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United Kingdom 1998
Directed by
Joe Ahearne
6 x 50 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
David Michael Brown
3 stars


Synopsis: London is over run by vampires; hiding themselves amongst the unsuspecting city folk and feeding on the weak in the squalid neon-lit streets. In this new world of vampire hit squads a heavily-armed government army has been formed to destroy this vermin. It's a war out there. Michael Colefield (Jack Davenport) is a cop who loses his best friend to the plague and is recruited into the secret society of vampire killers. Headed by Dr Angie March (Susannah Harker) and Vaughan Rice (Idris Elba) they travel around the capital slaying anything with fangs in a desperate attempt to save the human race.

Ultraviolet is CSI: London with teeth. Atmospherically shot, it's high concept television with a twist, well-produced and well-acted but with a trashy plot that often veers towards soap-style dramatics.

Vampire folklore is adhered to in a modern way. The fanged ones travel in cars with heavily tinted windows but are long-past sleeping in coffins. Garlic and crosses are no longer the chosen methods of destroying the bloodsuckers, now the forces use specially-designed guns with carbon-based dum dum bullets, video technology and ultraviolet lights to find hidden vampire bitemarks. The series is full of deft touches; Colefield's new bosses are financed by the British Government - "Why not? It's a public health issue" - rich, old vampires invest in charities that help blood disorders such as aids and leukaemia as they want to invest in their food supply for the future, and so on.

Many will know Jack Davenport from his role as Miles in the cult British TV show This Life, the second series of which was written and directed by Joe Ahearne. He is fine in the role of the sceptical Michael but perhaps accepts the existence of vampires a little too quickly. The show does descend into a standard format after the first episode but the ongoing plot lines that run continuously throughout hold the interest. The production values are excellent and the sombre moody score evokes a sinister edge, its got bite and, like all the best in British drama, is worth a look.

DVD Extras: The double-disc set features a Kult-TV Trailer, World Promotions launch promo, screensaver, biographies and a selection of stills.

Available from: Shock Entertainment




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