At 10PM London time, fans of the BBC series In The Flesh took to their social media streams to tell anyone and everyone (but especially the BBC) why they want this show to return for a third season. Using the hashtag #SaveInTheFlesh, fans tweeted up a storm about their favourite Partially Deceased Syndrome suffering characters.
#SaveInTheFlesh Social Media Sunday is an event that takes place on the last Sunday of every month and the aim, according to Tumblr user redeemed-from-the-earth, is “to demonstrate how much love for the show is out there and make sure the BBC knows it.” The last event was noticed by many of those involved in the production of In The Flesh and the fandom has grown a lot since then, after an active campaign to recruit fans.
This Sunday I sat down to watch as fans from all over the world explained why they fell in love with In The Flesh and why new episodes are so important to them. If I wasn’t already sold by this show and the fandom, this even would have been enough to convert me. Not only has In The Flesh inspired a vibrant and creative community, it’s also had significant emotional impact on a lot of viewers.
The voices varied; some gushed about the show in general like, hp-and-fellowship-of-the-ring who said In The Flesh “was brilliantly written, directed, acted and I just couldn’t bare it to go” and my-wayward-wolf who said “I think all tv shows could take a page out of the beautiful book that is ‘In The Flesh’”. Others admired the performances like @LavLavSP – “#SaveInTheFlesh Because @lukenewberry is one of the most talented actors of our days and talent must be supported. @bbcthree @BBCAMERICA“.
Many fans are desperate for more episodes just so they can get some answers. “It would be inhuman to leave us with all those un-answered plotlines” tweeted @iamguida. “What happened to Amy? Why did the Rising occur? What happens to Kieren & Simon?! What happens next!?!” tweeted @ajayco.
On Tumblr there were gifsets, playlists and even some fan art.
Most of the discussion focused on In The Flesh‘s depiction of queer relationships and mental illness, which are definitely noteworthy. “The way In The Flesh handles delicate topics — such as suicide, mental illness, and just general otherness that a lot of shows either shy away from completely or never really make the effort to get right — is amazing” said Tumblr user simonroewalker. “#SaveInTheFlesh because it is incredibly important to have queer characters in the media, especially ones who aren’t caricatures” tweeted @SuperSmashHoe.
There was a lot of talk about tears. Fans tears: “#SaveInTheFlesh or you’ll make people cry. do u want that, ah? AH?” – @iamguida. Character tears: “Kieren Walker will cry. Nobody wants Ren crying, right?” – @RoadNotSoDark. And BBC tears, if the fans follow through on any of their joking zombie themed threats:
“bbcthree bbcamerica IF YOU DON’T RENEW IN THE FLESH FOR A SERIES THREE I WILL WALK UP TO YOUR OFFICES MYSELF AND EAT YOUR EMPLOYEES BRAINS OUT THIS IS A SERIOUS THREAT S E R I O U S” – rottersofroarton
If the BBC do decide to avoid a zombie attack, they could get something out of it. @catrionabux offered to work for free and @MadAuntieKeith will enthusiastically bake you a cake. Also there were a large number of people that seemed to be very upset and/or excited about Simon’s jumpers.
“Because a show with an character who manages to look dashing and adorable in terrible grandpa jumpers is something to be cherished.” – firecracker452
But for me it was the heartfelt personal anecdotes about how In The Flesh has touched individual fans that really got to me. How this show helped them to talk about their mental health issues with family and friends in a way they had never been able to before. How it allowed them to come to terms with their sexuality. How it literally saved their life. I’m not ashamed to say that I got quite emotional reading about the positive effect this show has had on so many lives, even if it was just by introducing them to fellow fans like @katzenpopcorn “I’ve met so many beautiful people and made such amazing friends through #InTheFlesh – I’m so grateful.”
This month’s #SaveInTheFlesh Social Media Sunday made a decent splash. According to a screencap by Tumblr user ronsalon the tag trended and a map posted by redeemed-from-the-earth shows the global reach of the show’s fandom. Actor Emmett J. Scanlan who plays Simon Monroe – yes the jumper guy – joined the fun, tweeting the hashtag. Writer Dominic Mitchell was overwhelmed by the influx of support:
Thanks for all the lovely messages #InTheFlesh fans. Unexpected treat!
— Dominic Mitchell (@DomMitchell) July 27, 2014
As you can see, fans are pretty determined to get see more In The Flesh and I can’t really blame them, it’s a brilliant show but I have to say that the fandom might be even more amazing. I definitely want them to be my best dead friends forever. For more information about how to watch and help save In The Flesh checkout kedreeva’s Tumblr post.
Author: Undie Girl
Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.
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