The Fades: Producer Interview
SFX interview with The Fades producer Caroline Skinner.
SFX: What can we expect tonally from the show?
Jack Thorne (Skins, This Is England ’86) who writes the show is an extraordinary talent. In a lot of the things he’s been writing recently, he manages to blend a huge range of styles and tones, from comedy to fantasy. I think one of the things we’ve been really keen to hang on to – it would be totally and utterly wrong to say this was a comedy drama because genetically it’s rooted in fantasy and horror. I think that the truth of the stories and the truth of the characters is down to the relationships and the comedy between various characters, particularly our two leads, Paul and Mac.
What does Iain De Caestecker, who is playing Paul, bring to the role?
When we first met Iain in casting, he just walked in and blew everyone away in the audition. Ian has this extraordinary every man quality about him; he’s a really subtle actor, which is brilliant because he’s having to pull off so many mad moments as he discovers his powers. It’s no easy job to be able to play someone who’s going through that level of character development. He’s got a really beautiful and winning way about him.
Where does Mac (Daniel Kaluuya) fit in to things?
Mac is probably our second lead. He and Paul are the double act at the heart of the show. Beneath everything, the show is a really charming love story of best friends. It’s the story of Paul discovering that he is extraordinary, and spending a lot of time with his best friend Mac, who is a bit of a geek and doesn’t have any special powers. When you see those two guys on set together they’re pulling off really beautiful things, and I hope the sheer charm and the humour between the two of them will really strike everybody as they watch it. Seeing the way they interact is really exciting.
Who are the other main characters?
We’ve got our team of Angelics, so there’s Neil (Johnny Harris), who’s a bit of a loner and a warrior. That’s his power, he leads fight against the Fades. He used to be friends with a character call Mark (Tom Ellis) who is an ordinary school teacher, and his wife Sarah (Natalie Dormer) who is an Angelic with special powers. One of the sub-plots we’re telling is the story of those people who have super powers but have been forced onto the margins of society. Neil has taken himself out of the town and lives in a caravan in the middle of nowhere and is preparing himself for battle as the dead begin to come back. Sarah is a seer, she has the power to see the future. We open the show with her realising just how bad it’s going to get. The third Angelic we get is Helen who is an unlikely hero, she’s a vicar who also has the ability to heal people. They’re our core team of Angelics.
The Fades will be showing on BBC Three – do you feel any pressure following the likes of Being Human, especially as The Fades is similarly set in a fantasy landscape with a youthful cast?
Obviously it’s a BBC Three show, and we’re really excited about that. It’s targeted at that kind of an audience, but I’m hoping it’ll have a broad appeal as well. There’s a specific sort of probably slightly more youthful audiences than you’d get on BBC One and BBC Two that love sci-fi and fantasy, but the sheer epic scale of it and the type of storytelling we’re doing should impact upon everyone. If you enjoy sci-fi it shouldn’t really matter what age you are, you should be able to enjoy it and the characters.
It feels as if whatever else is going on in the big panorama of the show, actually the warmth and the humour and the comedy should be one of things people really enjoy. There are a lot of in-jokes that if you’re a real geek I think you’ll really pick up on.
We’ve tried to keep the sweep as epic as possible in terms of the fantasy elements, that’s one of the things that’s been very excited. It’s very much underpinned by some very big themes about life and death, and although it should feel rooted in the everyday it’s got something quite big to say at the same time.