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New BBC America series proves Life On Mars creators ain’t afraid of no 19th century ghosts

This morning, BBC America announced the new drama series The Living And The Dead, a big risk for the network of Doctor Who, Being Human, The Fades, and the upcoming Intruders, in that it’s a show dealing in paranormal themes and British accents. Co-created by Ashley Pharoah and Matthew Graham of Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes fame (apparently Hand Upon The Ghost was too obscure a David Bowie reference for this go-round), the paranormal themes of The Living And The Dead concern the fittingly British-accented “gentleman farmer” Nathan Appleby. Appleby tills the land in gallant and courteous fashion on the eve of the Industrial Revolution, an ideal setting for hauntings and possessions (if the era’s Gothic fiction and/or Penny Dreadful have taught us anything).

“We are as excited about this show as anything since Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes,” Pharoah and Graham said in a statement.We want it to be moving, tender, sensual… and very, very scary.” They likely also want it to be distinguishable from the 2006 film The Living And The Dead, the 2007 Croatian war movie of the same name, and the graphic novel The Living And The Dead, which was previously optioned for a film adaptation from Session 9 and The Machinist director Brad Anderson. Additionally, despite Appleby’s interest in proving the existence of the paranormal at a time when rudimentary scientific advances could very well aid in that quest, Pharoah and Graham’s The Living And The Dead should not be confused with the Google search results for “steampunk Ghostbusters,” which lack the proper amount of tenderness and sensuality promised by the creators.


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