OUTSIDE excited fans were lining up in the freezing cold.
Inside Russell Tovey and the other stars of Being Human spoke about the new series of BBC3’s supernatural hit.
Among other things.
The venue for the second series launch last night was the Curzon Mayfair in a very icy London.
In the hours before the preview screening of episode one, I interviewed Russell (werewolf George), Aidan Turner (vampire Mitchell) and Lenora Crichlow (ghost Annie).
Before those hardy fans were let in and we all sat down to watch the first hour on the big cinema screen.
If you weren’t lucky enough to be there, you can see it on BBC3 at 9.30pm on Sunday.
TV bosses are so happy with Being Human that they have already commissioned a third series.
Due to begin filming in April.
“Brilliant,” smiled Russell, as we sat down on a sofa.
“But it’s a bit of a risk, innit? In case this series bombs,” he laughed.
On the evidence of the first 60 minutes, there’s not much chance of that.
Which is when I brought up the fact that he has just been voted third in Broadcast magazine’s survey of top UK TV talent.
Just behind Simon Cowell and Maxine Peake.
More smiles from Russell: “I don’t know anything about it, so thank you.
“How many people were on it – four?”
I know Being Human fans are a dedicated lot, so here are a few extracts from my chat with Russell.
Plus three related audio clips.
Did he think Being Human would have the success it has?
Transcript: “Yeah, I always thought it was brilliant, I always believed in it. When we did the pilot, I thought it was exceptional. When I got the scripts back in the day, I just wanted to be involved, I just wanted to do it, I wanted to play George. So it’s very rewarding and feels brilliant to be part of a show that you love doing so much – the anticipation for this series is huge – and that people really connect with your character and with the show. It’s what you’re in it for.”
What’s in store for George?
Transcript: “George goes darker. George is in a state of shock. The last series finished with him killing Herrick. George’s biggest fear is killing someone. He’s embraced his werewolf, something he said he would never do, he always said the werewolf was very separate to him. So he starts off this series in shock. He’s got his girlfriend Nina, but he doesn’t know the repercussions of what happened in the chamber at the end. He still thinks they’re kind of happy but he’s unaware of what’s really happening to him. But he’s embracing the wolf, which is a scary thing for him. But also the scary thing is, is that he’s not scared by it anymore and I think it kind of makes him grow up very quickly, become more of a man – like the wolf, the animal in him is kind of coming out. It’s still a personal journey on how to get through life being a werewolf. But I think now he’s getting a bit more bold in his choices to knock the werewolf out, to kind of beat the wolf and I think there’s a lot of stress that puts on the friendships. I think the friendships are very tested this year because they’re all going on their own personal journeys.”
Filming his transformations into a werewolf?
Transcript: “It is tiring. I love it, though, but it’s tiring. I think it’s just the fact that it’s time consuming. It’s the three hours putting it on, longer getting it off. There’s a lot more this year, a lot more werewolf transformations. But also more of the budget has gone with more prosthetics this year, different quality, more intense on the face.”
(As part of the transformation, Russell has to wear big contact lenses):
Transcript: “I can’t stand contacts. As many times as I’ve had them now, my eyes just hate them, I don’t like them, so I get the contacts over and over again. They’re like dustbin lids, they’re horrible. And normally what should take 15 seconds to get in takes 20 minutes an eye. So I have a splitting headache by the time we do it. But it looks great and people love it and thank God for that.”
The audience reaction to the show?
“I don’t know how you can’t really be a fan, even if you’re not into sci-fi, it’s got all the other elements of just three friends trying to cope with being a bit different and people connect on this on so many levels.”
Speculation that he might be joining Torchwood as Captain Jack’s (John Barrowman) partner?
(The two actors were recently paired in the final minutes of David Tennant’s Doctor Who farewell on New Year’s Day, with Russell reprising his role as Titanic Midshipman Alonso Frame to sit – and flirt – beside John’s Captain Jack in an intergalactic bar)
“It wasn’t until afterwards, actually…I didn’t realise the repercussions of what that scene actually meant for Jack and Alonso. The fact that Jack’s partner has died and now the Doctor has set him up with this new guy. So I have had so many people message me now about Torchwood, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know anything.’”
Russell starts filming new six-part BBC3 comedy Young, Lazy and Unemployed on Monday and had come to the Curzon Mayfair straight from rehearsals.
He plays Steve, a “laddish man with no desire to seek employment” alongside Sarah Solomani as girlfriend Becky in an “often shocking comedy about what really goes on behind the bedroom doors of today’s twentysomethings”.
“Often shocking? I suppose I’d describe it as ‘warts and all’ but it’s this couple who never leave the house, never leave the bedroom. They’re young, they’re lazy, they’re unemployed. They’re not ashamed of it, they just get on with their lives. She farts. That’s quite shocking for a girl to fart on TV, I suppose. But it’s not like the show’s going out there to really shock people. It’s just completely genuine and natural and brilliant. I am so excited to be doing it.”
Russell will go straight from filming the comedy to work on the third series of Being Human. Does he have something lined up after that?
“Possibly, yes. Nothing official as yet.”
What is it about the appeal of sci-fi and the supernatural on TV?
“I don’t know what it is. But what’s lovely about it is, is that the fans are the most loyal fans you’ll ever get. Sci-fi fans are the best. They’re just so awesome. I don’t know what it is about sci-fi. It’s a cliché, but it’s escapism, whatever that really means. It’s just the fact that it’s so fascinating for people and that someone’s mind can transfer from to paper to screen, like Russell T Davies’ brain, how that works, how he comes up with all these things? Even how he comes up with the names of these characters. And people lap it up.
“And I think the fact that this is, for us personally, so well written and the characters are so brilliant. And I think the fear we had right when we shot it, right at the beginning – if people don’t like George, Annie and Mitchell, then they’re not going to go in there with us. But people really love them.
“We’re like The Spice Girls. There’s one of you for everyone. Whatever Spice Girl you’re into, we can cover those bases. So people get into the show and we can take them anywhere. And that’s really rewarding.”
*Being Human series two begins on BBC3 at 9.30pm on Sunday (Jan 10).