His family ratchet up the fear factor superbly well, while The HVF (Human Volunteer Force) could just as easily be seen protesting against immigration, taxes or budget cuts as the ‘rotters’ who are being introduced back in to their community. Their HVF leader Bill Macy (Steve Evets) and Vicar Oddie (Kenneth Cranham) have a menacingly dangerous charisma that will surely only lead to increased problems and danger within the neighbourhood but you are engrossed in how they will do so.
Only one episode has aired and yet it already has the feel of something which can last far longer than the three parts afforded to it. George A Romero has spent a lifetime making zombie movies and yet a simple twist like that employed by In The Flesh has breathed life in to a stagnant genre.