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Cult Interview

'Being Human' Week: Q&A with Russell Tovey

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George in Being Human season 3

© BBC

The Being Human gang have decamped to Wales for the show's third series, so earlier this year we took a trip to the new set for a few on-set interviews. We kick things off with Russell Tovey, aka the often loveable, occasionally terrifying werewolf George Sands! Read on to learn what's coming up for the gang this time around, and how George feels when a resurrected Herrick rears his miraculously-reattached head!

Where do we find the characters in episode one?
"They're trying to find a house and they find their new home. They're not settled to begin with, because Annie's not around. As soon as she's back, I think they feel like they're sorted and life's great. It's positive for George, Nina and Annie, but for Mitchell, it's a negative that life is so great. He always has to destroy. That animal in him always comes out and he has to serve that."

How do you feel about the show's move from Bristol to Cardiff?
"It's great. There's a massive new set and it just gives it a lot more scope. It doesn't seem like a big change really. They're both great cities and it's nice to get to know Cardiff now. It's also great for the story. It suddenly feels more fresh in a new environment and suddenly you can explore new ideas in the house. There are new props and new furniture to jump over!"

How does the show deal with Annie being tied to the old Bristol house?
"Well, we worked out that Annie was able to be tied to the friendship in the end. That was the thing that kept her here - the love between the friends. So wherever we go, Annie has managed to go as well. Also, in the last series she was pulled over to the other side and she's gone. She crosses over and then comes back, so wherever she arrives, she can regenerate, become stronger and survive in that way. That's it for Bristol and now she's living in limbo in Cardiff!"

What's happening with Herrick in this series?
"Herrick comes back. He doesn't come back for a few episodes, but it's terrifying for George. The thing with this world is that nothing is the end. When he appears, it sends George into shock. He's killed this guy, he's ripped his head off and there he is again, with no scars and looking absolutely fine. How do you explain that? That just defies all laws. I think it's terrifying for everybody."

How does it feel to have two new werewolves (played by Robson Green and Michael Socha) on set?
"It's brilliant. Finally, more werewolves! In this series, George and Nina really settle into each other. They know they've got each other now and that's it for them. I think they feel more open to exploring and we open ourselves up to more werewolves, whereas before George didn't want anything to do with it. He transformed, but he was human the rest of the time and that's it. Now he's really open to it and wants to know everything. George and Nina want to know all the folklore and everything to do with it. It's also great for the fans to have more werewolves in the show. Plus, it's great to have Robson and Michael around. I think it's about time. We've had about a million vampires, so it's time to have some more werewolves!"

Has George given up on finding a cure for his condition?
"Yeah. All he's ever wanted is to be normal, have kids and fall in love with someone. He's now met someone. He's given her the curse, but she's accepted it now, so it's as normal as it gets for him. They both look after each other. They've got a home and jobs again and they've got their condition under control. There's a basement in the house where they can transform if they need to, or there's the old chicken-on-a-string trick! It feels like life is going great for them, but Mitchell kind of gets left on the wayside a bit. We've always been dragging him back to humanity and it's a lot harder to bring him back this year."
George from Being Human

Is it a challenge keeping the character of George fresh after three series?
"It is a challenge, but I think really that solely lies with the writers. I think they have the biggest challenge. We just get given the material and we bring that to life. We've been really blessed that there are new guest writers coming in, and [creator] Toby [Whithouse] has still got these incredible ideas for story arcs that you can really connect to. The hard work is done by them. If it was [the actors] having to write it, I think we'd all be panicking now! We'd definitely have run out of ideas, but they keep it going."

How much input do you have into the character?
"We put ideas in of what we'd like to do and Toby can either take those or ignore them. Normally he ignores them! But the input that the writers already have is that they know how we are now with our characters. They write for us [as actors] and I think a lot of writers say that when they have an actor in mind, it's easier for them to write. I think that's what they've found with us."

What other hints can you give us about this series?
"The threat comes from within. Herrick comes back too - that's bad! Tricks end up being played on the group from an outside influence. People are being tricked into believing things. The whole thing with Mitchell killing all those people on the train in the last series is a huge storyline. Will anybody discover that Mitchell is the guy? So that's a massive cloud that looms over this whole series for Mitchell and for everyone else."

What is the best thing about being part of the series?
"It's just a cool show. The storylines and the writing are brilliant. As an actor, you want to play every emotion. In the space of an episode, I'm naked, crying, laughing, being stupid, being earnest, being serious. There's an emotional arc constantly and it's just great to play as an actor. Now we're in the third series, the show's got a following and people love it. It's always nice to keep going back to the show when people are so behind it."

As the only actor to have been with the show since the pilot, how do you feel about the whole Being Human experience?
"It's been incredible. It's been a massive part of my life. I remember doing the pilot and thinking 'This is brilliant, I'd love this to go [to series]'. Being with the show for this long, I only have positive feelings. If you get involved with a project, you want people to watch it and like it. People do love this show and that's awesome."

Being Human returns for a new series on January 23 on BBC Three.

What do you make of Russell's hints? Looking forward to the show's return? Leave your comments below!

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