In The Flesh is the new 3 part series aired on BBC3. It is set in the fictional community on Roarton which is rebuilding after a zombie apocalypse, The nicely named “rising”. The “rotters” or PDS suffers are being reintroduced into society after months of treatment and medication.
Main character Kieran Walker (Luke Newberry) who is being reintroduced to his family after being treated for Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS) in Norfolk. Picked up by his dad (Alan Pardew look alike Steve Cooper) and mom (Marie Critchley). When he returns to his home in Roarton he is faced with his own demons from before his death and the danger of the Human Volunteer Force that his sister Jem (Harriet Cains) is part of. The leader of the HVF, the local vicer (Kenneth Cranham) and his second in command Bill Macy (Steve Evats) spread hate about the returning rotters.
The whole idea of In The Flesh is refreshingly unique. What we needed as viewers was another stereotypical undead show. Even when in zombie form there is something very different about the PDS suffers, they hunt together and seem to have some sort of cognition. We see an adult a child rotter in the second episode and there seems to be a primitive relationship between them. Something very different from the usual eat, eat, eat policy we get in all other zombie media.
The writers do a good job of giving us a feel for how bad and horrific the “rising” actually was without showing us what happened. The way Kieran’s mother tooled up and was ready for action and violence, even killing if she had too portrayed the true horror that “the rising” must have been like without using big budget effects and taking time out of the plot to show zombies eating people.
What sets In The Flesh apart is that it doesn’t just look a zombies and rebuilding life post-undead there are other issues explored. The local vicar and leader of the Human Volunteer Force seems to be forcing his close minded, ill informed hatred onto the rest of the town with simple scare tactics and this allows the show to explore other issues. Those of minority discrimination, whether they be PDS sufferers or people from other minorities. Hats off to the writers and producers as what is explored and hinted at is a soft topic and could have led to some negativity but it was pulled off well and the issues were dealt with very well.
One draw back of In The Flesh was that when we did see flashbacks of Kieran, Amy and others in their undead state they looked almost comical. For example Kieran looked like a poorly made Frankenstein from a local theatre production, because of this I struggled to take any of the scenes involving “rabid rotters” seriously.
The last episode of the series has left me with a problem. I’m not sure if I would like to see another series. Writer Dominic Mitchell has very cleverly left a few avenues to explore with future series and there are a lot of questions that I would like to see answered but will they work? or would it just seem like they are fleshing it out and just squeezing every ounce left out of it.
That aside In The Flesh is an excellent mini series, a breathe of fresh air in the undead genre and the finale is almost inappropriately emotional. I did not expect to almost cry as much as I did.