Below: Russell Tovey . . . as one door closes . . .
November 16 2011
“I felt so sad when I saw how Aidan was leaving,” says Russell Tovey, explaining his decision to leave Being Human. “I felt so sad for George, because he was losing his best friend; I felt so sad for the show, because Mitchell was a big the reason the show was so successful. I feel like we were The Spice Girlsand we’d just lost Ginger. Or we’re Take Thatand we’d just lost Robbie. Or we’re Westlife and we’d just lost Brian. Although no-one cared about Brian. Okay, we were Take That.
“I’m going to miss Aidan. I didn’t want to do it without Aidan and I wanted to leave on a high. It just felt time.
“I know some people might be pissed off with me that I’ve left, but I want people to love George and understand that I want to go off and explore other things. It’s sad. I’d decided that I was going to go when I finished filming series three, but then it was so successful and I thought, ‘Should I really be leaving?’ But I am. For me three is the magic number. It’s always in my head. I’d done three series and I was ready to go.”
That doesn’t mean, though, that there’s no George in series three. He doesn’t just vanish, with a line from Annie about how he’s off in Bolton now, or whatever. But just how much we’ll see of him is yet to be revealed. Seems he’ll be getting a proper send-off, though.
24 September 2010
What television series would you take to a desert island?
At the minute, Nurse Jackie. I was recently over in the States promoting Being Human for BBC America and on the plane ride back I watched it. Edie Falco is awesome and the writing is great. It has that thing where once you've finished one show you go, "Right, where's the next one?" That's magic.
Would you ever consider doing a series in the US?
No, I wouldn't dream of it, I'd never leave England… Yes, big time! I would love to! Every actor's dream is to get a series over there and be able to come back here and do theatre and TV. Bizarrely they love our shows and slag off their own, but for us in England they're kind of the pinnacle, the American Dream, I suppose.
What are your guilty television pleasures?
The X Factor. I make a point of being in on a Saturday, and now a Sunday, of course, for the results. And I vote. My mum's a big voter, we're from Essex and last year you had Stacey Solomon and Olly Murs, so she was torn. I think she spent a tenner every week on ringing up, but neither of them won.
Would you ever go on a reality TV show?
I think a part of me romantically thinks it would be amazing to learn to dance or ice skate, but in reality I don't think it would be beneficial to my career. If it all goes tits up, then ask me again and I'll be like, "Course, yeah, whatever. Give me a camera and I'll do anything", but at the moment I like being an observer.
How do you feel about becoming a TV sex symbol?
Have I? Really? I'm astonished and honoured. I still see myself as this sort of spotty, pasty, big-eared, little cheeky sod that got chucked out of his classes at school for being naughty. I don't see myself as anything that someone would want to put on their bedroom wall.
There aren't many young male actors who are openly gay - do you see yourself as a role model?
If it has been beneficial to people, then I am really chuffed. There wasn't anyone when I was growing up that made me go, "Oh, they're gay and that's fine." If people think I'm a sex symbol, that's great for my ego, but it seems like fluff if you can help someone come out or be more confident with the fact that they're gay.
Do you think your sexuality has affected your career as an actor?
I don't think so, no, because I've never made a big deal out of it. I think some people find that refreshing. I'm not aware of anyone saying, "I can't cast him because he's gay." I think I can play the anti-romantic lead but I couldn't ever be the Brad Pitts or Orlando Blooms.
Who, dead or alive, would attend your dream TV dinner party?
Would they be dead at the table? Can I revive them for the dinner? Well, David Jason would pop in. Maybe Sharon Osbourne, she'd be a laugh. Moira Stuart, because she's always been there and it would be nice to actually see her in the flesh, and Tony Hart would come back so we could draw stuff - Rolf Harris, too.
Did you watch a lot of TV as a child?
Only Fools and Horses was just one of those shows that could keep on going and going, that excited me. Hartbeat with Tony Hart and Rolf's Cartoon Club were my huge favourites, though. I used to love drawing and always sent work in to the show. If I hadn't gone into acting then I would have perhaps become an animator.
You were 11 when you started acting - was it something you'd always wanted to do?
When I was really young I wanted to be a history teacher because I was obsessed with the past. Then I started spending the holidays watching Home Alone, Hook, The Goonies, Stand by Me and, of course, Dead Poets Society, and I used to pretend I was a runaway. I remember thinking after that, "I want to be an actor."
What was it about Dead Poets Society that inspired you?
Robin Williams made me want to become an actor, in Dead Poets Society, Mrs Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam, Patch Adams and as the genie in Aladdin. I haven't met him but we were launching Being Human last year at this hotel in LA and he was on the bill. I saw his name and literally got a wobble in my stomach.
How did you get your first acting part?
I went to a local drama club and joined a kids agency, so I got sent to auditions. The History Boys was a massive milestone, when that came out it crossed all mediums: radio, film, theatre and, later, TV. It was like our drama school, our education, before we went out into the world. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
Do you still keep in touch with Alan Bennett and the History Boys cast?
Yeah, I spoke to him a little while ago. I saw James [Corden] the other day, I'm friends with Sam Barnett on Twitter, I spoke to Dom [Dominic Cooper] recently, and Frances de la Tour lives just down the road from me. Nick [director Nicholas Hytner] got knighted, so we all went to the party. Out of all the jobs I've done that's definitely the one where you got friends for life.
What are your comfort films?
For all my life I've watched Pretty Woman. It's just a near-perfect film. You weren't expecting that, were you? There's also an old classic with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn called HouseSitter, which I love. It's all these kind of romcoms, I should perhaps try and come across a little more manly and say Saving Private Ryan or something.
Who would you choose to play you in a film of your life?
Wayne Rooney, only because we look kind of similar. Or Gordon the Gopher. Maybe Michael Gambon, that would be quite interesting, if he could age down somehow.
You're filming the third series of Being Human at the moment - what can we expect?
Well, the first series was funny, the second series was very dark, and the third series is a combination of the two, so we've got a nice balance. Nina is also a werewolf now, so you get two werewolves co-habiting, and filming has now moved from Bristol to Cardiff.
You were the only person from the pilot who went on to be in the first series - how did that feel?
As an actor you know who your character is by the way that other actors talk to you, so starting again with Lenora [Crichlow] and Aidan [Turner] was nerve-racking. You think that they are going to have a pre-conceived idea of you, but after two or three days it all felt right and it's been brilliant.
How long does it take to be transformed into a werewolf?
Hours. I'll get in about 4:30 in the morning and sit in make-up for three hours, then go on set, come back, and put more make-up on before going back out. Then I'll take everything off, take off all my clothes, and run around naked while they're still filming. That last bit has nothing to do with filming - it's just what I do as an end-of-transformation celebration!
You're also starring in BBC3 comedy Him & Her - what's that about?
You watch this couple in their bedsit, so they're just being themselves. They fart and use the toilet and pick their noses, but in a very real way. Like if you had a camera set up filming the things you wouldn't want people to see. It's shocking in terms of it being warts and all, but it's also a love story.
What attracted you to the role?
The role is just awesome and the writing is so clever and fresh. It's good playing someone who is completely different to [Being Human's] George. I'm very proud of it. It's all set in one room, so it was quite intense filming in this hot box in your pants and socks. Although it's fine because I'm normally naked, aren't I?
Do you think comedy acting is perhaps your forte?
I think it was just something that happened - I mean, a lot of things I've done are comedy dramas but it's not like being in a sketch show. I do a lot of dramatic characters with huge emotional arcs and access to emotion, that's what interests me. I think comedy and tragedy are very closely linked.
You also have an interest in screenwriting, is it nice to be on the other side of the script?
Yeah, I haven't had anything done yet, but I've got a writing agent, whatever that means. I think you'd be most likely to see something I write on a stage rather than TV. Writing for me is like improvising as an actor, I just let my hand move as I think of something. It's a release of something creatively.
Do you have any other ambitions?
I just want to play really good characters and keep getting these opportunities. There are so many people out there who are really talented and have great characters that I'll want to play in the future. If I could have the life of anyone I would like to be a male Julie Walters. I think she's had an incredible career.
MLPasterisk: @russelltovey @Tom_In_Oz_ Your #himandher series 2 ep 3 overnight rating report (sponsored by Spaghetti Nuggets) is 621k
russelltovey: RT @welsh_gas_doc: I love #himandher. It's like a modern day answer to The Royle Family. Beautifully observed and performed by @russelltovey and Co.
JKCorden: It's official...We're going to broadway next year!! So proud and excited! X
russelltovey: @JKCorden amazing!! Line up the Vera's! X
russelltovey: RT @DrWhoOnline: @russelltovey Hi Russell, please could you plug our #DoctorWho Children In Need Auction - 100% of proceeds go to CIN - http://t.co/UACLbL9y
anj_thomas: @russelltovey please please tell me when him and her is on? I've missed too many episodes in the new series now, I need to catch up! X
russelltovey: @anj_thomas 10.30 BBC3 tonight!!! X
Sam_Foxton: @russelltovey if you could only eat one type of chocolate for the rest of your life, what would it be?!
russelltovey: @Sam_Foxton almond m&m's x
mrchrissullivan: With @russelltovey in #nandos b4 @rihanna - hes eating huge cloves of garlic- #Reekhanna
russelltovey: @mrchrissullivan dog x
mrchrissullivan: Watched @rihanna tonight with @russelltovey - absolutely fantastic- the girl knows how to put on a show!
russelltovey: RT @THEKERRYHOWARD: Get your pop corn ready for #himandher 10.30 BBC3! It's a cracker! Laura is a massive dick tonight. Enjoy! X
DOUBLE FIGURES START AT 10
russelltovey: RT @bbccomedy: #HimandHer is on @BBC3tv tonight at 22.30. This preview clip might be the most romantic ever written... http://t.co/JNwlz6HU
russelltovey: RT @BoyVirginiaMade: I auditioned for The Glee Project. Watch and LIKE my vid, Please! EVERY LIKE COUNTS. tell your friends! http://t.co/rOv5Sjw6
mrchrissullivan: @russelltovey The new "thing" is: 1. Walk up to someone. 2. Shout "Expelliarmus!" 3. Smack what they're holding out of their hands. 4. Run.
russelltovey: @mrchrissullivan knob x
mrchrissullivan: @russelltovey crucio! (swift kick to Knackers and leg it)
MatthewCainC4: @THEKERRYHOWARD Please be nice to my twin @russelltovey on telly tonight! I hate it when you're nasty to him, it upsets me.
THEKERRYHOWARD: @MatthewCainC4 @russelltovey I'm sorry darling I'm just doing my job. X see ya Friday! X
johncconnell1: I wonder has @russelltovey blocked me or something. He used to talk to me regularly, but I haven't heard a peep out him for months now. :'-(
russelltovey: @johncconnell1 yes I blocked you ;-) x
russelltovey: RT @Solemani: @russelltovey and I do a little interview. youtube.com/watch?v=fXWYzi…. I tried a new look...
mrchrissullivan: On the way to the O2 with @russelltovey to watch @rihanna loud- better bring it tonight !!
russelltovey: RT @mrchrissullivan: Don't forget tweeps #himandher tonight at 10:30 BBC3- meet the parents! With @russelltovey @Solemani @THEKERRYHOWARD
Emma_Dilley1: @russelltovey would really love a tweet back ;) #himandher xx
russelltovey: @Emma_Dilley1 tweet x
NosheenIqbal: Body will be watching @cultscultscults live. Ma heart will obv be laffing @russelltovey @thekerryhoward et al (latter steals show tonight)
russelltovey: @NosheenIqbal nice one! :-) x
francesbarber13: @russelltovey so sorry i didn't say welcome to double figures yesterday my darling & so sorry I am away to raise a glass have a great time x
russelltovey: @francesbarber13 aww thanks super one.. Sure to see you soon x
A HAMMY SANDWICH
Tom_In_Oz_: Dear @rudehamster it was lovely to talk to you again...just great to hear you are on the mend - finally!!
rudehamster: @Tom_In_Oz_ *squeaks*
Tom_In_Oz_: @rudehamster dot dot dash dash dot.....that's mouse code! Do you squeak mouse?
rudehamster: @Tom_In_Oz_ UK mouse, UK ferret, german marmoset, UK & Russian squirrel, UK gerbil, Swedish gerbil, Rabbit (general) & level 1 meerkat.
Tom_In_Oz_: @rudehamster very impressive all I can do is field mouse and rat...I work with the world's biggest rat - had to learn her language!
PeteLordAardman: Our Pirates! teaser trailer youtube.com/watch?v=DWOFLt… - still makes me smile.
Tom_In_Oz_: @PeteLordAardman Pete there are nudists in this movie right?? When do we get the nudist version the #stripteaser ??? youtube.com/watch?v=DWOFLt…
russelltovey: RT @PeteLordAardman: Our Pirates! teaser trailer youtube.com/watch?v=DWOFLt… - still makes me smile.
THEKERRYHOWARD: Mike Leigh is gonna watch #himandher tonight!
russelltovey: @THEKERRYHOWARD wtf?? How do you know?? X
THEKERRYHOWARD: @russelltovey he told me and Sarah last night at the national that he was gonna watch it! Cool huh! X
russelltovey: @THEKERRYHOWARD serio coolness @THEKERRYHOWARD x
THEKERRYHOWARD: @russelltovey did you have a good birthday? x
russelltovey: @THEKERRYHOWARD yes ma'am x
WheresWalles: Happy Tuesday gang! Off to meet my fabulous agent for some coffee and career-planning!
Tom_In_Oz_: @WheresWalles tell T, the well-known T in Oz, says High-Tea…!
WheresWalles: @Tom_In_Oz_ I'll do that!
russelltovey: Maverick sabre.... The new Macy Gray? X
Tom_In_Oz_: @russelltovey so that's rattling sabres en garde
JerryUntz: grrr cold sweats, got through 2 t-shirts and feel like i've got daggers in my throat!!
russelltovey: @JerryUntz sounds hot x
carlos_11: @russelltovey can I get a shout out? Proposed to my girlfriend and she said yes! :))
russelltovey: @carlos_11 congrats!!! X
impossprince: @russelltovey random, if you were a item of @kylieminogue clothes what would you be? #randomquestions
russelltovey: @impossprince her nipple tassels x
CAUGHT OFF GUARD
russelltovey: I had a great birthday day! Thank you to all you lot for making it even better with all your lovely messages... En garde! X :-)
Tom_In_Oz_: @russelltovey so my son is 30 on 4th Dec...his idea of fun is taking 5 work buddies out for tea and playing lawn bowls...LAWN BOWLS!!! Eeep!
russelltovey: Oh and of course... Tonight BBC3 10.30pm... #himandher episode 3... "The Parents" if you please? En Garde! X
Sheridansmith1: Last day on Quartet, gonna miss this amazing cast & crew. Start filming on Scapegoat tomorrow morning! Getting a new 50's hairdo tonight :-/
russelltovey: @Sheridansmith1 congrats and congrats frog x
JKCorden: @russelltovey Im liking this En Garde! Thing! X
russelltovey: @JKCorden it's rare right? En Garde! X
Tom_In_Oz_: @russelltovey @JKCorden re garde au vouz
TMarkstahler: @Tom_In_Oz_ @russelltovey @jkcorden It's "regarde à vous"... but that's not making too much sense either!
Tom_In_Oz_: @TMarkstahler @russelltovey @jkcorden was it meant to make sense...tsk x
TMarkstahler: @Tom_In_Oz_ @russelltovey @jkcorden Of course not!!! *rolles eyeballs*
JKCorden: @russelltovey It's medium rare!
mrchrissullivan: @russelltovey happy 30th GB!
MatthewCainC4: Had brilliant evening celebrating 30th birthday of my twin @russelltovey but Cher's now come on the iPod - bedtime I think...
demelza2: @Tom_In_Oz_ @russelltovey oh lovely Happy Birthday x
Bennielawrence: @RussTov_FanSite Very sweet picture xx
NoNoNannette30: @RussTov_FanSite Awww Tommy, I missed his bday? Happy belated birthday to my FAVORITE werewolf...EVER! muah ;) @russelltovey
AustinFx4: @Tom_In_Oz_ LInk to the crossword puzzle answers as posted on Tovey Blog.
Tom_In_Oz_: @AustinFx4 thanks a mill Will x
AustinFx4: @Tom_In_Oz_ hopefully some people had fun with it
RussTov_FanSite: @AustinFx4 Hi again Will about 1000 people downloaded puzzle snap off blog so I think in 2 days that's not bad more will see it over time tho x
Clrussell66: @RussTov_FanSite hope Russell had many happy returns if the day. It's all about him.