Being Human (TV series)
|Being Human (TV series)|
|Genre||Supernatural drama, horror|
|Created by||Toby Whithouse|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||37 (List of episodes)|
|Location(s)||Series 1-2: Bristol
Series 3-5: Barry
|Cinematography||Tim Palmer (pilot)
Nic Morris (series)
|Running time||58 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Touchpaper Television|
|Original channel||BBC Three / BBC HD|
|Picture format||1080i 16:9 (HDTV)|
|Original run||18 February 2008 – 10 March 2013|
Being Human is a British supernatural drama television series. It was created and written by Toby Whithouse for broadcast on BBC Three. The show blends elements of flatshare comedy and horror drama. It originally starred Lenora Crichlow as Annie Sawyer (a ghost), Russell Tovey as George Sands (a werewolf) and Aidan Turner as John Mitchell (a vampire) — all of whom were sharing accommodation and attempting as best as they can to live a "normal" life and blend in with the ordinary humans around them. In the third series, Sinead Keenan became part of the main cast as Nina Pickering (a werewolf). In the fourth series the ensemble was joined by Michael Socha as Tom McNair (a werewolf) and Damien Molony as Hal Yorke (a vampire). The fifth series added Kate Bracken as Alex Miller (a ghost). The first two seasons were set in Totterdown, Bristol, and the third season onwards relocated to Barry, Wales.
On 13 March 2011, series creator Toby Whithouse announced that Turner had left the show and that new characters would be introduced. On 11 November 2011, Russell Tovey announced that he was leaving Being Human after the first episode of Series 4 to work full-time on his other show, Him & Her. Furthermore, Keenan announced on 9 January 2012 that she had not filmed any scenes for series 4, and would exit the show off-screen.
The series is one of the most popular shows on BBC's iPlayer. The second series premiered on BBC Three on 10 January 2010. The third series launched on 23 January 2011. The day following the final broadcast in series 3, the BBC announced a fourth series would premiere on the BBC in 2012. Series 4 began airing on BBC Three on Sunday 5th February 2012. The BBC Media Centre announced a fifth series and it started on the 3rd of February. The BBC announced on the 7th February that the fifth series would be the last, and the final episode was broadcast on the 10th of March 2013.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Episodes and home video
- 3 Production
- 4 Reception
- 5 Spin-offs and remake
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The central premise of Being Human is that various types of supernatural beings exist alongside human beings, with varying degrees of menace; that three of these supernatural beings are opting to live amongst human beings rather than apart from them; and that these three characters are attempting (as much as is possible) to live ordinary human lives despite the pressures and dangers of their situations. They are constantly threatened with exposure or persecution, with pressure from other supernatural creatures, and with problems caused by their attempts to deal with their own natures.
Series One (2009)
Series 1 is set in the English city of Bristol and introduces George (a reluctant werewolf in his mid-twenties) and Mitchell (a vampire with the appearance and behaviour of a young man in his mid-twenties, but who is actually over a hundred years old). Both are attempting to reject their current nature as supernatural predators — George by strictly managing his transformations and their effect on others, Mitchell by abstaining from blood-drinking. Despite a long history of antipathy between the werewolf and vampire races, Mitchell and George have formed a deep friendship: they have both taken low-profile, low-status jobs as hospital porters and live together as housemates. Moving into a new house together, they discover that it already has an occupant — Annie, the ghost of a young woman in her mid-twenties. Annie had previously lived in the house with her fiancé Owen, but died after falling down the stairs. She has remained to haunt the property while Owen, unaware of her continued presence, has rented it out to Mitchell and George. As supernatural beings, both George and Mitchell can see, touch and communicate with Annie, who is delighted to have the company and becomes the third member of their surrogate family.
All three, however, have ongoing problems to deal with. Mitchell's central challenge is his struggle with his desire to feed (which is presented as being similar to a struggle against drug addiction). George's is to manage his monthly werewolf transformations in such a way that he does not kill anyone, nor pass on the werewolf affliction. He considers his condition to be "a curse", over which he is in a certain state of denial (including referring to his wolf-self as if it were a different person). Finally, Annie's challenge is to deal with her new existence as a ghost (including the isolation and loneliness which results from it) and to discover the reason why she has remained on Earth instead of passing over to the afterlife.
The remainder of Series 1 deals with the protagonists' attempts to deal with these situations and with the various characters (human or otherwise) with whom they come into contact or conflict. All of the problems are finally brought to a ferocious climax which the trio survive, but with their existence no less precarious.
Series Two (2010)
Series 2 (also set in Bristol) deals with the aftermath of Series 1. Mitchell must struggle with the dual responsibilities of managing his own urges and attempting to manage the now scattered and rudderless Bristol vampire community. George must cope with the responsibilities of intimacy and the problem of having passed on his "curse" despite his best efforts. Annie must find a new purpose in her continued presence (having resolved the initial issues that kept her on Earth) and must also deal with the malignant attention of another type of supernatural being, resident in the afterlife but able to influence events in the earthly world.
The lives of Mitchell, George and Annie are further complicated by other new factors. There is now a need to fit George's girlfriend Nina into the household, and deal with urgent new problems she is facing herself; there are problems with the police, and two powerful and playful vampires (Ivan and Daisy) have arrived in Bristol with the threat of causing mayhem. The trio are also subject to the growing attentions of a mysterious organisation (possibly called the Centre for the Study of Supernatural Activity, or CenSSA) led by the scientist Dr Jaggatt and the priest-administrator Kemp. This organisation has identified and classified the three different types of supernatural creature – vampire, werewolf and ghost – and is continuing to research them, although it is evident from the start that they are quite prepared to let subjects die in the course of the research. The lives of each of the four main protagonists gradually draw them closer and closer to the organisation, despite the threat it may pose to all of them.
Series Three (2011)
Series 3 saw the protagonists move to Barry Island in South Wales (as the result of events in Series 2). They set up house in a former bed-and-breakfast hotel and attempt to resume their "normal" lives, despite the overhang of the results of the Series 2 climax. As Series 3 progresses, the quartet must deal with the return of various figures and events from the characters' pasts as well as the continuing complications of their own developing relationships. In addition, they must deal with further supernatural incursions - more vampires (including a teenager and a pair of suburban swingers), a zombie girl and a pair of werewolves, Tom McNair and his adoptive father (who have set themselves up as vampire hunters). Events lead up to a finale that leaves the household changed dramatically. Aidan Turner left the show at the end of the third series, which also marked the final appearance of Sinead Keenan as Nina.
Series Four (2012)
Nina has been killed in a vampire attack and the gang now has to take care of baby Eve, whose werewolf heritage appears to have attracted the attention of vampire overlords known as the Old Ones. In the first episode George dies while rescuing Eve, leaving her in the custody of Tom (who moves into Honolulu Heights) and Annie. Hal later turns up and becomes the new vampire at Honolulu Heights. Lawyer Nick Cutler, a vampire created by Hal in 1950, plans to expose werewolves as part of a larger plan involving a vampire conquest of Earth. Cutler tries to get Hal back to his old ways of drinking blood and eventually succeeds in breaking Hal down. The blood sends Hal into overdrive and he repulses Alex, whom he is dating, with his crude and unusual behaviour when they meet for a second date. Alex leaves angrily but is followed by one of Cutler's men. Meanwhile, Eve, from the future, reveals to Annie that in her future, most of humankind are dead or living in concentration camps and vampires now rule every inch of the world. Annie is shocked to learn that Hal is the ruthless leader of the new vampire revolution. To save the world, Eve asks Annie to kill her when she is a baby. Cutler reveals Alex's dead body drained of blood as revenge for Hal murdering his wife in similar fashion in 1950. Cutler then locks Hal up, but Alex returns as a ghost and helps Hal escape. The Old Ones then arrive in Barry. To save the world, Annie blows up Eve and The Old Ones, completing her unfinished business, and "passes over" as she is no longer an earth-bound spirit. The series ends with Hal, Alex, and Tom living together in Honolulu Heights.
Series Five (2013)
On 26 March 2012, the day following the series 4 finale, it was revealed that series 5 of Being Human would air in 2013 and comprise six episodes. Michael Socha and Damien Molony will reprise their roles as Tom and Hal respectively. Lenora Crichlow will not be returning for series 5 as the production team feel her storyline has reached a natural conclusion. Kate Bracken confirmed her return to the show in an interview before this series started shooting. The BBC have referred to Alex (Kate) as "Our new ghost", implying that Alex will be a main character from Series 5 onwards. On 17 January 2013, the series synopsis was released: "What do you get when you put a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost in a house-share in Barry? The return of Being Human! Ghost Alex is adjusting to life after death with werewolf Tom but vampire Hal is in hell. Not because he’s chained up like an animal, but because he’s desperate to get his marigolds on the messy house. But when Tom and Alex decide to set him free, Hal’s wracked by uncertainty…can he control his bloodlust? Things get complicated with the return of Mr Rook, the shady figure whose government department protects the world from supernaturals. Having been fired from the café, Hal and Tom find new employment at the Barry Grand Hotel, home to poisonous pensioner Captain Hatch (Phil Davis). Unknown to our trio, his decrepit exterior hides an ancient evil that threatens not only their friendship but also the entire world.". On the 7th February 2013, BBC Three controller Zai Bennett announced that series 5 would be the final series of Being Human. The final episode was broadcast on March 10, 2013.
Episodes and home video
|Series||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD release date|
|Series premiere||Series finale||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|Pilot||1||18 February 2008||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1||6||25 January 2009||1 March 2009||20 July 2010||20 April 2009||6 August 2009|
|2||8||10 January 2010||28 February 2010||21 September 2010||12 April 2010||5 August 2010|
|3||8||23 January 2011||13 March 2011||3 May 2011||28 March 2011||5 May 2011|
|4||8||5 February 2012||25 March 2012||15 January 2013||23 April 2012||7 June 2012|
|5||6||3 February 2013||10 March 2013||N/A||8 April 2013||2 October 2013|
|Annie Sawyer||Lenora Crichlow||Main|
|George Sands||Russell Tovey||Main|
|John Mitchell||Aidan Turner||Main|
|Nina Pickering||Sinead Keenan||Recurring||Main|
|Tom McNair||Michael Socha||Recurring||Main|
|Hal Yorke||Damien Molony||Main|
|Alex Millar||Kate Bracken||Recurring||Main|
|Dominic Rook||Steven Robertson||Guest||Recurring|
Creator Toby Whithouse was approached by production company Touchpaper Television to develop a drama series about a group of friends who buy a house together. Whithouse was not enthusiastic about the idea, but came up with three characters, George, Mitchell and Annie. Touchpaper Television liked the characters so they started developing the project. For months Whithouse and Touchpaper Television struggled to come up with a storyline for the first episode. Eventually they had a final meeting to see if they could come up with a storyline or the project would be scrapped. Whithouse came up with the supernatural elements and the characters were changed.
Whithouse was contacted by the BBC who told him they were making a series of pilots. Whithouse was not a fan of the television pilot process, but believed that the show would never get made otherwise so the pilot script was submitted. In 2007, Danny Cohen, the controller of BBC Three, commissioned the pilot of Being Human, West 10 LDN, Mrs In-Betweeny, The Things I Haven't Told You, Dis/Connected and Phoo Action pilots as part of the rebranding of BBC Three. Before the pilots were broadcast, Whithouse was told that only Phoo Action would be commissioned for a series. The pilot episode was broadcast on 18 February 2008. The journalist Narin Bahar of the Reading Chronicle started an online petition to lobby BBC Three commissioning editors to greenlight a full series, which was signed by over 3,000 people. Phoo Action was cancelled after it was decided that the scripts for the series were not good enough and Being Human was then commissioned.
The pilot episode starred Guy Flanagan as Mitchell the vampire, Andrea Riseborough as Annie the ghost, and Russell Tovey as George the werewolf, as well as featuring Adrian Lester as Herrick (the vampire leader and main antagonist of Series One) and Dominique McElligott as the recent vampire convert Lauren (converted by Mitchell). With the exception of George, these parts were recast when the series went into full production.
The first and second series were set and filmed in Bristol featuring views of Clifton Suspension Bridge and Clifton Village. Windsor Terrace, Totterdown, Bristol, was the location of Mitchell, Annie, and George's home and the pub shown in the pilot. Scenes set at the hospital where Mitchell and George work were filmed in and around Bristol General Hospital and Glenside, Bristol.
The third series was filmed and set in Barry (Barry Island). The new house is located on Canon Street. Some filming took place in Hensol Woods near Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, in July 2010. The move to Barry Island and Wales was prompted by the BBC's "Out of London" project, which seeks to move productions away from London and to new production facilities in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Some interior filming occurred at an abandoned bus depot, which had been converted into a film studio.
On 13 March 2011, Whithouse and BBC Three announced that Being Human would return for a fourth series. Eight 60-minute episodes were commissioned and co-produced with BBC America. The producer also said some old characters would return, and he intended to introduce new ones and that the characters will continue to live on Barry Island.
The filmmakers returned to Barry Island to film season four in late July 2011, where they continued to use local man Gary Rowe's house as the group's bed-and-breakfast base of operations. Students from the drama and theater programme at Coleg Gwent were used as extras and in minor roles on the show. The internal and external cafe scenes were filmed in the Pillgwenlly area of Newport.
The pilot episode was not widely reviewed, and some reviews were not necessarily positive. A review in the Daily Telegraph called the pilot one of BBC Three's "wildly uneven" new shows. Brian McIver, writing for the Daily Record felt the show lacked sex appeal and that the plot was boring, and concluded: "so what?" But, by late January 2009, the Daily Record reported that most of the reviews of the pilot had raved about the new show. Viewership for the pilot was very high, and a massive online petition drive helped turn the pilot into a series.
Reception of the series has been extremely favourable. Stephen Armstrong in The Guardian gave the show a warm review, noting that its primary appeal was not supernatural or horror. It was, he wrote, "a curious genre mash-up drama about a ghost, werewolf and vampire sharing a flat in Bristol, which deals more with the horror of living in modern Britain than the horror of the undead." David Belcher writing in the Glasgow Herald was effusive, however, calling the series "Easily the sole good programme on BBC3... Being Human: the supernatural drama that's super in its depiction of human nature. At the conclusion of the first season, Andrea Mullaney of The Scotsman had high praise for the show's premise and writing:
- The series started well and seemed to get better almost every week. By last night's conclusion, it had matured into a marvellously enjoyable and surprisingly affecting show, which turned its punchline of a premise into a metaphor for everyday struggles to make connections, overcome their selfishness and insecurities and to live a decent life. ... Remarkably un-clichéd and well written by Toby Whithouse, this was hugely better than most other British attempts at genre shows — the ropey Torchwood, the dreadful Demons and even most recent episodes of Doctor Who.
When it debuted on BBC America in 2009, the show won similar plaudits. The Miami Herald's Glenn Garvin praised the show's balance of humour and pathos: "What it is is darkly funny, deeply affecting and utterly cockeyed, a work that celebrates life by dwelling on death, love by abiding loneliness. It's a tale of cold, dead noses pressed up against the window pane of humanity. ... But for all the laughs, Being Human never loses sight of the menace of its characters." Writing in the New York Times, Alessandra Stanley called the series "compelling" and praised its equal emphasis on horror, remorse, and humour:
- Three young friends share a shabby apartment in Bristol, England, as well as secrets, and those sound like the set-up to a corny joke — a vampire, a ghost and a werewolf walk into a bar. Only in this case the bar is a pub and there is no punch line. Being Human takes the killing — and the perpetrators' anguished remorse — seriously, but still manages to find the humour in their predicament as these monsters in human form struggle to blend into normal, almost Seinfeldian life that includes work, going out on dates and having the tedious neighbors over for drinks. ... All three characters are highly appealing, but the charm of the show lies in the delicate balance of engrossing drama and disarming humor; the series is not campy or self-conscious, it's witty in an offhand, understated way.
Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Mary McNamara lauded the show's humour, but emphasized its moral seriousness and metaphorical nature. "[D]espite more than a few laugh-out-loud moments, Being Human is no sitcom, no Will & Grace with monsters," she wrote. "Creator Toby Whithouse takes all the themes associated with the cursed and the damned very seriously, and if his exploration of them is less baroque than other franchises, it promises to be even more effective. Addiction is the obvious comparison, and Whithouse makes it nicely — the relationship between John and Lauren (Annabel Scholey), the woman he hopes is his last victim, plays like classic junkie love."
The praise continued throughout various periods of the series' run. Matt Roush from TV Guide, having given critical plaudits to the third season, said of the series: "Can't recommend it highly enough." Reviewing the Series 3 Blu-ray release, the Wichita Falls Times-Record-News noted: "So many movies and TV programs will suggest how evil people can be and how much characters can suffer. Being Human actually can make viewers feel something of that horror and awfulness." Melinda Houston, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, applauded the way the show took the common television theme of the "disenfranchised...suddenly retaliat[ing]" and inverted it. "Moving beyond the teen tropes, it sets itself squarely in a mire of 20-something Gen Y angst. Being special and having power has no upside; being different is a burden and a nuisance and all anyone wants is a life of ordinariness."
The show was nominated for Best Drama Series at the 2010 British Academy Television Awards, but lost to Misfits. It was nominated for the same award again in 2011, but lost to Sherlock.
Being Human garnered "some of the largest audiences in the network's history" when it debuted on BBC America in 2009, and again during its second series run in 2010.
In March 2011, the BBC announced that live, delayed, and online viewership for the launch of Being Human's third series was 1.8 million viewers, the largest viewing audience for a series premier in BBC Three history. The average viewership per episode in Season 3 was 1.4 million viewers on television and another 400,000 viewers via the show's release on iPlayer. The network also revealed that Becoming Human's finale, which aired on BBC Three rather than online, received more than 1.5 million viewers on television and iPlayer.
In August 2011, the BBC's Director of Television, George Entwistle, revealed that Being Human had 330,000 Facebook fans, compared to 2.3 million for the Facebook pages of EastEnders and 220,000 for Springwatch. Two months later, the Web site InsideSocialGames.com reported that Utinni Games is developing a social network game based on the show, in which players can create their own character and participate in an extensive, constantly evolving storyline set in the show's universe.
Spin-offs and remake
North American remake
A remake of the series produced by Muse Entertainment Enterprises aired on Space in Canada and Syfy in the U.S. in 2011. The first season was 13 episodes. A second season premiered 16 January 2012 and a third season premiered 14 January 2013.
The BBC commissioned an online extension called Becoming Human, which was launched midway through the transmission of the third series. Becoming Human stars Craig Roberts as teenage vampire Adam, Leila Mimmack as werewolf Christa, and Josh Brown as ghost Matt, the three working together to solve Matt's recent murder.
|01||The Road||Simon Guerrier||4 February 2010||ISBN 978-1-84607-898-9|
|02||Chasers||Mark Michalowski||4 February 2010||ISBN 978-1-84607-899-6|
|03||Bad Blood||James Goss||4 February 2010||ISBN 978-1-84607-900-9|
There are three audiobooks read by the actors of the series. The Audiobook "The Road" is read by Lenora Crichlow (Annie). The Audiobook "Chasers" is read by Russell Tovey (George) and "Bad Blood" is read by Lucy Gaskell (Sam Danson).
Only "The Road" is available on audio cd. "Chasers" and "Bad Blood" are only available as mp3.
|01||The Road||Simon Guerrier||Lenora Crichlow||5 hours 38 minutes||16. April 2013||ISBN 978-1620647240|
|02||Chasers||Mark Michalowski||Russell Tovey||5 hours 18 minutes||1. November 2012||ISBN 978-1-47130-5252|
|03||Bad Blood||James Goss||Lucy Gaskell||6 hours 45 minutes||1. November 2012||ISBN 978-1-47130-529-0|
In 2011, a soundtrack was released for Being Human that contained music from series 1&2. The music was composed by Richard Wells, and featured a track listing of 24 songs. A soundtrack for the third series was released on 25 March 2013. It featured 48 minutes and 25 tracks of music composed by Richard Wells.
|4||A Wonderful Thing|
|5||Box Tunnel Massacre|
|8||Spread a Little Joy|
|9||Best Night Ever|
|18||A Second Chance|
|20||Who's Laughing Now?|
|23||Nina And George|
|4||Place Your Bets|
|6||Mitchell and Annie|
|11||Wolf Shaped Bullet|
|14||Tit For Tat|
|24||You Made Me Human|
|25||Age Of Vampires|
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