I don’t know about all of you, but the season 3 finale of the UK version of Being Human on BBC America last spring was a total shocker for me. I did try to avoid spoilers, and was rewarded, but everyone had kept pretty quiet about it, so it wasn’t that hard. My, how things have changed.
We told you in October about the casting of Damien Molony as Hal, stepping into the vacated vampiric shoes of the dearly departed Mitchell. We also told you back in November, because he gave an interview about it and subsequently tweeted about it, that Russell Tovey would be leaving the show, though we weren’t certain when.
See if you can figure out the latest news by looking at these new posters and two screen shots, via SimplyTV, from the upcoming new season:
So, there’s the new guy, Hal. Oh, there’s the young werewolf from last season, Tom. There’s the lovely Annie. Ah, there’s George, looking none too good, but at least now we know he’ll be on for at least one episode. George is in fact looking pretty rough. He’s probably extremely upset about what he had to do at the end of last season. But at least he’s got… Hey, wait a minute, where’s Nina?
Sinead Keenan Tweethearts, long statement to follow…..
Sinead Keenan It is with a very heavy heart&a little relief that I can now tell you that I will not b appearing in S4 of Being Human. I cannot tell u…
Sinead Keenan …how difficut it was to make the decision to leave. I’ve had 3 wonderful years on BH, some of the best I’ve had in my acting career…
Sinead Keenan …I was asked not 2 say anything about my departure by the Powers That Be, which I dutifully adhered 2 4 mths, hence my sporadic tweeting..
Sinead Keenan …but now the presspack has been released it seems the story is out. I want to thank u all sooo much 4 ur wonderful support over the…
Sinead Keenan …3 seasons. I hope u all continue 2 enjoy BH&that we’ll meet again very soon on some other great TV adventure. Big love from YOUR fan, S x
Sinead Keenan Tweeties, u are a joy 2 behold. I’m not gonna lie 2 u, I’m balling here reading some of ur lovely messages. Snot&everything! So Not pretty..
Sinead Keenan … Thank you al so much from the bottom of my little heart! All love, luck and loveliness to you, each and every one!! xxx
Sinead Keenan Also, for those of you asking… I believe my departure happens offscreen. I haven’t filmed anything for Series 4 xxxxx
And here’s what was in the press pack to which she refers:
Being Human, BBC Three‘s award winning and critically-acclaimed drama, returns for a fourth series. Following the gripping series three finale in which viewers watched Mitchell fall victim to the wolf-shaped bullet, series four sees the aftermath as the housemates return to their home in Barry Island. There are also some new faces in town…
Introduction by Toby Whithouse
Every year we set ourselves the task of creating something bigger and bolder and better than anything that’s happened before. We knew this year was going to be especially tough because of the various cast changes. Not only would it be our first series without Aiden, but Russell had decided that series 4 would be his last, and Sinead had decided that her Being Human journey had come to an end after series 3. The mountain before us seemed even higher than usual.
But once we’d stopped rocking and shaking, we saw Series 4 as an opportunity: we could invent new characters, expand the show in different directions, create new worlds and monsters and heroes, and add new layers to the overarching Being Human mythology. Suddenly Series 4 was a genuinely thrilling prospect.
But the essential DNA of show remains the same. Recently I found the pitch document I wrote for series 1. This was the opening paragraph:
“We’re the stuff of nightmares. And we’re your only hope. George, Mitchell and Annie yearn for their vanished humanity. Being Human is a unique twist on the aspirational drama, as the things Mitchell, Annie and George struggle to achieve are so common place and normal to us, yet impossibly remote to them. And the desire to be accepted by their old lost race will drive them to acts of immense courage, and foolish hazard. Our heroes may be like characters that have tumbled from the pages of a book, but their problems are always recognisably human, and the stories will strike a balance between the supernatural and the domestic.”
This was for our and the BBC’s eyes only. Hence the rather self-conscious ‘pitch-speak’ (and the odd contradiction. The characters are remote from us, yet share our problems? What? Shut up, Toby. Seriously. Stick to dialogue and stage directions.)
Obviously, a lot can happen in four years. But looking back at it now, I’m relieved to see that those words are still relevant for a show that has a new cast, a new location, an American reincarnation and expanded beyond our wildest dreams.
As ever, Being Human lives or dies on the strength of the characters and the cast, and that’s why I think this series is our strongest yet.
Damien Molony joins the team as Hal. Hand on heart, I think he’s one of the most exciting and versatile actors of his generation. Watching his performance grow over the filming was a joy.
Then there’s Michael Socha. Promoted from semi-regular to lead. If you thought he was good in series 3, wait till you see what he does in series 4. Michael will break your heart this year.
And of course beautiful Lenora. Our star. The heart of the show. This year she gives a truly breathtaking performance. One of my favourite moments of 2011 was the first full screening of episode 2, when she left us all with our jaws on our chests.
As I said earlier, Russell and Sinead felt it was time to hang up the wolf ears and fangs. We were obviously very disappointed to see them go, but as I’ve always said about our cast, you can’t hang on to actors that good forever.
I’m reminded of a moment in series 2, when George is talking about moving in with his girlfriend. Annie is devastated, but Mitchell knows that there’s not much they can do. Then Annie leans across to Mitchell and mutters: “We have a cage…” Believe me, the thought did occur to us too.
So what have you got to look forward to?
We introduce you to a new type of supernatural creature (thank you, Wikipedia); there are some stunning guest appearances from Alex Jennings, Mark Gatiss, James Lance, Mark Williams, Amanda Abbingdon, Craig Roberts (reprising his role as teenage vampire Adam), Selina Griffiths and Ellie Kendrick; there’s a genuinely shocking death, and we take you to somewhere we’ve never been to before.
News of Russell’s departure – and to Aidan’s before that – was greeted with rather wearying predictions that the show was now ‘over’. But I write this a few days after seeing the finished cut of episode 8, and I’m happy to report that it’s never been in ruder health.
The new cast, the crew and directors and the other writers have pulled off something extraordinary and completely reinvigorated the show. I hope you’ll agree, rumours of Being Human’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
Well, there you have it. We can pretty well presume that they will somehow incorporate Nina’s absence through some bit of exposition in the first episode. Any guesses? It could really go a number of different ways…
Three of the four main characters from last season, and two of the first three original characters, gone or soon to be gone. What do you think? Will you still tune in? The premiere date for season 4 has not yet been announced by BBC Three, nor by BBC America, but count on hearing about it from us when we get confirmation.
By the way, don’t forget, as we told you last week, Syfy‘s Being Human showrunners have announced that their season 2, which premieres next Monday, January 16, will be moving in an entirely separate direction from original recipe Being Human, so none of the storylines that reflect the UK cast changes in the BBC Three version will be showing up on the Syfy version.
Being Human (UK version) season 4 will be airing on BBC Three in the UK and BBC America in the US in 2012.