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Being Human Series Four - Toby Whithouse Interview

The vampire/werewolf/ghost house-share is back on telly this week - hurrah! We talk to showrunner Toby Whithouse

Craig Roberts as Adam in Being Human.
Toby was surprisingly chipper for a man who was trapped in the fridge.

Are there any new writers this year?

“Yeah, we’ve got a writer called Tom Grieves, who wrote an absolutely fantastic episode four. I was going to say it’s gonna be one of the highlights of the series but actually we haven’t had a duff episode! I think it’s up there with series three as the best series we’ve done. But Tom’s written episodes four and five, and he took on episode five very quickly and did an absolutely fantastic job on that.”

And Craig Roberts is back as Adam the vampire in episode five. His star is really in the ascendant now after his role in Submarine – I’m surprised you managed to get him again!

“Yeah I know, and it came from a total fluke meeting! I was on the BAFTA jury this year for directors and I literally just popped out for a cigarette and there was Craig coming in for a meeting. I just chanced my arm and said, ‘Obviously you’re too big to come back and work with us again!’ and he said, ‘Oh god no, on the contrary, I’d love to come back’. So I rang my producer straight away and said, ‘Craig would come back - what do we think?’ and we just thought, ‘Well, it’s too good an opportunity to miss.'

“I don’t know how the other actors work with him because he does so much improvising, spinning the lines in a certain way, and he just has me in tears watching it. He’s absolutely amazing, and it’s so brilliant to have him back.”

The show does seem to be increasingly successful. Do you have any ambitions in terms of it ramping up or is it just a case that in these straitened times you’re just grateful to get a show made at the BBC at all?

“What do you mean by ramping up - moving onto another channel?”

Maybe having a larger budget or a larger profile?

“To be honest there isn’t a single show in television that wouldn’t like to have a bigger budget - even Doctor Who would like to have a bigger budget! But in terms of where the show is we are very, very, very happy on BBC Three. People have often said, ‘Don’t you want the show to move onto BBC Two or BBC One?’, and genuinely, hand on heart, I’m really happy with it on BBC Three. I think that we’re a very good fit there. The reason the show is good is because the BBC let us make it that good. They’re incredibly encouraging and supportive of the show, and they really look after us, so we’re very happy there.”

Do you think the future for shows like Being Human is more perilous now with all the penny counting that’s going on at the BBC?

“I don’t think that’s true just of our show. I think every corner of the entertainment industry is going to feel the constraints of this now, and the cutbacks are going to start to bite everyone soon. But I think we have an advantage in a way in that our show has always been about character, and character is free. If you were a show that relied on a heavy CGI budget and so consequently didn’t necessarily pay that much attention to character, then I think you’d be in trouble. But I’m relatively confident about the future of Being Human because, as I say, our show is about characters, and that can be done on pretty much any budget.”

Ian Berriman

Read our interview with Michael Socha (Tom McNair).

Watch the trailer for Being Human series four .

There’s another interview with Toby Whithouse in the latest SFX Vampire Special , on sale now.

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