What I said: Watch this show it's really goodWhat I meant: For the love of God please watch this I need friends who understand my pain I need someone to talk about it with that hasn't heard all my opinions a billion times please I am begging you
OKAY FUCKERS SIT THE FUCK DOWN WHILE I TELL YOU A THING
So I’ve seen a ton of people who say they won’t watch BBC’s In The Flesh because they’re “not into the whole zombie thing”. WELL BUDDY I GOT NEWS FOR YOU. For starters, the term ‘zombie’ is politically incorrect. The right term is Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS) sufferers, the Undead or (according to some radicals) the Redeemed.
secondly, I made you a list.
THINGS THAT IN THE FLESH IS ABOUT OTHER THAN THE UNDEAD:
- Oppression - A lot of people in this show were not too happy about PDS sufferers being integrated back into normal society. The Human Volunteer Force (HVF) were a vigilante army-style group who took it up on themselves to protect the living from the undead when they were in their ‘rabid’ untreated state. While this is arguably a good thing, most of them were not at all pleased about PDS sufferers being allowed to live in their communities. PDS sufferers deal with bullying, slurs (‘rotters’ and ‘dead ‘uns’) and even murder simply because they are PDS. There’s even a radical, anti-PDS, living-extremist political party named ‘Victus’ who are now representing Roarton.
- Complicated family relationships - so our protagonist is Keiren Walker, a PDS sufferer from the small, fictional, Lancashire village of Roarton. He has a younger sister, Jem, who just happens to have been one of the fiercest and most well-known fighters in the Roarton division of the HVF. So obviously there’s a lot of tension and awkwardness there. Not to mention Keiren’s dad who, despite being adorably awkward and bumbling, has no clue how to cope with the news that his only son is PDS. Especially in series one, Steve Walker skirts around Keiren’s condition and almost tries to pretend it doesn’t exist. But Keiren’s not the only one with family issues. In Series One we see the horribly complex relationship between Keiren’s (also PDS) best friend and possible romantic interest Rick and his father, who was the head of the HVF.
- Poor self-image/low self-esteem -Keiren is so upset by his appearance as a PDS sufferer that he feels the need to put a towel over the mirror when he removes his cover-up mousse and contact lenses (given free to all PDS sufferers when they were in the treatment centres, so they can mingle back into normal society). He also for a short time wore the contact lenses all the time, even when sleeping.
- Mental Illness -Keiren suffers from depression. Or rather, according to BDFF (best dead friend forever) Amy Dyer, he’s a ‘soppy optimist with depressive tendencies’ - the tendencies being suicide. Jem has PTSD, often suffering from nightmares and flashbacks of the things she did during the rising and the consequent war between the living and the untreated PDS sufferers. Simon Monroe, a PDS extremist, has shown signs of being mentally unstable.
- Sexuality - Keiren, the main character, is queer - most likely pansexual. A direct quote from the show’s creator "Keiren’s not gay, but he’s not straight. I think he’s more in love with the person than their gender." It was strongly hinted, though never confirmed, that Keiren had a romantic and/or sexual relationship with best friend Rick before they both died. However he frequently joked with “BDFF” Amy that they were going to get married. And we now have canon proof of his romantic interest in Simon. The best part of all of this? Neither Keiren’s sexuality or his mental illness are defining points of his character.
OTHER REASONS TO WATCH IN THE FLESH.
- Strong BAMF female characters who are not sexualised in any way. Keiren’s sister Jem is tough as old boots, sassy as hell, basically an all round boss-ass bitch and not sexualised. Amy Dyer, Keiren’s “BDFF”, is a ray of sunshine in the admittedly dark nature of the show. She’s bubbly, bright, funny, self-confident, she has hella fashion game, and is not sexualised. Maxine Martin is the leader of the Victus, strong in her opinions, self-confident, clever, driven, level headed and not sexualised. Also, this totally awesome love-to-hate-her politician is a woman of colour, and a damn sexy one at that.
- Despite the dark nature of it, it’s funny.There are great lines in this show like “Your brother’s got a habit of popping back.” - Steve Walker. “I ate breakfast five years ago and I’m still full.” - Keiren Walker. “Village of the damned, how may I help you?” - Amy Dyer. “Not body parts? My breasts? My… derrière? Filthy animal!” - Amy Dyer (asking Keiren what he and Simon were talking about.
- LOOK AT THE ACTORS.
This is Luke Newberry (Keiren). Pretty, no?
Emily Bevan (Amy Dyer). Lovely, isn’t she?
Harriet Cains (Jem Walker) AKA my dream woman.
Emmett J Scanlan (Simon Monroe). He is the sexiest man alive do not fight me on this. (He’s also Irish, what’s not to love.)
Kevin Sutton (Gary Kendal). Do not let Kevin’s adorable pretty face throw you. Gary is the king of the cock wombles.
Wunmi Mosaku (Maxine Martin). Again.Don’t let her beauty fool you. She’s a dick. (But the kind of dick you can’t help loving.)
In the Flesh is the best thing ever to happen to the world and if you’re not watching it why not because you should be.
It’s on Sundays at 10PM on BBC3 and not watching it is a waste of owning a television.
In The Flesh
- You’re such a soppy optimist.
- Optimist? Amy, I killed myself.
- Ok, so you’re an optimist with depressive tendencies.
BBC TV series, created by Dominic Mitchell
Premise: Kieren Walker is a teenager who died in 2009 and, along with around 140,000 other people, rose from the grave as a mindless, bloodthirsty zombie. After a bloody struggle, the zombies were either killed, or like Kieren, captured and medically treated by the government, restoring sentience and removing the need to kill. Now he, along with other “Partially Deceased Syndrome Sufferers”, are being returned to their communities. Kieren’s community is the rural, northern English village of Roarton, which suffered badly during the outbreak and had to organise its own defence. Kieren was an outsider there even before he died, so he isn’t expecting a warm welcome, and he doesn’t get one.
Zombies: Zombies are dead, shambling, carnivores until they are treated. Daily injections of a new, mostly untested drug bring back their minds and memories, and remove the need for brains - at the cost of horrific flashbacks to their untreated state, and they remain dead. The outbreak’s causes are unknown but zombies aren’t infectious, treated or not.
Why I like it: I love this show. It creates - with very little exposition - a world that feels very real. You may not like the vigilante group that hunt down rehabilitated zombies, but you understand the social and personal reasons behind their behaviour. The government department charged with dealing with the undead is a recognisable mess of bureaucracy, good intentions and harsh practicalities. The art design on the show, from the makeup to the flyers and graffiti, is brilliantly detailed. Whilst the conflicting pro and anti-undead factions in Raising Stony Mayhall were politically interesting, they sometimes felt to me like variables in a thought experiment. The equivalent groups in In The Flesh feel completely organic. The series uses its zombies as a metaphor for people considered “other” very effectively because they are treated as very ordinary people with a strange but manageable condition, rather than playing up their possibly supernatural natures. As such they’re fully relatable - no superpowers or glamorous secrets, just social stigma and hiding from prejudiced curtain-twitching and worse neighbours. I love the setting of the show and the sense of place - it’s very specific, and as far as I’m aware pretty unusual for zombie stories, both in the fact that it’s rural northern England and in that it’s not post-apocalyptic - more post-war, with all the tensions that situation creates. But the reason I love it so much is because you can’t help but get ridiculously invested in these characters, particularly Kieren and his family. And also with his best friend Rick… The writing and performances throughout are flawless. There are only 3 episodes of one hour each in the first series, but you will need tissues for the series finale. There’s a second series on the way soon, and I can’t recommend catching up before then strongly enough. The show is funny, low-key, insightful, beautiful, heartbreaking and cathartic. Pretty much perfect.
There are now two seasons (3 episodes in season one, 6 in season two). If you can, purchase the DVD’s or watch the episodes on Amazon Video, as this will actually help with the continuation of the show. Here in the states, you may be able to watch some or all of the show on BBC America On-Demand, as well. Please watch through official channels if you’re able, as BBC3, the show’s home network, is apparently switching to online-only, so the future of the show is in question.
This show is SPECTACULAR. Wonderfully written, brilliantly acted, and beautifully shot. It also includes fantastic LGBTQ (no queerbaiting like so many of my other favorite shows/fandoms) and female characters, and great depictions of mental health issues. Also, it has love, humor, family, friendships, drama, and badassery. PLEASE WATCH IT!
Sherlockians, can you help us out?
Hi Sherlockians, this is a message from the Rotter Club / The Redeemed / The Rotters… basically, In The Flesh fans (we haven’t really decided what to call ourselves yet).
Anyway, do you remember this ridiculously young but ridiculously cute police officer from A Scandal In Belgravia?
That is Luke Newberry. He is a big fan of yours:
Luke is the lead on In The Flesh, where he plays the ridiculously cute Kieren Walker:
Kieren is a Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferer. This means he is a zombie, but he takes medication that means he can live a mostly normal life with his family in a small isolated village in the north of England. Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferers wear make-up and contact lenses to make them appear more normal, but here is Kieren without his disguise:
Unfortunately, he faces a lot of prejudice from people who can’t accept that things have moved on and persecute him and people like him.
The show is one of the best examinations of the oppression of people considered Other ever put on TV. It deals with depression, PTSD in war veterans, suicide, terrorism and extremism while never losing sight of its richly drawn characters. Also, Kieren Walker is canonically queer but the plot doesn’t revolve around his sexuality.
It has won BAFTAs for writing and for best mini-series, and Luke was nominated for a Best Actor BAFTA for the first series.
Like Sherlock, there are only 9 episodes. The problem is, we don’t know if this show is ever going to come off hiatus after the last episode airs on Sunday night (next Saturday on BBC America). It airs on BBC Three and that channel is moving to online only and its drama budget is being slashed.
It would be amazing if you could help us and Luke, and save our show. Please watch it and tweet #SaveInTheFlesh