Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson to star in new BBC3 zombie drama, In The Flesh

by Lynn Connolly

The BBC have today announced the cast line-up for a new BBC Three zombie drama which is entitled, In The Flesh, which includes The Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson and Shine On Harvey Moon star, Kenneth Cranham.

Written by Dominic Mitchell, the drama will be directed by Jonny Campbell, who worked on the award-winning drama, Eric And Ernie.

The BBC’s press release states…

Playing the role of Kieren Walker, Luke Newberry leads the cast together with David Walmsley (best friend, Rick Macy), Emily Bevan (fellow zombie, Amy Dyer) and Harriet Cains (sister, Jem Walker). Joining them are Ricky Tomlinson (Ken Burton) Steve Evets (Bill Macy) and Kenneth Cranham (Vicar Oddie) (Hellbound: HellRaiser II).

In The Flesh is the story of teenager Kieren Walker and his reintegration back into both the local community and the heart of his family. After his death four years ago, his friends and family thought they’d never see Kieren again…

But then, shortly after his funeral, thousands of the dead were re-animated in one freak night; and now, after months of re-habilitation and medication, the zombies are gradually being returned to their homes.

With its central themes of redemption, forgiveness, acceptance, denial, and the very essence of what it means to be alive or dead, In The Flesh is a complex but tender look at what happens when families get a second chance at mending their past and working together towards an unpredictable future.

Set in the fictional village of Roarton, In The Flesh started filming on Sunday 21 October and is shot around the North West of England.

The cast also includes Alex Arnold (Alex) (Skins), Steve Cooper (Steve Walker), Marie Critchley (Sue Walker), Stephen Thompson (Philip Wilson), Sandra Hugget (Shirley Wilson), Gerard Thompson (Dean), Kevin Sutton (Gary), John Owen-Jones (Keith), Karen Henthorn (Janet Macy), Oliver Birch (Giles Weir), Steve Garti (Duncan Lancaster), Juliet Ellis (Patty Lancaster).

Dominic Mitchell’s In The Flesh was discovered by Drama North through ‘Northern Voices’, a BBC Writersroom scheme.

Zai Bennett, Controller of BBC Three, said, “It’s a testament to Dominic Mitchell’s fantastic script that some of the greats of UK drama are joining our exciting young actors for BBC Three’s new zombie drama, In The Flesh.”

Director Jonny Campbell added, “From the moment I read the opening scene I was hooked. Dominic is an utterly fearless and instinctive young writer with an uncanny ability to tell a great story full of humour and humanity in a most original way.

“An elusive and rare combination in TV drama. What’s most exciting about In The Flesh is that it challenges our pre-conceptions about the standard zombie genre and in so doing almost certainly creates a new one.”

Writer Dominic Mitchell remarked, “When I took part in the fantastic BBC Writersroom Northern Voices scheme, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my drama about the medicated undead would be produced, let alone with such an incredibly talented cast and crew attached.”

And finally, actor Luke Newberry said, “I am really excited to be playing Kieren who is an amazingly complex character.

“He is on an unthinkable rollercoaster of a journey, one in which he has been given a second chance at life and he has to come to terms with how to deal with that.

“The characters may look like zombies but this is a very human story about people trying to survive.”

It hasn’t yet been announced when In The Flesh will air, but we will of course keep you posted.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.