The Fades is another show from BBC Three’s growing stack of original British drama. It’s intricate, sprawling, smart and witty. It can also be rather terrifying at times, but in a way more reminiscent of Being Human rather than The Exorcist.
The title of the series is the name given to the dead, or rather their ever-roaming spirits. They should keep themselves to themselves and not annoy the living, but unfortunately for teenager Paul (Iain De Caestecker) and his friend Mac (Daniel Kaluuya), the Fades start to infiltrate everyday reality.
All this may at first sound rather silly, not to mention unoriginal, but thankfully in the hands of writer Jack Thorne (who also penned the two superb This Is England TV series) The Fades succeeds in being a bold and riveting mix of bizarre scares and challenging dilemmas. Characters react and interact in ways that are believable and compelling, and Thorne’s dialogue crackles along nicely without feeling forced or too full of exposition.
Three episodes of the series (the best three, actually) are directed by Tom Shankland, one of the most exciting emerging talents in British filmmaking. His 2008 chiller The Children used dread and suggestion to conjure up unimaginable horrors. It’s great to see him working on such vibrant and exciting new material such as this.
The ending of the series will have you desperate for a second series. It’s currently unclear if it will be recommissioned. I live in hope.
The Fades Series One (2011) is available on DVD and Blu-ray from 2 Entertain, certificate 15.