Lewis Gribben, Jay Lycurgo, Buket Komur, Viola Prettejohn, Sue Johnston, Anita Dobson, Robert Lindsay, and Johnny Vegas are among a plethora of names added to the ensemble cast.

Channel 4 has unveiled a selection of initial images featuring the cast joining Ben Wheatley’s high-octane and darkly comic series, Generation Z. Currently in production and filming in Wales, the 6-part series, produced by The Forge (known for Help, National Treasure, Kiri), is a coming-of-age tale for our very peculiar times – infused with a hefty dose of extravagant gore.

Set in the fictional town of Dambury, the type of place with limited opportunities and little to engage. Drab, unassuming, overlooked. It’s the last place one would anticipate the apocalypse to ignite… Yet, when an army convoy overturns near a care home, a chemical leak begins to adversely affect the elderly residents. The OAPs, led by Cecily and Frank, portrayed by Sue Johnston (The Royle Family) and Paul Benthall (The World’s End), elude the clutches of the army seeking to confine their angry, violent, insatiable craving for fresh flesh.

On the night of the outbreak, teenagers – Charlie, Kelly, Steff, and Finn, portrayed respectively by Jay Lycurgo (The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself), Buket Komur (Our House), Lewis Gribben (Somewhere Boy), and Viola Prettejohn (The Nevers) – are leading typical teenage lives: cans, tangled emotions, intricate relationships, and neglecting their A-Level preparations. But the group abruptly finds themselves at the heart of the virus when Kelly’s grandmother Janine, played by Anita Dobson (EastEnders), becomes infected and attacks her.

Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that your domestic life and relationship issues grind to a halt. As the group confronts the zombie horde, they grapple with parental conflicts, betrayals of friendship, and ancient family secrets resurfacing. Life is equally perplexing for the zombies, with the virus stoking singular cravings, introducing an entirely new aspect to their zombie onslaught. Meanwhile, Finn frets for her grandfatherly figure Morgan, portrayed by Robert Lindsay (My Family), when she begins to suspect that there may be more to the chemical spill. What exactly was being transported?

Generation Z delves into intergenerational justice and community disintegration, audaciously satirising a world where reality is more peculiar than fiction. It explores not only the political divides in our society but also the very tangible challenges faced by today’s teenagers.

Joining the core cast of the 6-episode 60-minute series will be Ava Hinds-Jones in her inaugural TV role, alongside comedian Johnny Vegas (Benidorm), Robert James-Collier (Downton Abbey), Suzanne Ahmet (Inside Man), T’Nia Miller (Years and Years), Sophie Stone (The Chelsea Detective), Chris Reilly (The Last Post), D’Angelou Osei Kissiedu (Rocks), Ellie-Mae Siame (His Dark Materials), Robin Hill (Kill List), Gareth Tunley (Kill List), John Hollingworth (The Queen’s Gambit), Maanuv Thiara (DI Ray), Rebecca Humphries (The Crown), Ellora Torchia (The Gold), Andrew Kazamia (London’s Burning), Garrick Hagon (Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope), and Mark Monero (EastEnders).

Ben Wheatley says: “It’s been amazing working on Generation Z with The Forge and Channel 4. It’s my first original series and a project very close to my heart. I hope everyone loves it as much as we do.”

Rebecca Holdsworth, Commissioning Editor at Channel 4, says: “We are so excited that Ben Wheatley has chosen C4 as the place to make his first original TV drama. Generation Z promises to have all of the unique visual flair and mischievous spirit that characterises Ben’s film work; it is in turn wickedly funny, deftly political, and delivers on the kind of eye-popping shocks and thrills that mean this is shaping up to be a zombie drama like no other.”

Generation Z is created by The Forge for Channel 4, in collaboration with ZDF and All3media International. It has been commissioned by Channel 4’s Head of Drama, Caroline Hollick, and Commissioning Editor, Rebecca Holdsworth. The series is written and directed by Ben Wheatley, produced by Alex Kazamia, and executive produced by Ben Wheatley, Mark Pybus, George Faber, and Beth Willis.