Zombies are everywhere these days. There are even movies about zombies who ‘reform’ – Warm Bodies even turned them into a subject for a romantic comedy. That’s not quite the direction that BBC America’s miniseries event In the Flesh (part of the network’s Supernatural Saturdays, June 6-8, 10/9C) takes. Here, zombies can rehabilitated and rejoin society rather than remain unthinking, unfeeling, flesh-eating monsters.
In this dramatic variation on a theme, Kieran Walker is a reluctant zombie (or rather, a sufferer of Partially Deceased Syndrome) – reluctant because he committed suicide and doesn’t want to be undead – he’d rather be fully deceased.
Intrigued? Follow the jump for more details – including a look at the main characters.
BBC AMERICA’S IN THE FLESH THREE-NIGHT ZOMBIE MINI-SERIES EVENT BEGINS THURSDAY, JUNE 6
For the undead…life begins again.
“I don’t feel ready. But that’s why they say I am ready…because I’m feeling.”
– Zombie Teenager Kieren Walker, PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) Sufferer
BBC AMERICA’s co-production, In The Flesh, tells a very human story…about the undead. The mini-series springs to life with the channel’s special broadcast event, premiering over three consecutive nights. Zombie teenager Kieren Walker isn’t comfortable in his ‘undead’ state. He didn’t want to come back – he wanted to be dead. After his suicide four years ago, his friends and family thought they’d never see him again. But then, shortly after his funeral, thousands rose from the dead. After months of re-habilitation and medication, the zombies, now known as PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) sufferers, are gradually being returned to their homes. When Kieran returns, he is forced to confront his family, the community that rejected him and the haunting flashbacks of what he did in his untreated state. BBC AMERICA’s special three-night premiere event of In The Flesh begins Thursday, June 6, 10:00pm ET/PT.
In The Flesh explores a post-zombie-uprising – from the zombie’s perspective. The series follows 18-year-old Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry, Anna Karenina, Quartet), a PDS sufferer who, now treated with the medication Neurolax, is deemed ready to return to his parents’ home in the small village of Roarton. Since the passing of the PDS Protection act, the government has set an agenda of acceptance and tolerance, one that is at odds with the communities abandoned at the time of The Rising, and the bloody battle between zombies and humans that ensued. A cauldron of brutal anti-zombie sentiment boils in Roarton, the home of the ‘rotter’ hating Human Volunteer Force (HVF). Can Kieren’s neighbors forgive him for what he did in his untreated state? More importantly can Kieren forgive himself?
In The Flesh takes a fresh approach to the zombie genre, using it to tell a story that tackles real family and domestic issues. It’s about feeling ‘other,’ exploring how chaos is born and the destructive effects it can have on both the individual and the community.
Creator and writer, Dominic Mitchell, on the series: “What’s great about using the zombie genre was I could talk about all those issues, talk about feeling ‘other’ and feeling different and feeling like you can’t come out to your parents…but under the guise of ‘I’m a zombie and my parents don’t recognize me as a zombie’.”
Emily Bevan (The Thick of It), Steve Evets (Shameless), Kenneth Cranham (Upstairs Downstairs), Ricky Tomlinson (The Royle Family), David Walmsley (Doctors), and Harriet Cains (Human Beings) also star in this thought-provoking series about redemption, forgiveness and the battle against prejudice. The three-part series, created and written by Dominic Mitchell, is directed by Jonny Campbell, with Ann Harrison-Baxter serving as producer and Hilary Martin as executive producer.
Twitter: @BBCAMERICA Hashtags: #InTheFlesh
CAST AND PRODUCTION CREDITS
?Kieren Walker Luke Newberry (Anna Karenina, Quartet)
Rick Macy David Walmsley (Doctors, Love Story)
Amy Dyer Emily Bevan (The Thick of It, PhoneShop)
Jemima Walker Harriet Cains (Doctors, Human Beings)
Bill Macy Steve Evets (Shameless, Anna Karenina)
Vicar Oddie Kenneth Cranham (Maleficent, Upstairs Downstairs)
Ken Burton Ricky Tomlinson (The Royle Family, Mike Bassett: Manager)
Philip Wilson Stephen Thompson
Creator and Writer Dominic Mitchell
Director Jonny Campbell
Producer Ann Harrison-Baxter
Executive Producer Hilary Martin
A BBC Drama Production, Salford for BBC three, co-produced with BBC AMERICA.
KIEREN WALKER (Luke Newberry)
At 18-years-old, Kieren’s always been a bit different. As a teen, he was into everything alternative: music, books, counter-culture in general. And he loved hanging out with his best friend, Rick. Instead of confronting his father and opening-up about his shared connection with Kieren, Rick chose to join the army. Kieren was heartbroken. Then, to make matters worse, Kieren heard Rick had died from an IED (improvised explosive device) in Afghanistan. It was all too much to bear and Kieren committed suicide. As an untreated zombie, Kieren hunted in and around his village, Roarton, with his hunting partner, Amy Dyer. Now, treated and ready for rehabilitation, Kieren is filled with guilt for what he did as a rabid zombie and doesn’t want to go home. But he must face his parents and return to the village where he was always the black sheep…even before he died.
RICK MACY (David Walmsley)
Born and bred in Roarton, Rick is the only son of Bill, (the unofficial leader of the village). Growing up, Rick was always encouraged towards macho pursuits, but no matter what he did, he couldn’t hide his growing bond with Kieren. Rather than be open with his dad about his close relationship with outsider Kieren, Rick joined up. The army was perfect for Rick – it was an escape from his feelings and his father’s judgments, that is, until he was killed by an IED. Now Rick’s alive again (as a treated zombie). However, his dad’s feelings towards ‘rotters’ haven’t changed. Rick must try and keep his new condition covered up, and the connection with Kieren, that is as strong as ever, under wraps too.
AMY DYER (Emily Bevan)
Kooky and irrepressible, Amy grew up with her grandmother and was a star pupil at the local grammar school. With a burning lust for life, hers was cut way too short. Amy was diagnosed with leukemia and soon after lost her fight to the disease. In her untreated state, Amy paired up with Kieren and they became a formidable hunting partnership during ‘The Rising.’ Now back in Roarton, Amy’s lonely without her grandmother, but when she sees Kieren again, she’s delighted. The partially deceased Amy still has a great lust for life, which has intensified tenfold because she’s experienced both death and life, and much prefers the latter. She doesn’t stand on ceremony, is proud as punch and always tells it to you straight. Amy makes Kieren laugh and feel less alone. She’s a bright spark in his darkest hours.
JEMIMA WALKER (Harriet Cains)
When Kieren died, Jem was lost. She filled the void Kieren left by joining the Human Volunteer Force shortly after ‘The Rising’ started, and quickly shot up the ranks. Ballsy and opinionated, Jem was nicknamed the ‘Rambo of Roarton’ by Bill Macy (leader of the HVF). She was treated like his own daughter and felt at home with the HVF (even though she carries the guilt of Lisa Lancaster’s death, her HVF partner). Jem feels many emotions with Kieren’s return – denial, anger, mistrust. But she also feels joy – she just doesn’t show it. She won’t allow him to see that emotion, no way.
BILL MACY (Steve Evets)
Bill comes from a long line of working class laborers and army men. Intimidating, no nonsense – Bill sees the world in black and white, good versus evil. During ‘The Rising’ he created the Human Volunteer Force in Roarton with Vicar Oddie and proved himself a furious fighter: the ‘shepherd of Roarton’ with numerous zombie kills under his belt. Even though it’s four years later, the village still feels in his debt and Bill makes sure they know it, exercising a ruthless power and control over the community. When Rick returns, Bill is completely in denial about what his son really is, refusing to acknowledge he is one of his sworn PDS sufferer enemies – even if Rick has the scars to prove it.
VICAR ODDIE (Kenneth Cranham)
After the disappointment and confusion that the millennium didn’t herald the end of times, religious zealot, Oddie, became bitter and turned to alcohol. Posted to the quiet backwater of Roarton, Oddie faced further sadness when his wife Helen died. However, the rising of the dead made him a man re-born and along with Bill and his two stooges, Dean and Gary, Oddie formed the HVF and became Roarton’s rock. Ever since he was a young curate, Oddie’s always had a love of the Book of Revelation – seeing it as eternally hopeful, with good finally triumphing over evil. It’s through using this book that he passionately believes that when all the imposters of what he calls the First Rising are dealt with, there will be a Second Rising for the truly righteous.
PHILIP WILSON (Stephen Thompson)
A childhood friend of Kieren and Rick, Philip is now working his way up the ranks of Roarton’s powerful Parish Council, where he hopes to become Oddie’s right hand man – a big fish in a small pond. He’s not a fighter. Instead he prefers the power won by politics, rather than punching. His ambition and underhand tactics help him climb the greasy pole, as does his very public anti-PDS stance. But behind closed doors, Philip may not be quite the saint he seems. Living with his mom, Shirley (the village PDS Liaison Officer), can he keep his secrets hidden forever?
KEN BURTON (Ricky Tomlinson)
Ken lives on the same street as the Walkers and is a pillar of the Roarton community. He is an outspoken anti-PDS campaigner and an old friend of Bill’s. The PDS Protection Act will prove to have far reaching consequences for Ken.
Part One premieres Thursday, June 6, 10:00pm ET/PT.
Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferer Kieren Walker returns home to the cauldron of Roarton, but doesn’t receive a warm welcome. His parents, Steve and Sue, are undoubtedly pleased to see him, but his sister, Jem, isn’t so ready to pick up where they left off when Kieren died back in 2009. Meanwhile, the zombie-hating Human Volunteer Force, led by the violent Bill Macy, is ready to take action against any PDS sufferer reintegrated on their patch.
Part Two premieres Friday, June 7, 10:00pm ET/PT.
Feeling trapped at home, Kieren escapes to his grave where he is reunited with his old hunting partner, Amy Dyer, who persuades him to take a dangerous day trip. Kieren discovers that Rick, his former best mate who died in Afghanistan, is back in town. Amy convinces Kieren to go and see him at The Legion. After an awkward reunion, Kieren finds himself on an HVF hunting mission in the woods, where the night patrol has reported live rabid zombies roaming free.
Part Three premieres Saturday, June 8, 10:00pm ET/PT.
After visiting the supermarket where he used to hunt with Amy, Kieren remembers that Jem once spared his life. Together, brother and sister confront the demons in their pasts and visit Mr. and Mrs. Lancaster (the parents of the girl from Kieren’s flashbacks, who fell victim to Kieren and Amy in the supermarket). Kieren feels momentarily better, but then has to say goodbye to Amy who is leaving Roarton in search of The Prophet. Will Kieren and Rick be able to find peace and acceptance as PDS sufferers in this highly-charged new world?
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Photos by Des Willie/Courtesy BBC America