Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson is switching from uncouth to undead in a new BBC zombie drama.

He will appear alongside veteran actor Kenneth Cranham in a new three-part BBC3 series, In The Flesh, which began filming this week.

It stars newcomer Luke Newberry as Kieren Walker, a teenage zombie who is reabsorbed into society.

In the story – set in the fictional village of Roarton – thousands of people are brought back to life after a freak occurrence.

The zombies then spend months in rehabilitation and receiving medication before returning to their families.

Kenneth – whose movies include Layer Cake and Hot Fuzz – plays a manipulative vicar who controls Roarton by whipping up religious fervour.

Ricky – known for his years as Bobby Grant in Brookside and Jim Royle in The Royle Family – is to play one of the villagers at the centre of the drama.

Director Jonny Campbell – who was behind acclaimed BBC drama Eric And Ernie – said: “From the moment I read the opening scene I was hooked. What’s most exciting about In The Flesh is that it challenges our preconceptions about the standard zombie genre and in so doing almost certainly creates a new one.”