When fans of zombie drama In the Flesh set their mind to something, the dead shall rise (and rise and rise and rise). With millions of votes cast, the undead masses have already pushed their show through to the final of 2014 TV Show Champion, besting the Peaky Blinders in the semi-finals.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com, star Luke Newberry was clearly grateful for their efforts. “Thank you, endless thank yous,” he said in a message to fans. “They’re the best fanbase that you could ask for. They’re loyal and they’re passionate, and it’s a testament to the show. Their support is incredible.”
The actor believes their commitment reflects the power of In the Flesh’s message of acceptance: “I think that people really connect with the characters, because they’re not characters that we often see in drama. It was amazing recently to do a Comic-con and see people dressed as Kieren and Amy and Simon. People really identify with them.”
While campaigning for votes, many fans are marching under the banner #saveIntheFlesh, with the BBC3 drama yet to be renewed for a third series. “I get a lot of messages from people saying they want a series three,” Newberry says. “They love the series, so they want answers and they want storylines tied up.”
Complicating matters are the BBC’s plans to move the channel online and cut its budget. While not commenting on the plans themselves, Newberry was quick to extol the youth channel’s virtues.
“BBC3 produces such important television and I think the [In the Flesh] fanbase reflects that. It creates important drama and important opportunities for up and coming writers and actors. As long as BBC3 keeps being able to give opportunities to new talent, then that’s the most important thing. It is a channel that takes risks; it’s the riskiest TV channel we have.”
The public consultation on BBC3’s future will open in January, but until then, Newberry fans have another project: getting Luke into Harry Potter. Although cast in Deathly Hallows Part 2, his part was left on the cutting room floor. RadioTimes.com writer Emma Daly argued that he should play the main role as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Fans quickly took to the idea, tweeting under the #LukeforNewt hashtag.
How does Newberry think the campaign is going? “I have no idea, but I’m very flattered. It’s wonderful that there’s people there who want me to play the character, and it looks like it would be an amazing project. It’s very sweet, but I can’t really comment on it.”
But he would be receptive to taking the role? “Yeah, because JK Rowling’s universe is… magic.”
Of course, that’s is a battle for another day. Right now, In the Flesh fans have a titan to take on: Sherlock in the grand final of 2014 Champion.
How does Luke rate In the Flesh’s chances?
“Slim. That’s going to be a tough one because they’re two brilliant shows.”
But surely, working together, the In the Flesh fans can pull it off?
“I… I believe in the fans. Oh that’s a terrible quote! You can’t put that! But it does sound like they’re capable of doing anything.”