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Being Human returns

Well thank goodness for small mercies. After the crazy and somewhat unfathomable decision to commission the dubious (i.e. terrible and inept) Phoo Action for a full series about 30 seconds after its pilot finished, Danny Cohen, controller of BBC3 seems to have seen some sense. Yes, rejoice ladies and gentleman, Being Human, the flat share comedy drama about a werewolf, a ghost and a vampire, has been given the go ahead for a full series with creator, Toby Whithouse, on board as writer.

I am so pleased about this. Being Human has been one of the few dramas this year, outside The Fixer and He Kills Coppers, to engage me as a viewer. The notion of a flat share between a trio of supernatural creatures almost seems a little obvious, but Whithouse’s pilot script pulled it off with some style and originality. It was also blessed with some great performances, particularly Russell Tovey as reluctant werewolf George and Andrea Riseborough as sweet-natured ghost Annie.

Now if I were the kind of TV blogger who liked teaching TV production types how to suck eggs, I’d say that the series should pull back on the overt vampire gubbins running through the pilot. Guy Flanagan as Mitchell had a certain charm, but the depiction of a vampire society that hangs around in nightclubs wearing sharp suits, drinking wine and being painfully gauche is about as hackneyed as it gets. Oooh look! Vampires are edgy and sexy. I know, after decades of films, books, comics and TV shows, an original approach to a horror staple is difficult to distil, but Ultraviolet did it reasonably well (although the sharp suits remained). I wouldn’t go as far as recasting Flanagan, but this is one element of Being Human that could do with a rethink.

That lone gripe aside, I am looking forward to six new episodes of what will hopefully be a fun, witty and occasionally shocking piece of TV drama. Forget the down with the kids vibe of Phoo Action, this is where BBC3 should be looking for some real success.

4 Comments

I agree. I think Phoo Action was stereotypical BBC3, with the channel trying to be "too cool for school" and youth-oriented – and failing utterly as a result (although Phoo Action was reasonably fun at times). Being Human was a lot better though, and like Gavin & Stacey and Last Man Standing, shows what the network could be like if it wanted to be.

Don't agree with you about Ultraviolet though – absolute classic and only Corin Redgrave got to wear a sharp suit, and it wasn't that sharp at that.

One criticism- it would be even better if the BBC integrated some ethnic minorities into these comedies. Sadly lacking in almost all new work comisisoned by the BBC at the moment.

A little late to comment on this story, but as the new series is soon to air...

For me, this was the best one-off TV drama I saw last year. I'd never done it before, but I actually wrote to the beeb asking them to commission it and offering my services as an additional writer. I was gutted by the response I received saying it was simply a one-off show when there was such a rich vein of ideas to mine.

Ultraviolet was great too, with strong themes and original ideas, but its slickness made it less compelling than this.

I do disagree with the comments about Guy Flanagan and the role of the vampires - the "glamour" they brought nicely offset the other elements in the show. I think you need both.

I guess we wait and see how the series develops, but well done to the beeb for changing their minds and letting it happen. Hopefully the wait to transmission means they've thought the series through in a good way, and not murdered it by committee. The original vision was strong and clear.

I think you're in for disappointment Keith. Flanagan and Riseborough (the two characters I liked best) are out. The gurning, jug eared Tovey remains. The advance publicity looks like an originally funny and thoughtful drama has had a dose of "down with the kids" and is going to disappoint those who took the trouble to tell the BBC how much they liked the pilot.

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