Word of warning: This post may contain spoilers about ‘Being Human’ series 1-3.
I finally finished season 3 of ‘Being Human’ yesterday.
To be honest, I still don’t really know what to think about it.
In some ways I wish they would have kept the atmosphere of the first season, where the aspect of a ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire living a normal human life was at the foreground.
Vampire politics were always in the background, but the character’s plight to appear ‘normal’, hold jobs, fall in love, form bonds with others, was the main theme.
By season 3, it’s just madness and mayhem.
Blood-spilling and bone-breaking galore.
The reason for such an evident turn is obvious.
Aidan Turner, who played the vampire John Mitchell was moving on to greener Kili pastures, and I’ll give it to the writers that they used the whole season to give him an exit worthy of his talent.
This, of course means plenty of torment for the character, moral dilemmas and difficult choices.
It’s a countdown the an inevitable end.
Long gone is that beautiful smile, expect it to be exchanged for a painful grimace.
This lead me to think about the other casualties of the Hobbit, which will be the theme of a series of posts titled: The Casualties of The Hobbit.
Just for the record, I’m writing about the characters that got left behind due to the commitments of the Peter Jackson project.
For obvious reasons, once an actor was cast for a part in Sir PJ’s double whammy, all other obligations had to be dropped.
Aidan Turner and ‘Being Human’
If you’ve seen the last episode with Mitchell the vampire, you will know that his exit is pretty much final.
Back in February 2011, Turner gave an interview to EW, where he talks about his plans for the future.
Here’s a fragment of the conversation:
After the premiere aired in the UK, and Mitchell found out about his imminent death, the Internet went wild with speculation that this was a set up for you to depart the show now that you’re starting a film career.
Well, that’s what the Internet does, isn’t it? It fuels gossip and stuff. It’s a long shoot over here for The Hobbit. It’s two movies. We haven’t talked yet about dates for series four of Being Human. It’s so up in the air and it’s so far away that I can’t really commit to anything. And they need to plot out storylines and see how long they need Mitchell for, so I guess we won’t know until a later date what’s going on.
So, you are planning on returning to the show.
Yeah, if it all works out. The BBC needs to talk to me about dates. All the boring stuff needs to be cleaned up, and then I guess we’ll see.
From this interview I gather that the biggest problem was scheduling.
I would imagine that Jackson’s Hobbit is a jealous and demanding mistress, so any other projects would have to adjust to the scheduled shooting in NZ.
The creator of the series, Toby Whithouse, who gives the full story of Turners departure:
From the first moment we met Aidan, we knew we were really only borrowing him from global super stardom. The same goes for all our cast. You can’t have actors as good as Aidan and Russell and Lenora and Sinead and Jason, and not expect someone else to notice.
I guess it really hit me back when we were doing series 2, and perhaps unconsciously I shifted the stories in a way that paved Mitchell’s exit. I thought it’d be better to have him go out in a scripted satisfying way, rather than lose him between series and open up with the rest of our heroes standing over a grave, with one of them saying “Wow, who’d have guessed Mitchell was SO allergic to bee stings…”
The consequences of the Box Tunnel Massacre were always going to be the cause of his demise, but whether that happened at the end of series 3 or series 33 was never defined. Contrary to a lot of the posts on the blog assuming that we’d chosen to kill him off, I didn’t want to write him out until I had to. And certainly right up until the shooting script of episode 8, Mitchell was still going to be undead and kicking when the credits rolled.
But then Peter Jackson came along. And it turns out he’s a fan of the show. Oh Irony, I could punch you in the neck.
Once we’d all stopped congratulating Aidan and envying him we had to decide what to do with our favourite vampire. Despite his commitments to Middle Earth, we were still planning to keep Mitchell ‘alive’. Perhaps, we thought, Wyndham could dispatch him back to Bolivia and maybe (though we had to concede it was pretty unlikely given what Aidan’s schedule would be for the next 3 years) we could get Mitchell back for an episode of series 7…?
But y’see, that Turner fella is smart. He knew that ending, while leaving the door open for him to return one day, would be ultimately unsatisfying. And so it was his decision – and with his encouragement – that we ended Mitchell’s story there.
It was like one of your children leaving home. You’re excited for them and wish them all the best… even though you really want them to stay with you forever. But like I said, with actors of that quality, it’s inevitable that they’re going to be offered other extraordinary opportunities.
Nonetheless, we shouldn’t let the end of Mitchell’s story define all that’s gone before. For me it’s been an honour to work with Aidan over the last 3 years. Watching him mature as an actor has been one of the great pleasures of working on this show. And aside from his skill and professionalism and talent, he’s also a ridiculously nice and funny guy, and…
Actually, damn him. Seriously. I’m glad he’s dead.
So let’s raise a glass to Aidan Turner. It’s been a blast. You appallingly talented man.
Losing an actor like Aidan Turner must be difficult for a show. I’m not sure if I’ll be moving on to season 4 of Being Human.
I think the nasty experience of episode 1 of Spooks season 10 has taught me that even the best series can suffer from the departure of a beloved character.
If you’re a fan of the show, I encourage you to watch the pilot episode of Being Himan, where the part of John Mitchell is played by Guy Flanagan, and Annie the ghost is played by Andrea Riseborough. As much as the latter casting was, in my opinion, much better than Lenora Crichlow, Flanagan’s vampire didn’t work for me.
There was a strange ‘blokey’ feel to the character, and it lacked any sort of sex appeal.
What was supposed to be an air of vampire mystery, actually came off as a poor man with constant constipation.
No offence but he seemed like the third Gallagher brother, of Oasis fame.
Russell Tovey as George the werewolf, was the only character to remain from the original casting.
Adrian Lester plays Herrick, the vampire leader and main antagonist of the first season and returning for the third. Dominique McElligott plays the recent vampire convert Lauren, made into a vampire by Mitchell.
Except for the character of George, all these parts were recast when the series went into full production.
In my opinion, the casting revolution worked out for the best.