Phoo Action, a futuristic kung fu action film written by Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett, will form part of the opening night line-up of the revamped BBC3 next week, debuting on Tuesday 12 February at 10.30pm.
As we reported last July, Phoo Action is based on the comic strip Get The Freebies which appeared in The Face magazine. Written by Matthew Enriquez Wakeham, Peter Martin and Jessica Hynes and produced by Matthew Read for BBC Scotland, the Phoo Action MySpace site explains the show follows the exploits of Terry Phoo, a Buddhist kung-fu law enforcement sweetheart and Whitey Action, an enigmatic young anarchist turned super-cop.
Set in 2012 in a London in a grip of mutant crimnals, the Freebies, they form an unlikely, but effective, crime-fighting team in the face of a super-vile, super-famous army of mutated criminals spat out from the revolutionary Decriminaliser Machine.
Jaime Winstone (Kidulthood) stars as teenage anarchist Whitey Action, Eddie Shin (ER) as martial arts sweetheart Terry Phoo and Rocky legend Carl Weathers as Benjamin Benson, Chief of Police and long-suffering father to the rebellious Whitey.
Jaime Winstone says he loved playing the role of Phoo’s resident teenage anarchist, Whitey Action: “It’s not every day that you wake up and become a super hero… I was happy to be sucked into the comic strip madness!”
The film is described as The Fifth Element meets Enter The Dragon before being beaten and mugged in Sin City on the way home after a Rush Hour inspired night out with the cast and crew of Kung Fu Hustle.
“It’s exciting, it really does look great and it is so good to see the comic strip turned into a TV drama,” says Hewlett of the production. “The costumes, the sets, the creatures are all really faithful to my original stuff. Annie Symons, the costume designer, has done a great job.”
Yet, as writer Wakeham readily admits, it’s proved quite a challenge to bring a comic strip to life for the TV screen.
“I had to try and keep true to the spirit of the characters,” he explains. “It’s been hard. There are differences between the comic strip and the drama. We wanted to make sure there was more emotion in the TV drama. It’s one thing having a satire in a style magazine running once a month, but you want viewers to come back again, and so there have to be human elements that you can connect with.”
The film is part of an overall revamp for BBC3 that will tie-in with a major new multi-platform strategy for the digital channel. From next Tuesday, all BBC3 programmes will be simulcast on the web at www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree.