The show that won't die! The BBC tried to kill it but fans wouldn’t let them. It’s lost three stars, but it’ll take more than that to see off Being Human…
Being Human has faced some significant hurdles in its short history. Initially axed after the pilot, an online campaign by fans prompted BBC bosses to rethink and make series one of the supernatural drama. And then, just ahead of the filming of this fourth series, three out of its four main characters decided they wanted to move on.
But like the great undead it celebrates, Being Human isn’t about to be killed off that easily. BBC3’s biggest show, with several Bafta nominations under its belt, is back. Changed, yes, but still milking the same beguiling notion of a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost sharing a flat.
The action continues where the last series ended. The household is bereft at the loss of two of its members: vampire Mitchell was killed by his best friend, werewolf George (played by Russell Tovey), to stop him being abducted by other vampires; and George’s girlfriend and fellow werewolf Nina has been slain by vampires, leaving him to look after their baby alone.
Being Human: BBC3's biggest show, with several Bafta nominations under its belt, is back
George is intent on revenge and appears to have a death wish. Alongside George, only Annie the ghost (Lenora Crichlow) remains from the first series – and one of them won’t make it to the end of this series.
And there’s now a new head vampire in town. Hal (newcomer Damien Molony) is 420 years old and has spent 400 of them murdering, pillaging and destroying.
HAL (Damien Molony)
An ‘elder’ of the vampire world who’s determined to stop the bloodlust of his contemporaries.
TOM McNAIR (Michael Socha)
Tom’s real parents were murdered by the man he considered his father –
who himself died in the last series. Very much an adolescent.
GEORGE SANDS (Russell Tovey)
Became a werewolf after being bitten while on a walking holiday in Scotland. Hates his monthly transformation into an animal.
ANNIE SAWYER (Lenora Crichlow)
A ghost after being murdered by a former boyfriend, she’s the heart of the supernatural home.
But now he is determined to beat his
addiction to killing. ‘He’s very posh and when you first see him you
think he’s strait-laced,’ says Irishman Damien, 24.
‘But then you realise he’s just nervous about letting his past catch up with him.
As the series develops, you see the flashbacks of how bad he was and it helps you understand all the tics he has in place just to keep away from blood. He is completely obsessive-compulsive.’
The actor auditioned for the role while he was still at drama school. He didn’t realise how big his part was until his first day on the show’s set on Barry Island, south Wales. But for someone who used to dress up as Dracula as a child, Hal is a dream role. ‘I have to keep pinching myself,’ he says. ‘I remember seeing in the script, “Hal walks up the stairs licking blood off his fingers,” and all I could think was, “Yes!” It’s great going to work every day when you’re a vampire.’
Playing alongside him as werewolf Tom McNair is Michael Socha, who first appeared in the show last year with Robson Green as his father. The Derby-born, 24-year-old actor, who found fame in Shane Meadows’ This Is England, says he was also surprised to find himself playing one of the leads. ‘I’ve never had a job that’s so strange and brilliant andhard,’ he says. ‘One minute you’re buzzing, the next you’re downhearted. There is real tragedy but it’s also very funny.’
Just as Damien compares his role with that of a recovering addict, Michael sees Tom as a recovering xenophobe. ‘He’s been taught all his life that vampires are bad, but then he has to throw his vampire hatred out of the window.’
Together the new leads have a real chemistry but they admit joining a show with such hardcore fans is a tad unnerving.
Michael says, ‘They know every single detail about the show and are on location rain or shine – even if we’re filming until 4am. There is this special bond because they are part of our story. Without them we wouldn’t be here.’
Being Human starts on BBC3 tomorrow at 9pm.