Being Human: Interview: Leonora Critchlow, Damien Molony and Michael Socha

“Be interesting – or we’ll start asking you questions,” threatens Leonora Critchlow at the start of Sci-Fi Bulletin’s conference call with the three stars of the fourth season of Being Human. The series returns to BBC Three on February 5 with Eve of the War (read our review here), with creator Toby Whithouse bringing Michael Socha’s young werewolf Tom to the fore, alongside Critchlow’s Annie and a new vampire to the show, Damien Molony’s 500 year old Hal…

Episode 1 feels like the start of a very new show. Leonora, what was the feel of this season?

Leonora Critchlow:  Very exciting.  I think I started with a lot of nerves, obviously, and anxiety about what to expect, but I think you’re right. In essence, it’s the same show, but there’s quite a different energy. The new characters bring with them their own flavour, so it does change a little bit but I think that’s needed.

If you think about each series when it started, there was always something to change it up a bit. The changing faces is this year’s challenge.

Damien, as a newcomer to the show, how did that feel?

Damien Molony:   It was very exciting. I was very nervous about joining this hit TV show, this award-winning show that had three amazingly successful series. I was worried whether I would be able to keep the show going as strong as ever, but the scripts are so good, and so funny, and so charming – but there’s always that dark element. It was really exciting first of all to get cast in it, and now we’re 48 hours away from the first episode coming out. I haven’t seen any of the episodes yet; I am so excited as a fan, and as an actor, to see it up on screen.

Michael, did you expect to be returning to the show in such a major role this year?

Michael Socha:  No, not in my wildest dreams. It’s a dream come true. They did say at the end of last year, “Would you come back if we asked you?” and I said I’d love to. I took it with a pinch of salt because I never, ever guarantee a job until you’re there on the first day. What’s the quote?

Damien:  You’re never safe until you have the bacon sandwich in your hand!

What’s the relationship like between Tom and Hal? Obviously there’s a good banter between you two as people, but what about between the characters?

Michael:  At first it’s shit. We don’t get on at all.

Damien:  They hate each other at the start. Obviously Tom’s dad was murdered by a vampire, and vampires and werewolves are extremely suspicious of each other and want to wipe the other one off the face of the Earth. It’s very tempestuous and full of tension at the start, but as the show goes on, Hal really looks up to Tom as a leader, because that’s what he is, and learns to rely on both Tom and Annie for guidance and protection.

Despite his backstory of having been around for so long?

Damien:  Exactly.

Annie’s role has constantly changed over the series, protecting the house, the lover with Mitchell: what’s her role this time around?

Leonora:  Mother! Annie is Mother. She’s taken on the role of mother. She’s found her inner maternal self and she’s flexing that old muscle, I think. She came to grips with the fact that she would never have children, and went through the grieving process there. Her life was stuck, and all these dreams and ambitions she had would never be lived out, and then, hey ho, thank you, Toby, she gets a baby. She becomes the guardian of Nina and George’s baby, and she takes that responsibility very seriously.

Also, her maternal side is brought to life by Tom and Hal moving in. Think of her as the ultimate foster mother, if you will.

Has she come to terms with what Mitchell did to her?

Leonora:  Yes. I think she makes peace with it in her own way; Mitchell sort of committing suicide in a way redeems him in her eyes, and was him making  good. That will be the love of her afterlife, if you like, and that kind of is that. She is now free to take on the responsibility in front of her because her heart has already been broken but always given away.

What’s been the most challenging thing about this season?

Leonora:  That’s a really hard one, because it’s such a joyful job. The hardest thing is leaving – isn’t that beautiful? The hardest thing is saying goodbye, and having to wait. Weeping, we are.

Damien:  I had such an amazing experience, I’m trying to figure out what it was.

Michael:  I know what my hardest thing was. [to Damien] It was when you come back in the house, and I was having to explain [spoiler] to you. For some reason, the lines weren’t coming at all. It was a page and a half long and just…

Leonora:  Learning lines, then for Michael! The hardest part of the job. That’s a bit worrying, but hey…

What’s surprised you most with the scripts – or are major surprises just normal for Being Human?

Leonora:  Yes, pretty much every script I’m going, “Wow! Wow! Oh my gosh, I didn’t see that.”

Damien:  Yes all the things that we learn about Hal.

Michael:  I want to know, on Being Human, why werewolves exist.

Leonora:  Who was the first werewolf?

We learn something about the first vampires in the first episode this season…

Leonora:  Exactly. We know enough about vampires.

Michael:  Vampires are boring, man.

Leonora:  They’re so over-exposed! We know how ghosts are made: people die. We don’t need a big book written about it! But that’s an interesting point.

Have you asked for a chance to do something particular this season?

Michael:  I have. I wanted Tom to be bad. I got told to eff off. I wanted him to come back and be like some seedy horrible man, rather than this naïve green boy. I said that to [producer] Phil [Trethowan] and Toby and they both told me to eff off, go away and let them carry on doing what they’re doing!

Leonora:   I’ve always been gagging for a flashback and a change of clothes, but that’s never going to happen.

Damien:  I was in the costume truck in my very first week and I was trying on costumes.  All the producers and costume people were coming in to watch me getting unchanged, and I said I had to go to the gym that night. They said maybe they could write it into the script, and sure enough, by episode four, I’m doing press ups, chin ups, everything…

Leonora:  He’s doing them beautifully, with exposed torso! So tune in for that, if nothing else!

Damien:  Lots of baby oil!

What do you think fans will enjoy most about this season?

Michael:  Damien’s top half!

Damien:   Apart from that! The throughline arc of the storyline this year is riveting. We shot episodes four, six and seven together and then we were given scripts for episodes five and eight. I didn’t allow myself to read them, because we got them on the last day of the second block, but I couldn’t help myself and I couldn’t stop reading. Five contains so much, and episode eight has the most amazing opening sequence to an episode I think I’ve ever read.

Michael:  That there are new characters involved. There’s some amazing acting, and I’m not just saying this cos he’s here, but Damien is f***ing brilliant. One of the first scenes he had to do was one of the hardest scenes for an actor to do. I think he does an amazing job.

Leonora:  I’ll second that. The performances from the new cast are definitely worth tuning in for, and hopefully the Being Human fans will be as nervous and anxious as I was to see how on Earth the Being Human team pull this off, but once they get a sniff of it, they’ll just be carried along. It is a really brilliant series, but that is intriguing, to watch the new talent do their thing.

There are no rules in the world of Being Human, and if there are, Toby makes them up. It is a blank canvas, and luckily he’s a very intelligent and imaginative writer. We’re in a good pair of hands.

Being Human returns on Sunday February 5 at 9 p.m. on BBC Three in the UK and to BBC America on Saturday February 25.

Read our spoiler free review of the first episode here

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