Red Alert

Trop­i­cal get­away turns into the hol­i­day from hell in BBC Three’s mythic Maori thriller

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EVer heard the one about the el­e­gant Chi­nese script tat­too that trans­lated as “soggy pork buns”? Kyle, the Lon­don lad at the heart of BBC Three’s new su­per­nat­u­ral drama Tatau, has all those sto­ries beat. Af­ter all, how many back­street ink jobs can claim to have po­ten­tially apoc­a­lyp­tic con­se­quences?

“Kyle has this Maori tat­too put on al­most as a fash­ion state­ment, but re­alises it has a much deeper sig­nif­i­cance that he was com­pletely ig­no­rant and un­aware of,” writer Richard Za­jdlic tells Red Alert. “But boy is he not ig­no­rant and un­aware of it by the end!”

Tatau is the brain­child of Za­jdlic, a Bri­tish screen­writer mak­ing his first foray into genre telly with this eight- episode, New Zealand and Cook Is­lands- set mur­der mys­tery steeped in Maori cul­ture. It fol­lows Kyle ( Joe Lay­ton) and Budgie ( Theo Barklem- Biggs), two party- hard best buds who quit their jobs to travel the world, stop­ping off at the Cook Is­lands to soak up some lo­cal cul­ture. Things soon turn sour when Kyle dis­cov­ers a dead body while snorkelling in a la­goon, only to later learn the aquatic corpse is very much alive and well. Not only that, the Maori- style tat­too he had back home is earn­ing him some funny looks from the lo­cals…

The show was shot al­most en­tirely on the

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