Being Human: Russell Tovey, Sinead Keenan and Michael Socha on series three
January 13, 2011
By: Sarah Dean
Being Human is the cult BBC Three show that contains just the right mix of tense drama, blood-curdling horror, and howling laughter to make it appeal to the masses - the fact that the main characters are ghosts, vampires and werewolf's has not passed the Twilight generation by either.
Ahead of the supernatural, Bafta-nominated drama's third series, we caught up with the show's stars Russell Tovey (George), his on-screen girlfriend Sinead Keenan (Nina) and newcomer Michael Socha (Tom), who we last saw in hit drama This Is England '86.
Since the last series, the gang have moved to Cardiff for a fresh start, and in our interview below they reveal what's coming up - so beware of spoilers - plus, they reveal what Lacey Turner (EastEnders' Stacey Slater) was like in her new Being Human role...
Being Human returns to BBC Three and BBC HD on Sunday January 23.
We heard the new set is haunted, is that true?
Russell - That's true, we had things going on in the background and photos falling off shelves.
Sinead - Absolutely true, we had continuity photos printed with weird things in, like Alice had red nail varnish on but in the photos two of her nails came out black.
Russell - Also a girl did a real 360º head turn on set. The set is near an old bus depot in Barry Island and I think someone must have died on the buses.
Where do we pick things up in the new series then because there are a lot of cliff hangers in series two?
R- We've left Bristol for to Barry Island, it seemed like an appropriate place to come, a safe haven for supernaturals. You find us looking at a property, the three of us, without Annie, and Mitchell is in a weird place because he met the love of his life and she's now dead. But Nina and George are very happy for once; we're looking at the new house and settling in to a new way of life.
S - It's called Honolulu House.
R - It's massive because it was a B&B and it's kind of quite eerie.
Do you miss the old house though? It was becoming iconic.
S - Yeah as you said it's iconic. Before we went to see the new set we were told it was amazing, but then when you do actually see it it's huge, which gives you so much scope for filming. There are loads of guest rooms, basements and attics.
R - It freshens it up as well because we could have stayed in the old house but when you're in a new place you end up exploring more and finding new things, so I think it's good for us as actors.
You went to San Diego Comic-Con this year; did you anticipate the fan reaction being that big? And how did it feel to have that adoration heaped upon you?
R – Sinead came for the first time this year, we'd been the year previously with Lenora and Aidan and it was incredible because the show hadn't even aired there yet.
Out there they illegally download, which is quite fashionable for sci-fi fans so they had all seen it. We were on this Q&A panel before Doctor Who and Torchwood so there were 5,000 people in the audience and we all went out there and talked and I got them all to do the Mexican wave. It was crazy, we were doing a signing and there were people dressed up as werewolves and vampires.
S - I was a Comic-Con virgin but it was incredible because I don't really feature till the second series, I thought "they aren't going to know who I am" but they'd downloaded it.
R - The whole convention is just mind blowing it's unbelievable they are the most dedicated fanbase ever.
Did either of you fulfill any geeky dreams when you were out there?
R - You wanted to be a ThunderCat didn't you?
S - Yeah. And Wonder Woman, I liked.
R - My nephew is six and obsessed with Spider-Man, I had to get him a specific costume which was reversible - black on the inside, red on the outside and had sewn in muscles. I couldn't get it anywhere so we ended up driving around LA trying to track down this costume.
S - Right before our flight home as well!
Michael, can you tell us a bit about Tom? And how he comes into the series?
M - Tom has basically been kept away from normal society by his dad. He lives in the woods and they fight vampires, my dad is Robson Green. I stumble across these two basically because we both recognise we both have a chicken on a string. They clock us and think "hang on a minute that isn't normal" and me and my dad are on a quest to find a pack.
I think, because I've not had much to do with werewolves, that George is a pack, but McNair, Robson's character, doesn't want anything to do with the pack. So I'm thinking "come on let me have something to do with the pack" and we eventually speak and become relatively friendly together.
Do you scream like George when you turn into a werewolf?
M - Well no, because George screams like a proper girl!
S - No one can scream like George.
M - My character was always taught by his dad that turning into a werewolf is a good thing, you come back stronger and you should embrace the transformation. But when it goes through it is excruciatingly painful, so there are a few screams.
What was Robson Green like to work with?
M – He's sound; I was always a bit worried because I've seen him ever since I was a kid on loads of programmes. My mum really fancies him I thought "God I hope he's not a dickhead" and I met him for the first time and thought "you're a wonderful guy", he brings such an amazing energy to the set, he's like a little kid.
You guys must have had a lot of fun on set? What did you get up to? Any pranks?
R – We sang Robson and Jerome songs.
S - As part of the set there's a bar in our new house with loads of really old cassette tapes and sure enough they put Robson and Jerome in there.
M - I work very, very hard, that's what I do on set!
How would you describe the tone of this series?
R - The buzz word is the first was lighter, the second was darker and this is a combination of the two. In the first series the threat was supernatural, the second was humour and in this series the threat is from within.
M - Did you just make that up?
S - It's definitely a lot more even in terms of light and dark.
Michael, you were last seen on TV playing an 80s rebel in This Is England '86. How does it feel to go from something quite normal to something so fantastical?
M - Well to be honest I was absolutely sh***ing myself because I've never played nothing but a human, and a chavvy one a lot of the time. I'd got quite comfortable in the people I was with in Sheffield doing TIE, and then it was straight on to this. I was saying to my mum "I don't know what to do."
R – We met at the BAFTAS didn't we?
M – That was lovely of you, Russell. I was at the BAFTAS with my little sister (Lauren, who plays Kelly in Misfits) and surrounded by people who thought they were very important and I didn't know anyone there at all. But Russell and Lenora came up to me and said "you're doing Being Human aren't you?" and they took me out to have a fag. I was just very excited to be there and a bit pissed. I just kept saying "yeah I can't wait to be working with you".
Did you bring any elements of chavviness to Tom?
M - No, Tom's not a chav, he sounds like a chav, but I don't think he is a chav. He's not had a chav reference, do you know what a mean?
R – He travels around in a caravan though?
M - Oh crap.
Sinead can you give us an idea of Nina's journey in this series? *SPOILER*
S - In terms of her relationship with George it starts off kind of settled. They are in a good place after all they went through last year, they are being intimate and things happen and she falls pregnant. We don't know whether it's going to be a normal baby and whether the werewolf thing is just going to kick in when it's a teenager or whether we are having pups.
So we have to go and research it and that's why we go and meet up with Tom and his dad. So there's all that and there's a bit where she finds out about the train massacre so that has strong repercussions for her relationship with Mitchell.
You tweeted the "final ever" week of filming?
S - Did I say ever? Maybe I was teasing. I hadn't known you would look at my Twitter page. It was the last ever scene of series three.
What is your favourite storyline of the coming series? *SPOILER*
R – I have the option to meet my parents who I had run away from so that's a great episode and it's good for George, James Fleet is playing my dad, which is perfect casting. That's a great episode. He's a lovely man. Having Tom and McNair come in to it is great because it really opens up the werewolf side of it. The vampires have always been in everything and George was on his own before.
S – The zombie episode is a great episode.
R – The guest stars this year are awesome.
How was Lacey Turner?
R - We didn't get to do anything with her because all her scenes were with Lenora and Aiden. She's been bang on and everyone's been raving about her, she's a brilliant actress so that's great, she's amazing. Maybe the audience will come over from EastEnders - that's a few million.
And finally, how often do you get naked in this series?
R – Quite a few, you get naked too don't you?
S – Yeah I do, I get my bum out.
R – I think they have to put it in the contract.
Being Human returns to BBC Three on Sunday January 23.
Above: Russell Tovey as George & Sinead Keenan as Nina in Being Human.
Press play to hear Sinead talk about the new set for season three.
Tom_In_Oz_: @MrStevieWebb @mrchrissullivan MANLY shapes?
Tom_In_Oz_: @MrStevieWebb lol
Missing in action
JamesaFleet: @marcuswhitney1 I'm back in theatre and waiting for first ep of BH. Still no ipad.
Tom_In_Oz_: @JamesaFleet @marcuswhitney1 Jim half the BH crowd were worried. Radio silence makes people worry mate! All happens on the 23rd! Woo-hoo!
JamesaFleet: @Tom_In_Oz_ Yes 23 rd. Ooooo.
Tom_In_Oz_: @JamesaFleet All the new BBC blog stuff looking fab and still no promo pics of you! Who do I complain to??? lol
A Chile reception
extreme_fishing: The Chileans are revolting all borders closed just been turned back! Oh Cojones!!!!!! http://twitpic.com/3ppw58
boydhilton: Doing a talking heads thing for Sky tomorrow morning. They want me to wear a "smart shirt". *panics*
Tom_In_Oz_: @boydhilton Have you got one with the words "IQ 240" printed on it, that would be a smart shirt!
bryony_gordon: @boydhilton wear a frock. Just to *throw* them
boydhilton: @bryony_gordon yeah maybe I'll BORROW a frock
Tom_In_Oz_: @boydhilton @bryony_gordon Boyd what size are ya - I'll have a talk to the wife?
boydhilton: @mrchrissullivan thanks Chris! x
bryony_gordon: Oh this is my favourite question time line-up EVER
Tom_In_Oz_: @boydhilton @bryony_gordon Boyd what size are ya - I'll have a talk to the wife?
boydhilton: Switching from Shameless to Question Time in search of some SENSE
bryony_gordon: When I look at Michael Gove I just want to roast him and eat him w mint sauce. He looks like something that has been pulled out of a sheep.
boydhilton: UGGHH GOVE! #bbcqt
Tom_In_Oz_: @bryony_gordon M. Gove is a result of mixing sheep DNA with an alien life-form, surely!
bryony_gordon: @Tom_In_Oz_ haha
boydhilton: Dimble to Gove: "Don't roll out the whole story..." YOU TELL HIM, DAVE #bbcqt
Russell Tovey gives them curry!
russelltovey: @daddytimbo @beaglybob Brick lane?? Marsala Zone off Carnaby Street? I wish I had some secret place... anyone else? x
The pleasure is all Matthew's