Returning to UK Television this weekend is the hit BBC THREE series Being Human, which focuses on three apparent twenty-something characters sharing a house in Bristol, trying to live a normal social life, despite being a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire respectively.
I recently caught up with Russell Tovey, who plays the Werewolf George, and talked a little about some of the developments we can expect to see in the new series, and where he’d like to see his character of George go in future seasons.
SciFiPulse: You were one of the original cast members of Being Human, and a lot’s changed for you since doing the initial pilot movie. So how would you say George has changed from that initial pilot to where you’re at now in the regular series?
Russell Tovey: I think as an actor you kind of go by instinct on how the other characters respond to you. So my George, when put alongside Guy Flanagan and Andrea Riseborough’s portrayals of Mitchell and Annie, was different than the way I play George alongside Aidan Turner and Lenora Crichlow as Mitchell and Annie.
So I was scared going into the series with Lenora and Aidan, and coming back as one of the originals. I feared that they might think, “Well he’s been here before and this is how you do it.”
George as a character … we left this last year with him embracing his Werewolf side and actually killing someone, which was something that always terrified him.
So he starts off this new series in a state of shock really and acceptance that he’s a werewolf and using it to his advantage, which is his biggest fear. And what scares him more than that is that he’s not afraid of it.
SciFiPulse: George’s girlfriend was scratched by a Werewolf toward the end of the second season. Are we likely to see this thread picked up on as the second season starts?
Russell Tovey: Completely yes. I think Nina starts off in a state of shock and isn’t aware of what the repercussions of that scratch would be.
George scratched her while in a state of mid-change. So whether she can be half werewolf or not, we’ve no idea, but I think it quickly becomes apparent as to what the situation is in the first episode.
SciFiPulse: One thing that many liked about Being Human is it kind of sounds like a bad joke, with a Vampire, Werewolf and Ghost living with each other. Yet it strangely works really well as a piece of human drama.
Russell Tovey: They’re all very dependent on each other in the house and all live in a kind of reclusive world where they protect each other from the badness outside, which we all know exists. This is one of the things that we all enjoy portraying, those moments where they’re all just sitting in the house and talking. We kind of enjoy that as actors, because when you see the three of us together, that’s kind of when it can be exciting.
SciFiPulse: Toward the end of the last series Mitchell went a little off the rails as well as George. How is that likely to affect the future interactions between Mitchell and George in the forthcoming season?
Russell Tovey: I think they’ll always be there for each other, and I feel that George needs Mitchell so much that he’d rather not know what Mitchell gets up to. For him. to have the images in his head and know that his best friend is a mass murderer is something he can’t compute in his brain.
He just wants everything to be normal, and the fact that his best friends are a Ghost and Vampire, two dead people, is something that he’s kind of accepted. But what they end up doing is something he most definitely can’t accept.
The repercussions of them always being there for each other will really get tested as the second season gets underway. The arc of this series is that the friendship will really get tested … all three of them, and how much they can live together.
The fact that George is going to get old like a normal human being and die, whereas the other two will just carry on and stay beautiful like they are for the rest of their lives, will also be addressed.
SciFiPulse: News broke late last year that the American cable channel Syfy Channel were going to produce an Americanized version of Being Human. How do you feel about that, and can you see there being any potential for any cross over events?
Russell Tovey: I hope they make comparisons like they do with the British ‘Office’ and the American version. I think its great that they’re doing it.
We’ve been on BBC America so people know who we are. It can only be a testament to how successful we’ve all made the show that they want to have an American version. So hopefully the knock-on effect of that will bring an audience to us before folks get to see the American one.
It’s all good. It’s all great for the production company and wonderful that they’re all making some money.
It’s awesome and exciting. Everyone thinks that we’re going to be a little upset about that or a bit bitter. But we’re still enjoying this and riding the wave on this one, so its great.
You never know. Maybe they’ll bring us all in for cameos. I don’t think that will happen, though. I think they’ll end up casting someone like Clare Danes to play Annie and Danny DeVito [Laughs]. I look forward to seeing what they do with it. They’re going to have a bigger budget obviously, a bigger budget to ruin it with. So hopefully they do that. And we’ll be the reigning champions.
SciFiPulse: How long can you see yourself playing George.
Russell Tovey: For as long they keep the series going, and it remains fun. Then I’ll be happy to stay with it. I think all three of us are very committed to the piece, and we love it and are very proud of it.
I love playing the character. So as long as they’ll have me, I’ll probably keep going.
SciFiPulse: What sort of things would you like to see happen with George should the series go beyond this second year?
Russell Tovey: I want him to go see his mother. I want to see his family, which he’s run away from. It doesn’t happen in the next series, but I’d like to see him bumping into his mum somewhere, perhaps dealing with the Werewolf issues over a cup of tea while he tells his family he’s a Werewolf. That’d be quite a conversation to have with your parents.
You can hear the audio version of this interview on Sunday’s edition of SFP Radio, in which we’ll be talking about the worst SciFi and Fantasy of the past Decade and looking ahead to the future.
Being Human returns to BBC THREE at 9:30pm this Sunday, 10 January.
By Ian M. Cullen