With In The Flesh, BBC3 gave us huggable zombies

In the Flesh arrived on BBC3 heavy with promise. Here was a drama set to push the zombie genre into uncharted territory and turn the tables on our preconceptions. Pushing genres and turning tables is just what it did, too, or rather, would have done if its appealingly wispy lead Kieren (Luke Newberry) had the upper body strength.

18-year-old PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) sufferer Kieren Walker was no robust brain-muncher, but a guilt-ridden teen with more to bear on his slender shoulders than the angst of being an arty misfit in a small town. In his untreated feral state, he had murdered neighbours and chowed down on the contents of their heads. Post-medication, the grisly contents of his own head spilled out into traumatic flashbacks that haunted his fraught homecoming.

In the Flesh was 2013’s riposte to the macho monopoly on screenzombies. Yes, enough shotguns were fired in the course of its three episodes to keep the NRA grinning, but its politics were liberal, and its lead a sympathetic counterpoint to every blank video-game or movie zombie you’ve seen turned into a bloody wall streak by a hurrahing hero. With one humanising contact lens in and one out, anaemic revenant Kieren looked like a watercolour painting of a teen David Bowie. His washed-out sylph was the first TV zombie you wanted to hug, cook a shepherd’s pie for and help to write his Ucas personal statement.

“I was a teenage zombie,” that statement might begin, “but I’m better now.” Or, to adopt In the Flesh’s satirical take on the language of treatment, “I’m working through it.”

Read the full piece at The Guardian, here.