Daily Archives: January 27, 2011

Being Human 3.01: I’m so sorry, but I’m afraid you’ve just died

Regular readers will know of my love for Being Human, primarily as being one of the only half-decent things on BBC3. And, as our dear friends at Smash Hits were wont to say, it’s back Back BACK!

We pick up from the end of the last series. Annie the Ghost (Leonora Critchlow) is trapped in purgatory and frantically appealing to her friends and housemates Mitchell the Vampire (Aidan Turner) and George the Werewolf (Russell Tovey) through a series of TV screens and radios. As charity appeals go, it’s not exactly Band Aid/Live Aid/Lemon Aid (oh come on, citrus fruits have rights too!) but it’s moving enough.

The Fantastical Four

Meanwhile, the chaps and George’s girlfriend Nina (for readers new to all this, is also a werewolf, have been bitten by George in the first series) have fled Bristol and are being shown round an abandoned B and B in Barry Island. Well, if it worked for Gavin and Stacey. The singular charms of Barry Island are colourfully outlined by a heroically lugubrious Estate Agent (“I bet heaven doesn’t have chemical toilets”). George and Nina (Sinead Keenan) are particularly taken with the basement, as it provides the prefect space for them both to transform into werewolves in the comfort their own home. Stick that in your Sales Particulars and smoke it, Heroically Lugubrious Estate Agent Lady! Proceedings are nearly derailed by Mitchell frantically walloping a tv set in order to reach Annie. “She’s our friend! We don’t have much time!”. Fortunately, George is on hand to calm the situation by hurriedly supplementing “it’s our friend, she’s, erm, appearing on Midsomer Murders later…”

Indeed, following a somewhat dour second series, Being Human has brought the funny back in a big way. And it’s brilliant. Despite its attempts and indeed some level of success at being a British Buffy the Vampire Slayer equivalent, it puts its own peculiarly British slant on the whipsmart one-liners.

We take a break from the B and B to be introduced to what turns out to be two new werewolves having a conversation in a transport caff. So far, so bonkers. But even better still, one of them is a Jake Gyllenhaal lookalike and the other one is ROBSON GREEN! We follow Robson as he uses a pair of bolt cutters to break into a locked up fairground to pinch scrap metal. Insert your own tenuous Robson and Jerome/Unchained Melody joke here, dear reader (note that I have not been arrogant/unrealistic enough to pluralise this). Unfortunately, he is rudely interrupted by a transit van full of thugs and DENNIS PENNIS! I am loving all these cameos. Also nice to see the producers nicely fitting in with my “British Buffy” hypothesis (take that, Popper and your black swans) by making Paul Kaye look even more like a mangy Billy Idol lookalike than Spike From Buffy (yes I know he’s got a real name, but this is my lunch break here).

We switch back to the main action, which largely involves George and attempting to, erm, y’know but suffering a number of difficulties including that old glasses-tangled-in-hair chestnut and then Mitchell bursting in and stealing the radio. As well as being very funny, Being Human is also very sweet. Cleverly, for a programme allegedly about the supernatural it says a great deal about the human condition. This is best encapsulated by a scene where George and Mitchell sit at the bed of a hospital patient about to die so that Mitchell can follow him into the afterlife to go after Annie. They bicker about Jewish Prayers and attempt to do the crossword, but switch to touching tenderness when the poor bloke actually carks it and his puzzled spirit self enquires what is going on. “I’m so sorry” says George gently “but I’m afraid you’ve just died”. It’s a fine line to tread between black humour and compassion. Being Human may not be viewed as a serious programme in some quarters, but it does a better job of this than most dramas. Continue reading

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