Exclusive interview – full of spoilers, so only read on if you’ve seen the final episode
When SFX met Toby Whithouse recently for an interview he was a man with a lot on his mind. A nervous man. And if you’ve just seen the final episode of Being Human series three, you’ll have a fairly good idea why (if you haven’t step away from this page carefully now. Seriously. This is the mother of all spoilers and if you read on without catching up you’ll regret it).
So in between telling us about his five favourite ever Being Human moments (coming to an SFX Special near you soon) he had lots to say about why he decided to finally kill off Mitchell. Reading between the lines (and in a post-Ianto fandom landscape) he seemed somewhat nervous at people’s response, but overall he seemed pretty resolute – and gave us a great insight into how Turner being cast in The Hobbit changed the shape of the back end of the series...
“We always knew that we didn’t own Aidan Turner, we had just borrowed him from films,” he told us. “We always knew at some point he was going to go off and become a multi-million pound movie star. Consequently we weren’t in the least surprised when he got cast in The Hobbit . We were just delighted and felt we were incredibly lucky to have had him as long as we had.
“Ultimately this guy’s got movie star written all over him and there’s only so long you can have him in an ensemble of three, which is not to denigrate our great cast. His ascendancy is inevitable. In fact Aidan encouraged us to kill him because he knew that it would give his character a much better, more dramatic ending to finish off. Aidan actively encouraged us to write in that way.
“Aidan was always going to become a movie star, whether that was in The Hobbit or something else. We always knew he was going to leave at some point. So I think I probably started writing him out subconsciously from the moment we conceived of the Box Tunnel 20 – in our show there are always consequences, nothing is ever forgotten. It could have taken another five years for the payoff but ultimately from that moment we were moving him towards an exit, whether that had been in one series or three series time.
“Aidan was cast in the latter half of the filming of series three and the turnaround time means I’m always writing the last few episodes at that point anyway so it was fairly easy to move it. Aidan was encouraging us to give him a good exit. If he’d wanted to stay we’d have found a way to put him into series four, but he was going off to do three movies, he was in New Zealand which isn’t a great commute, and so we knew this was an opportunity to give him a good send-off.”
Whithouse pauses to emphasise the point: “As I say, this was with Aidan’s blessing I can’t underline that enough.
“There was discussion about leaving it open-ended just in case he returned but I think we knew in our heart of hearts that the chances of getting him back were very remote. Besides the nature of Being Human means if one day we did get him back we could do a flashback. I know I’m going to get it in the neck about killing Mitchell off but it was something beyond our control.
“I’m aware that the fans are going to be brokenhearted,” he said. “I did a Q&A with some fans recently and they were asking ‘why are you killing off Aidan’ and I was thinking (a) ‘how do you know that for sure when we’ve only just done it,’ and (b) as ‘if it were our choice to have him go’.”
Jokingly he added: “What is our choice is how he leaves but ultimately if you want to write hate mail to anyone write it Peter Jackson, all the fault is his...”
Whithouse has also gone on record defending the gut wrenching end of the season on the BBC Being Human blog so if you’re not ready to have things end check out his comments there. Also, don’t forget the fantastic Becoming Human will be showed on BBC Three next week in the Being Human slot. Now all we need is official confirmation of a series four to alleviate the pain. A bit... (We don’t think you’ll have to wait long…)
* So what did you think about the end of Being Human series three? And what are your hopes for season four? Have your say in the comments below, and don’t forget to check our review out here …