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Tom in Oz
Cute, openly gay actor Russell Tovey…
17 Jan 2011
Cute, openly gay actor Russell Tovey is reprising his role as George in the new series of BBC's hit drama Being Human, in which he battles with his double identity as a mild-mannered and geeky hospital porter who for one night a month is transformed into a flesh-hungry, predatory werewolf.
Here, Russell lets us in on what to expect from series three.
How do viewers meet George at the beginning of series three?
George is in a place of fresh beginnings. We have lost Annie and we've decided we're going to leave Bristol. We have to leave – Mitchell doesn't want to be there anymore. George is unaware of what Mitchell's been through but he's worried about it – he knows Mitchell has gone somewhere dark and he is trying to bring him back.
George and Nina are now a unit and they are very happy together for once. That's their fresh start and they have their vampire friend with them, but it feels as though they are really on their quest for happily ever after – and that is what George has always wanted.
So, he is in this place of keeping everything good, everything is fine and going well – so let's not think about the bad things. Yes, we miss Annie, but let's just keep going.
How does George feel about the move to Barry?
I think he is sad because the house is always where they made their friendships – the house is always heavily associated with Annie. But I think he loves a new beginning.
In the second series, he and Nina weren't really together and he would go off and meet loads of other girls and loads of things were happening to George. He was very unhappy and just missed her so much. Now they are together, they are going to start afresh and let it be a new beginning, a new page, and I think that is good for George.
Do you think George has a new confidence that viewers didn't see in the first two series?
Yeah, because he has got a comrade. And yes, he gave Nina the curse but she doesn't blame him anymore, she accepts it. So he's got someone who understands him completely, accepts him completely and loves him completely, so that in itself makes him a lot more confident and a lot happier – which I think is tough for Mitchell because he has always felt like he was George's crutch, a co-dependent relationship. But now it feels like George's affections and dependency is going onto Nina and I think that is quite hard for Mitchell.
"George is finally in a place where he can explore other werewolves...it has always mainly been about vampires and so to bring it back to werewolves again and opening that world up is going to be great for the fans.
Does George's relationship with Nina affect the friends' relationship?
By George getting closer and becoming more dependent on Nina, and spending all his time with Nina, I think Mitchell ends up feeling neglected – which is the worse thing that could happen for Mitchell because he needs to feel human and needed and the reason he has to stay on the straight and narrow is for other people. So, if other people start not needing him as much it's easier for him to abandon this life choice of abstaining from blood so he can slip back into the dark side.
I think the knock-on effect with Annie, as well, is that the friends are kind of - when anyone gets into a relationship they end up moving on, they end up neglecting their friends and going out and just spend time with the person they are in love with. It's not a horrible thing, they don't do it on purpose, but that is just what happens in relationships.
And, suddenly, if you are in a house where someone is in a relationship in that house, there are a lot of different dynamics unlike if you were just single friends. So I think that is kind of a test. I mean, nobody turns against Nina, everyone loves Nina, but for George he rather selfishly thinks, 'Everything is going well for me, so everything should be going well for everyone else'.
How would you describe the new pad?
The new pad in Barry is huge! It's an old B&B. It has loads of rooms – the depth on it is amazing when they are shooting, which is great. It is a big 70s throwback, there is all old furniture in there from the 70s, it just completely suits them that they are living in this completely eccentric, ramshackle house that everyone who has viewed the property has found disgusting – but for them, they call it home very quickly.
How does it feel having new werewolf characters this series?
I think that it's brilliant for the characters because it opens up the werewolf world. I think George is finally in a place where he can explore other werewolves.
I think it is great for the show because it has always mainly been about vampires and so to bring it back to werewolves again and opening that world up is going to be great for the fans.
"If you rip someone's head off, rip them to shreds and bury their body in all different parts of the country – how they can all suddenly find each other again and turn up scar free is baffling. It's terrifying for George, terrifying."
There are loads of great guest stars this series – how has it been working with them all?
Every guest star again has been phenomenal. We're just completely spoilt on this show that people love it and want to do it, so you get the best people turning up. You sit there at the read-through and you suddenly see who is playing these parts and it's really humbling and exciting. You think, 'Wow, this is the show that I have been working on', and now we have got to a point where Robson Green and James Fleet are turning up to do it.
Even the people that aren't well-known yet, they come in and you think, 'You are incredible', and you know you're going to look back and go, 'I had a chance to work with them in my show and now they are off doing these big things'. That's what it feels like with this show, that it's a big springboard for loads of talent.
George killed Herrick at the end of series one and at the end of series two it's hinted that he is coming back. How does that affect George and the rest of the housemates?
Well, in this show it seems like when somebody dies they never really die. For George, he ripped the man's head off and suddenly he reappears – that just doesn't make sense on any level. Yes, they are living in a world where he is a werewolf and he is a vampire, but even then if you rip someone's head off, rip them to shreds and bury their body in all different parts of the country – how they can all suddenly find each other again and turn up scar free is baffling.
It's terrifying for George, terrifying. And Herrick returns, but not as the Herrick we know. So suddenly you have a whole new side to Herrick to be explored, it completely throws the friends, the unit, into turmoil.
Have there been any memorable scenes this year, any scenes that have been particularly fun to shoot?
We always say every year every scene where we're together where we get to be our characters in the house – where's it's just basically Annie making tea and us chatting are the favourite scenes.
There's been a lot of drama as well involving the werewolves – myself and Sinead transforming together – and they've introduced this cage where vampires take wolves to do dog fights, they put them in there and throw a human in there on the full moon and they watch these fights. It's really dark but great to film!
But because it is still fresh in my mind, we have just finished the last scene of the third series and it took two days to shoot this really long scene. They were the longest days ever and really emotional, but a great scene.
When you get the scripts have there ever been moments when you think, 'I never thought they would take George there?'
Yeah, every time I read the scripts. That's what's so brilliant about Toby's writing, there is nothing predictable, I can't predict what's going to happen – I always think this is going to happen and then that is going to happen, but he completely takes it from the side and you find yourself saying: "Oh wow, I never saw that coming."
Toby's knowledge of sci-fi and these sorts of worlds is so vast, he lives and breathes this – where he gets his inspiration from, I have no idea. They are always incredible and very exciting to read and that is what keeps the show so fresh and brilliant – he keeps people guessing, on their toes and keeps surprising them.
Above: click to enlarge