Where BBC1 got it wrong with Joe Ahearne’s Apparitions, BBC3 gets it spot on with Being Human. Again we have the central premise that supernatural creatures are real and live amongst us, but what if they were a reluctant ghost (Lenora Crichlow), werewolf (Russell Tovey) and vampire (Aidan Turner)? What if they just wanted to get on with their lives and not get caught up in the nightmares inflicted upon them? Written by a lesser being than creator Toby Whithouse it could be irritating or even banal, but this is charming, engaging and funny whilst maintaining an appropriately horrific edge.
It’s clear from the start that our heroes, whilst moral people, have the odds stacked against them. The last time Mitchell gave into his bloodlust he created a genuine monster in Lauren (Annabel Scholey), who welcomes the freedom and ability to kill with open arms and has no issues in killing his next girlfriend. George starts running out of options of where to hide when the moon becomes full, and Annie can’t quite explain why she isn’t fully departed. Does it have something to do with her boyfriend, now the hapless trio’s landlord?
It’s to the cast’s credit that none of them outshine one another, although Tovey’s performance is notable by its emotional intelligence. He effortlessly cannons between slapstick humour and great intensity in creating a delightful, interesting character. His nudity for his transformations doesn’t hurt either :). It makes you wonder what sort of an Eleventh Doctor he would have made, had Russell T Davies stayed with the Doctor Who franchise! But Turner and Crichlow are certainly up to his standard. Turner’s heroism in going ‘cold turkey’ from human blood has a considerable cost, and you can see it in his multi-layered performance. Crichlow’s helplessness is perhaps the most easy to relate to – her inability to understand what has happened to her makes her far and away the most interesting ghost I’ve ever seen on TV. And her turmoil in being essentially alive but not being able to physically connect with the human race, and feeling as frightened at the monsters as we are, is impossible not to sympathise with.
Subplots aplenty are ready to kick off, and it’ll be interesting to see not just what happens, but how these wonderfully fleshed out characters develop as the episodes go by. I’m watching this on the BBC iPlayer, so won’t keep you in suspense for too long, if you haven’t already seen it (or can’t)!