Mitchell - Guy Flanagan
George - Russell Tovey
Annie - Andrea Riseborough
Julia - Claire Foy
Mitchell - Aidan Turner
George - Russell Tovey
Annie - Lenora Critchlow
OTHER BEING HUMAN SERIES
Being Human USA
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
PILOT - First Transmitted 18th February 2008
Mitchell is a vampire that doesn't want to be a vampire because he doesn't like all the drinking of people's blood and stuff that goes with it. George is a werewolf and doesn't want to be because it is bloody painful and he ends up with dead deer smeared over his face and no clothes when he wakes up. In search of as close to a normal life as they can envisage, they get a flat together, but it soon becomes clear that they are not alone in the apartment, sharing it with a ghost. The unlikely trio try to settle into a routine life, but George's ex-girlfriend and Mitchell's vampire 'friends' have other ideas that are going to make that impossible.
BEING HUMAN is one of six single dramas being shown by BBC3 in order to see which are likely to become full series. This need to be a single drama, but desire to garner a follow-up series makes BEING HUMAN a bit of a schizophrenic hour. Whilst the story follows the two blokes setting up home, discovering the ghost in their midst and letting her join them then it's a fairly witty, definitely offbeat and enjoyable ride. The characters are picked not to be pretty, but to be interesting and believably ordinary and the cast do well enough with that and some very nice dialogue. When they first think there's something else in the flat George asks 'what could be scarier than one of us' to be answered 'a bigger one of us' and George's indignation when the estate agent takes them to be a gay couple leads Mitchell to quip 'I know. I'm way out of your league'.
The step into darker territory with George's ex-love locking herself in a room with an about-to-become-wolf George and only the ghost who can't leave the apartment available to help works well thanks to the performance from Russell Tovey as the George terrified and frantic that he is going to rip her apart. There is also a nice, chilling allusion to death when ghost Annie admits to Mitchell that death is actually a corridor of doors with men at the ends carrying ropes. It's an imagery that is intriguing and we would like to see followed up.
Where BEING HUMAN fell down was in the introduction of the vampires' plan to take over the world (all very ULTRAVIOLET). It's clearly meant to set up the groundwork for the follow-up series (yes please BBC3) and would have worked well as the climax to a first full series, but as part of a single hour is such a gear change from the story of three outcasts looking for a normal life that it threatens to unbalance the rest of the tale. Three more unlikely world-savers you couldn't imagine.
The werewolf transformation and the waking up naked aftermath shows that everyone involved knows their AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, but that's it as far as the homages go.
If the commissioning editors of BBC3 are reading, this was interesting, off-beat, entertaining and intriguing enough to make us want to see more of it. It is certainly far more original than the round of vampire private investigators that the USA is giving us at the moment.Written by Steve Lightfoot
Directed by David Richards
EPISODE 1 - First Transmitted 25th January 2009
George, Mitchell and Annie have found some sort of peace with the three of them sharing a flat, but life is still hard. Mitchell is struggling to keep his vampire thirst under control and a mistake from the past is about to come back and bite him in the ass. George, meanwhile, finds that his secure room at the hospital is now being redecorated and he desperately needs somewhere where he can become his werewolf self without causing harm. And Annie the ghost wants to appear to her ex-boyfriend so that she can say the things she always wanted to, except that he has moved on.
BEING HUMAN was one of the big successes of BBC 3's output last year and begged to be turned into a full series. Now that it's actually happened, a year on, the wait has proven to be absolutely worth it. The casting changes prove to be no problem at all as Lenora Critchlow and Aidan Turner join Russell Tovey and prove to be just as engaging as the originals. They work well together and generate the kind of easy relationship that comes with sharing a life with friends.
The real star of the show, however, is the script by Toby Whithouse. Funny when it means to be (OK the George running around the forest looking for somewhere to change and constantly being thwarted is a joke stretched too far), there is a strong thread of sadness that passes through the trio, giving a fantastically strong bedrock of character drama to the show. Annie's reactions to her boyfriend, George's inhibitions about his change, Mitchell's self-loathing for what he is, these are all brilliantly realised by both writer and actors.
But it's not just a bunch of actors emoting. The plot rattles along, shooting off in all kinds of directions that you just can't see coming and laying down the foundations for the rest of the series. The vampire leader who likes to play the part of a policeman (Mitchell's scene here is both sinister and beautifully written) and wants to offer immortality to any human who wants it is a story that is set to run, the apperance of a vampire sired by Mitchell from one of George's friends is another and there is more to Annie's awkward fall than meets the eye.
On the evidence of this opening episode, BEING HUMAN is set to become the first can't miss new show of the year.Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Toby Haynes
EPISODE 2 - First Transmitted 1st February 2009
George wakes up from his latest werewolf night out to be approached by a man called Tully who claims to also be a werewolf and to have things to show George to make the transformations easier to manage. Initially hostile, George is won over, but his friends, initially charmed by Tully, don't like the changes that they see being wrought in him. As Tully's charming mask slips, he upsets Annie by coming on too strong, but he has an even bigger blow to deal to George.
This is another exceptionally good episode of this surprising show. Deftly combining wit with a strong central story, great character writing and the hints of darker stories to come, Toby Whithouse constantly keeps us guessing which way the plot is going to go next. That Tully is something not quite right is obvious from the start and exactly what he is might be guessed by some, but the revelation leads to a surprising confrontation between him and George the outcome of which cannot be predicted. That's thanks to the depths of the characters that he has created here.
It's also down to the performances and Russell Tovey gets another chance to show what he can do, although he also spends a lot of the time showing off what he has as well. Aiden Turner also gets some moments as the tortured vampire Mitchell, desperately trying to hold on to the human life they have created as a barrier against the temptations that are ganging up on him. Compared to these two turns, Lenora Critchlow ought to feel positively short changed as Annie isn't given that much to do.
Only two episodes into the run and BEING HUMAN has become utterly unmissable.Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Toby Haynes
EPISODE 3 - First Transmitted 8th February 2009
Mitchell introduces Annie to another ghost, Gilbert, who pals around with her and tells her that in order to move on she has to tie up the unresolved parts of her life and death. That turns out to be learning something very hard about how she came to be dead. George, meanwhile, is trying to dodge advances from an attractive nurse because it's his 'time of the month' and Mitchell finds that staying on the wagon is increasingly hard to do.
Last week it was George's turn to meet someone like himself and found that leading to some secrets about his past that he would rather not have known. This week Annie goes through that same experience, but the similarities are superficial and incidental pleasures as great as before. The spotlight falls on Annie, but her story turns out to be the most obvious of the three. The dark secret around her death isn't exactly a great surprise and the ending of Gilbert's involvement seems inevitable from an early stage. Still, it's nice to see Lenora Critchlow given more to do and Annie is probably the easiest character to relate to.
Mitchell's story is much darker as his attempts to save the woman he turned into a vampire from the killing that results take a personal toll on the pair of them. It's a short statement about drug addiction, and not a subtle one, but Aidan Turner manages to turn it into more. By contrast, the story of George's werewolf problem being misdiagnosed as sexual failure is played for light relief.
This episode is not as startling as the previous two, but it remains hugely watchable and intriguing.Written by Rachel Anthony
Directed by Alex Pillai
EPISODE 4 - First Transmitted 15th February 2009
Having lost Lauren to the vampire nation, Mitchell befriends a young lad who is having some grief from a pair of bullies. When the kid sees the DVD Lauren sent to tempt Mitchell, he is labelled a paedophile and the local residents turn into a braying mob. It's a tense situation that can only erupt with tragic consequences.
Once again BEING HUMAN comes up with a story that twists off in directions that are just unexpected and that is the joy of the show. The drama comes not from the set up but rather from where it takes the central trio. Mitchell, faced with the barrage of abuse, is reminded of what he really is and how easily he could take care of those puny humans ranged against him, whilst George has to try and keep two secrets from his new girlfriend - the paedophile slur and the werewolf thing. Annie, meanwhile, is struggling with the truth that her boyfriend killed her by turning into a poltergeist.
All of which is extremely well written, staying well clear of cliche and providing some very enjoyable dialogue. The moment where the two male flatmates are watching villagers in an old movie chasing the monster with torches and pitchforks is hammering the message home a little bluntly, but this is otherwise nicely scripted, leading to a finale that is as haunting as it is believable.Written by Brian Dooley
Directed by Alex Pillai
EPISODE 5 - First Transmitted 23rd February 2009
Annie tries to take vengeance on Owen by scaring the hell out of him, but things don't go quite to plan. Mitchell is back in the fold with the vampires, but he learns that membership comes at a price and trying to get out again comes with an even bigger price.
Perhaps it's the length of time that the writers had between the pilot and the full series, but BEING HUMAN has defied expectation throughout, consistently being surprising, unpredictable, believable and utterly rivetting. Admittedly, the final wrinkle in the vampire plan to rule the world shouldn't come as any great surprise to anyone except Mitchell (it's common sense really), but Annie's haunting of Owen shows just what his character is really like and is as surprising in its success as it is in its failure. Exactly what she does whisper in his ear that tears his world apart we want to know and we're shure it has to do with what lies beyond the door that leads to death (the men with chains mentioned in the pilot perhaps?).
Mitchell's story is also to the fore as he comes to terms with the decisions he has made. This is aided by one extreme coincidence, but is otherwise compelling and leads to the righting of a wrong that still feels like a tragedy.
And topping all that off is a cliffhanger ending that makes the final episode in the series the sheer definition of unmissable.Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Colin Teague
EPISODE 6 - First Transmitted 1st March 2009
Following his near fatal staking at the end of the last episode, Mitchell has to find a way to regain his energies to take a final stand against the vampire leader alone. George knows that if Mitchell fails then it is all over and determines to ensure safety for his new girlfriend and Annie learns that the vampires triumphant could burn down the house and she would simply fade away.
It's the final episode of this remarkably good BBC 3 series and it needed something a bit special to see it out in style. Fortunately, it got it. All of the plot strands come crashing together, all of the character arcs intersect at a single point in time and the plot is tied up in really satisfying manner. Ok, there are moments when the plot is a little obvious, especially George's little plan, but that would just be quibbling.
There are a few loose ends left flapping in order to bring about another series, some new baddies introduced for good measure and a werewolf scarred girlfriend, but if this series stands alone then it has been a stunning acheivement, the writing and acting coming together for something very special.
Thing is, this has been just so good that it can't possibly be a standalone show. Give us season 2 please BBC 3 and don't hang around doing it.Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Colin Teague
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