Being Human Series Four - On Set With Michael Socha

Find out which episode of the new series features some sexy Latin - and learn the lyrics to the Being Human series four song!

On a cold November afternoon in Being Human ’s Welsh base (a former bus depot which feels more like a rivet factory or something than a TV studio), SFX stands on the sidelines observing as cast and crew shoot part of episode five of the new series, “Hold The Front Page”.

It features Michael Socha as young werewolf Tom McNair, but he doesn’t have to do much other than sit on his bed and react. The scene showcases the erotic possibilities of Latin, as a female guest star dressed as a barrister (wig, gown and all) advances on Tom, sensually intoning phrases like “habeas corpus” and “mutatis mutandis” whilst unbuttoning her blouse… Good luck figuring out how that might fit into a storyline!

Afterwards, we catch up with the actor to find out what it’s like stepping up from being a recurring guest star to a series regular.

SFX: So, you were in, what, three episodes last year..?

Michael Socha: “Four, actually! The main episodes!”

. .. And you’re all through the series now. Are you bricking it a little bit?

“Absolutely! Because when it comes to watching it, I’m gonna be in a lot of it…”

So you can’t be rubbish anymore!

“Well, I can, but I’ll be aware of the fact that I’m rubbish in lots, rather than rubbish in the odd scene!”

Do you watch yourself normally, then?

“I do, yeah. In anything that I’m in, whether it’s big or small, unfortunately I watch the first time and it might sound a bit vain, but I’m looking at myself. I’m seeing how I perform and how I fit in with the rest of the people. Then the second time I can watch it as a viewer and see the whole thing together. But I do watch myself yeah, I do, and sometimes I fucking hate myself! Lauren, my sister does it as well.

“It’s like: I know me, and I know Tom, so it’s me who would probably feel it more than anybody. Somebody else might say, ‘That was great’ but I think, ‘No it fucking ain’t!’ But this time, when I’ve watch myself on telly after I’ve gone, ‘I’m fucking proud of you, Mike - you’ve done well!’ But sometimes I watch and think, ‘Oh god, that’s me done now, I’m gonna be a brickie!’ Not that a brickie’s a bad thing, but that’s what I’m gonna be doing for the rest of me life now. I had my chance, and I fucked it up!”

We gather that Tom gets paired up with the new vampire character, Hal, quite a lot. How do they get on together?

“Oh, they hate each other at first! They’re complete opposites. There’s werewolves/vampires, and Hal’s very posh and OCD and very stiff upper lip. He’s got to keep certain things in a certain order - that’s what keeps him on the straight and narrow, keeps him off the blood. He needs routine, he needs order, and there’s bits where if, like, you move a little domino he’ll go mental.”

So is Tom the sort to move things deliberately, to wind him up?

“Well, no - he just doesn’t give a fuck, to be honest! He’s just a woods boy isn’t he? He’s an outdoorsy boy: he’s like Bear Grylls without any intelligence! He’s very naïve though, Tom. He doesn’t understand certain things about people - he’s a lot to learn about the world. He’s got manners and he’s reasonably well-behaved, but I think he needs to grow up a little bit more.”

And he’s the youngest one in the house of course, so do they treat him that way?

“Yeah, Tom’s very much treated like a child, and there’s an episode where Tom goes mad at being treated like a child. He’s had enough of it and goes, ‘Fuck off!’ Well… he doesn’t swear! There’s so many things he hasn’t done - even a teenager has done a lot more things than Tom McNair. But then also Tom’s done things that a man of 70 would never have done, and he knows about things that your typical academic wouldn’t do.”

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Do you have a favourite episode or a favourite scene from this series?

“I really enjoyed doing the girlfriend scenes [in episode six] - Tom’s first girlfriend! When I read the script I was like, ‘This is fucking great, man!’ I’m not just saying this, but I thoroughly enjoyed every storyline. I prefer certain locations to work in, but I think there are so many brilliant lines, plots, little stories, that I can’t just choose the one. And that’s genuine - I fucking love ‘em all.”

So how does Tom cope with having a girlfriend? Because as you say, he’s pretty naïve.

“Yeah! He doesn’t understand at all. He knows that he likes the look of this person, this woman, but he doesn’t know what to do about it. Buckles when it comes down to a shag and that! He wouldn’t have a clue. Very frigid, really! He knows what he wants, but he doesn’t know how to do it.”

Well, some of us are still in that position…

“Yeah, unless I’ve had a bit of that! [Mimes knocking back a pint] Then I’m sound!”

What’s the maddest day you’ve had on set?

“Transformation day is a fucking ridiculous day! You spend so long in the make-up chair to do half an hour of screaming your head off, and then I think, ‘’Fucking hell, I’ve actually done that and got paid for it today!’. I sit down with some wonderful women who are brilliant at what they do, then I go and shout me head off, then go home and have a pint and think, ‘Fuck, this is how I earn my money - this is what I do?!’ Yeah, it’s mad. But I always hoped and wanted to be doing this as a kid and I never thought for a second I would, so every day’s a fucking good day.”

And there was an unusual conclusion to our interview as Michael called over Damien Molony (Hal) to sing a Being Human song they'd put together, which goes a little something like this! (You’ll have to imagine how it looks and sounds, but to give you some help: the first line is sung to the tune of “Starry, Starry Night”, while the second's accompanied by gestures to the scars on Tom’s head)

“Scarry, scarry head…
The lines go down from neck to brow on this boy’s head!
Scary scary vamp (Scary, scary, scary vamp!)
He’s dressed divine, but the boy with the lines is dressed like a tramp. (Dressed like a tramp!)
Quite nice see-through ghost
Others have been and gone but she’s number one, so she’s paid the most.
She’s paid the most!”

Ian Berriman

Read our interview with Toby Whithouse next !

You can read much more about Being Human series four in SFX issue 218 , on sale now.

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.