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AS popular as crime dramas are, they all have a lifespan. Waking the Dead, which had a storyline that was rooted in the solving of cold cases, garnered a large number of intrigued fans during its nine- season run.
However, as the adage goes, when one door shuts, another opens, and such is the case with the birth of The Body Farm.
The Waking the Dead spin-off series is centred on Tara Fitzgerald who returns as forensic pathologist Dr Eve Lockhart. And she has a new team and a new lab, situated on a remote country road in Cheshire.
In this seven-episode series, Eve helps Detective Inspector Craig Hale (Keith Allen) to solve a series of grisly murders by using the lab’s hi-tech equipment and the ground-breaking research techniques of the team.
Par for the course with such intense storytelling is a derailment into the personal lives of the protagonists. And the writers didn’t scoff at the chance to take such liberties.
In an interview with CultBox, Fitzgerald tells fans more about her introduction to a new locale.
She explains: “We meet her in a grander setting than we have previously seen her in the Walking the Dead – in her own research facility, The Body Farm, with her partner Mike as well some younger scientists. She’s independent, freelancing, but in need of financial support.”
The latter aspect becomes the catalyst in her crossing paths with DI Hale.
Fitzgerald elaborates: “Eve has had some involvement with him in the past and he starts to bring cases to them that he needs help solving.”
Interestingly, Eve’s research facility was known about in Waking the Dead, so the progression of her story is more credible as the follow-on tries to gain momentum.
The 44-year-old explains: “Grace and Boyd (characters from Waking the Dead) came down to see her there on a couple of occasions. But it became difficult to embody the concept within such an established show – so it was just occasionally spoken about following that.”
On being thrown a lifeline with her own show, Fitzgerald says: “I was very excited – its sort of like playing with a bigger canvas really. Obviously, there were limitations within the format of Waking the Dead, in terms of what forensic scientists could do, and there is a limit to their involvement with the cases. This is a chance for Eve to be something more.
“I wasn’t quite sure what the dynamic would be with the new team, and how they were going to introduce new cases each week, but it just worked.”
As for the selection of Eve’s team, she shares: “In this situation, we are more family-oriented. Eve hand-picked Oggy and Rosa to be part of her team, and she has a history with Mike so there is a real sense of personal involvement.
“Eve and Mike’s history is something of a mystery to the audience – we know they’ve known each other for a long time, 20 years or so, so it’s clear there’s something unresolved between them.”
And with Hale and Eve striking up a relationship, while trying to mask their obvious attraction to one another, it makes things rather interesting to say the least.
In the first episode, titled Peace for the Wicked, Hale seeks out the help of Eve and her team when he comes across the remains of two local boys in a disused council flat.
Murder and the cover-ups – let’s hope The Body Farm proves to be just as intriguing as the personal dilemmas of Eve and her team – and you don’t need to conduct an ocular autopsy to figure this out.
The Body Farm starts on BBC Entertainment (DStv channel 120) tonight at 8pm.