Why you should watch ‘In The Flesh’

12:00 pm EDT, July 3, 2014

Need a new TV fix to see you through the summer? BBC Zombie drama In The Flesh is the show you need.

We all know how the summer can get: you’ve binged Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, Game of Thrones is over for another year, Doctor Who and The Walking Dead don’t start again until the end of the holidays, and you’ve got another year and a half until Sherlock waltzes back on to our screens.

Well fear not, TV lovers – because In The Flesh is here to fill these hot summer months with zombies, melancholy, and nail-biting tension.

Don’t worry though, In The Flesh isn’t just The Walking Dead in northern England, but an incredibly unique and deeply effective character drama. The first series premièred on BBC Three last year, and went on to win the BAFTA for Best Mini Series, as well as Best Writer for the series creator Dominic Mitchell (an especially considerable feat when you remember that this was his first foray into television).

inthefleshimageIn The Flesh takes place in the seemingly sleepy village of Roarton in Lancashire, soon after a zombie apocalypse. The war on zombies is over and, miraculously, scientists have found a way to medicate the undead and re-integrate them into society.

The problem is, not all of the human population want the “rotters” back – and some of the Partially Deceased Syndrome Sufferers don’t want to be treated either. As we join him, the main character Kieran Walker is preparing to leave his treatment centre and re-join his family. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t just have to deal with the hatred and prejudices of the villagers of Roarton (birthplace of the Human Volunteer Force, the home-made military that won the war), but also his own personal struggles with his sister and parents.

In the unforgiving world of In The Flesh, newly-medicated zombies don’t just have to deal with the struggles of re-integration, but also face up to the atrocities they committed in their untreated state. What’s more, the circumstances of their deaths still linger above many PDS sufferers, as well as their families and friends.

What we get is some of the most nail-biting, tear-jerking, heart-pounding dramatic scenes you’ve seen in a long time.


Now, there are a few things you should know about In The Flesh before you start your journey. First of all, it’s a BBC Three production. What does that mean? Well, BBC Three dramas typically have very low budgets in comparison to their BBC One counterparts. For the most part, the production team hide their lack of funds well with some slick, cinematic visuals and very artistic storytelling techniques. However, in the earlier episodes you might notice a slightly cheaper look than you’re used to.

There are two series of In The Flesh so far – and neither of them are as long as the epic seasons American networks put out. Series 1 took the Sherlock route, with just three initial episodes. Thankfully, the second run was extended to six episodes (and hopefully the trend continues with series 3…). The good news? It won’t take you long to catch up. The bad news? You could marathon the entire show so far in an afternoon, so it might be an idea to space it out a bit.

inthefleshimage2 Despite the modest budget and slim runtime, the latest entry in the zombie drama craze is a rewarding watch. This isn’t a stupid, dumbed-down story about zombies. This is a clever and poignant drama which uses zombies to tell stories. A uniformly expert cast breathe life (if you’ll pardon the pun) into the excellently written characters, all directed with plenty of aplomb and visual flair.

The show explores some high-concept moral dilemmas and big political debates, but on a decidedly small and often claustrophobic stage. Still, there’s plenty of scope: with anti-undead political parties, dark and seedy criminal underworlds and a zombie prophet all lurking in the shadows…

Still not convinced? Check out the trailer for In The Flesh season 1 below.

In The Flesh airs on BBC Three in the U.K. and BBC America in the United States.

Will you be watching In The Flesh?

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