“It’s very different, very different. It’s hard to say…It’s not really ‘The Next…’ anything, which is really exciting.”
In The Flesh takes place in a Britain recovering from a zombie outbreak. Medical advances mean that those suffering from PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) can be rehabilitated and returned home. One of the homecoming is Kieren (Newberry), who realises that many in his local community still harbour a fierce hatred for the walking dead. It’s a politically and socially aware programme that uses the superatural element to address wider issues.
“There was always the sense, from the moment I read the script, that you forget it’s about zombies,” Newberry told us.
“And it’s sort of not about zombies at all, in the conventional sense. It’s a twist on zombies. It’s not that there are lots of people back from the dead and running around eating people, although that has happened. This is a condition and something that people are living with.”
As Kieren returns home he attempts to settle back in with his family, but many of the locals are dead set against the return of any PDS sufferers and will do anything to prevent it. With themes of re-integration and prejudice right at the forefront, it’s a drama first and a genre show second.
“On set it was like just being in a Ken Loach film or This Is England. And occasionally I’d have days where I’d have a prosthetic face, eating brains and stuff, but it felt like I’d forget the genre element of it. I think that’s really interesting, it kind of creates a whole new genre.”
Newberry is very excited to be a part of a drama that places such a heavy emphasis on social issues.
“I think that just adds real quality and real meaning,” he tells us. “There are zombie things and vampire things that are just about vampires and that’s great. But this is mixing two different things which really make it totally believable. It’s a totally unbelievable scenario but by the end of it you’re kind of thinking, ‘Oh, I’m lucky I’m not PDS.’ And of course it’s not real, but I think it’s important that drama, whatever genre it is, should have heart and meaning and politics, and I think In The Flesh has a bit of everything, really.”
In the Flesh starts this Sunday 17 March at 10.00pm on BBC3. You can read our review of the excellent first episode here.