Ultraviolet: Complete Series (1998) Review

UltravioletShowing on Channel 4 in 1998, the British horror TV series Ultraviolet ran for just series of six episodes then disappeared.

Due to this fact I missed it the first time around and knowing friends and colleagues who had watched it and loved it, I was blissfully happy to hear it was finally getting released on DVD.

Thankfully Ultraviolet does live up to its cult status and hype, unlike many older TV shows that people rave and reminisce about which are ultimately disappointing when they are revisited.

Not only a gripping and thrilling slice of TV action horror that has stood the test of time, Ultraviolet also more than stands alongside current shows in the same blood stained vein, in many cases excelling them with its highly original and innovative ideas on the subject that it’s based around – vampires.


Detective Sergeant Michael Colefield (Jack Davenport, before all the other TV and Pirate films) is a man out of his depth. Whilst searching for his best friend that has gone A.W.O.L the night before his wedding, Michael blunders into a hidden world of vampires that his friend has now become a part of.

Having seen more than he should he is recruited by a shady government team tasked with the responsibility of keeping the blood sucking leeches (or Code 5’s as they call them) under control and out of public view.


Run by Catholic priest, Pearse (Philip Quast) the team includes no nonsense solider Vaughn Rice (the amazing Idris Elba) and scientist Angela March (Susannah Harker) all of whom are as wary of Michael as he is of them and their methods – most of which are unorthodox and dangerous.

Coming to terms with his new life and the shocking realisation that monsters really do walk among us, Michael must be on his guard, not only from his new colleagues but the hidden fraternity of fanged felons that seem set to recruit him to their side.

Written and directed by Joe Ahearne, who went on to write for the new Doctor Who as well as working with Danny Boyle on Trance and David S. Goyer on Da Vinci’s Demons, Ultraviolet is a short series bursting with brilliant concepts and ideas. It’s made more impressive given that the vampire genre, even back in the 90’s, had already had so many incarnations.

Making the series modern day allows Ahearne to explore what would really happen if vampires existed, with all the conspiracies and cover ups of the human government as well as the logistics of how the vampires would survive and live in a world run and designed by their primary food source.

With only six episodes at an hour each the stories cover a whole range of concepts, from race war to vampire diseases, to vampire pregnancy and a whole lot more. Most interesting is the distinctly grey area both the team and the vampires operate in which makes the concept all the more interesting.


Combining excellent scripts and stories with a cracking cast and combining the action and horror genres, Ultraviolet is as good now as it was when it was first shown. It definitely leaves the viewer wanting more. If only Channel 4 could bring it back for a second series somehow.

Way ahead of shows like Being Human or Goyer’s own Blade, Ultraviolet is an entertaining and immensely innovative TV series, which proves (even with such an over-used monster as the vampire) there are still new stories to be told and new ideas to be explored.

Movie Rating: ★★★★☆ 



Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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1 Comment

  • Not Code 5. Code V.

    Otherwise, nice review.

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