Being Human 5.06 "The Last Broadcast" REVIEW

TV REVIEW From Honolulu Heights to the depths of despair

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Being Human 5.06 "The Last Broadcast" review .

THE ONE WHERE Our heroes defeat the Devil and finally Become Human… or do they?

VERDICT The moment we learnt that Being Human ’s fifth series would feature Old Nick himself, one question immediately sprang to mind: how on Earth can a humble werewolf, vampire and ghost defeat an entity as powerful as Satan himself? Surely they can’t? Well, no… they can’t. Perhaps if we’d learnt that this was to be the final season at the same moment, we’d have put two and two together.

Being Human 's punningly-titled final episode is initially a somewhat bewildering affair, because pretty much everything you expect to be a Really Big Deal is dealt with surprisingly briskly. Even though there are some great moments – Hal’s musical number, the battle between Hal and Tom, Captain Hatch’s speech to humanity - early on, it feels strangely rushed.

Hal’s turn to the dark side doesn’t turn out to be that much of a problem; neither does Alex getting trapped in a coffin. And while it’s pleasing to see the series ramping up in scale, with scenes of deserted streets that recall the likes of 28 Days Later , it’s all too obvious that you can’t convincingly portray post-apocalyptic chaos on a BBC Three budget. There’s no real sense of the “hysteria and confusion” gripping the country.

Then there’s the fact that Captain Hatch seems to be dealt with fairly easily, with something as simple as a bullet to the temple. Of course, it turns out that there’s method in the madness here - we’ve been suckered. Still, it’s a dangerous game, playing with anti-climax. The tang of it can linger on a little, even when there are poignant reunions with loved ones to be savoured (the return of Ellie Kendrick as the adorably geeky Allison is a particular delight), and an audacious last-minute twist.

That bitter-sweet cake-and-eat-it ending is a work of genius - we assume you were paying attention and worked it out, right? In a geek-pleasing homage to Blade Runner (which revealed that Deckard was a replicant in similar manner), the shot of an origami wolf on the mantelpiece tips us the nod that the trio’s happy-ever-after is merely an illusory reality created by Hatch.

When did you cotton on? Kudos if you worked it out the first time Hal suggested that Hatch should “put them all together”. This reviewer had his suspicions the moment Alex became corporeal again – defeating Hatch might have removed Hal and Tom’s curses, but the idea that it could bring a dead woman back to life didn't seem to make any sense. The other shoe finally dropped when Hal recalled his suggestion.

Delivering a tear-inducing happy ending but then pulling the rug out from under our feet and revealing that it was actually a disastrous defeat, it’s a gut-punch of a way to an end a series; we can’t think of anything quite as haunting since the final shot of Sapphire And Steel . Guaranteed to divide opinion, it’s just the sort of brave, original, unexpected conclusion we hoped for from one of the finest fantasy shows of the last decade. We’ll miss you, Being Human .

BIBLE BASHING Hatch’s “And he seized the dragon…” speech sees him quoting several passages from the Book Of Revelation - namely 20:2, 20:7 and 20:8.

LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION Hal, Tom and Alex are seen walking along a deserted St Mary Street, in Cardiff city centre.

NITPICKS Surprisingly small place, Cardiff. First, our heroes bump into Rook. Then the Home Secretary handily turns up to give him a lift.


Hal sings Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ On The Ritz”.

The dubstep soundtracking the scrap between Hal and Tom is “Doomsday” by Nero. (Incidentally, Misfits fans might remember this playing at the party in series four, episode six).

Our heroes walk the deserted streets of Cardiff accompanied by the strains of “Can’t Pretend” by Tom Odell.

DELETED SCENE SFX was on set for the shooting of a sequence from the start of the episode that ended up on the cutting room floor. It featured Hatch stepping over dead bodies as he walked down the stairs of the Barry Grand, then whispering in another staff member’s ear.

IT’S WOSSISNAME! Alex’s dad is played by Gordon Kennedy, best known for his role in early-90s sketch show Absolutely . Stoneybridge!

HILARIOUS HEADLINE OF THE WEEK The latest outrageous example can be glimpsed on the front of Alex’s dad’s paper: “ARE THE UNIONS GIVING US CANCER?”

Generally, these mocked-up papers were given to Phil Davis. As script editor Laura Cotton explains, “We felt that the newspapers Hatch read were a great opportunity to demonstrate what an utter rotter he was. The process of choosing them was quite simple - I'd write up some examples using clichés from reactionary newspapers and then Toby chose his favourites to use in the show. We had a fantastic art department who were able to take our ideas and give them a fitting design.”

CREW CAMEOS Several of the production team make on-screen appearances. The waiter in the freezer is Second AD Mike Gallivan. The dead guy with a fork stuck in the side of his face (in the Barry Grand's dining room) is Production Co-ordinator Ross Southard. One of the bodies on the street is Sarah Dollard, writer of episode five. And the woman with a knife in her chest in the TV studio reception (below) is Line Producer Cheryl Jarrett-Davies.

BEST LINE Alex: “Wouldn’t wanna miss a bullshit supervillain speech from one of the cast of Cocoon .”

Ian Berriman

Read our Toby Whithouse interview about the end of the series.
Read our rundown of Being Human’s Best Moments .
Read all our Being Human series 5 reviews .
Read our interview with Being Human production designer Andrew Purcell.

Deputy Editor, SFX

Ian Berriman has been working for SFX – the world's leading sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – since March 2002. He also writes for Total Film, Electronic Sound and Retro Pop; other publications he's contributed to include Horrorville, When Saturday Comes and What DVD. A life-long Doctor Who fan, he's also a supporter of Hull City, and live-tweets along to BBC Four's Top Of The Pops repeats from his @TOTPFacts account.