'Being Human' exec producer Toby Whithouse talks about 'The Graveyard Shift'

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Image Credit: Touchpaper/BC

Just when you think you know a guy, he turns up in mid-19th century England with a mustache, no shirt on, and human blood running from his chin to his waistline. This week’s episode of Being Human certainly gave us a glimpse at the old, non-reformed vampire Hal (Damien Molony) and it wasn’t pretty. Oh, and we also learned that he’s an Old One—that sect of super ancient, super nasty bloodsuckers whom everyone fears. Not exactly the kind of monster you’d want taking care of a baby, especially the savior of the world. Below, Being Human creator and executive producer Toby Whithouse dissects the real Hal and the rest of “The Graveyard Shift.”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: That flashback at the beginning of the episode was gruesome. Now that we know what a bad, bad vampire Hal was, he seems erratic or unpredictable.
TOBY WHITHOUSE: I wouldn’t say it makes him erratic, but it makes him seem very dangerous—that he’s somebody to whom malevolence and rage are always lurking just under the surface. And you haven’t seen anything yet. Wait until you see episode 7.

When did you decide that he was going to be an Old One?
That was part of the storylining process. We felt that Hal’s defection back to humanity would be all the more difficult if he was somebody who has been part of the supernatural world for centuries as opposed to decades.

How much should we read into Regus screaming, “Oh my God, it’s you!” when he first noticed Hal?
A lot. It’s hinting at Hal’s hinterland and background. One thing we’ve set up right from the beginning of the season is the gradual approach of the Old Ones, who will be arriving at the end. We wanted to tee Hal up for that nicely, so that you know when they arrive his relationship with them will not necessarily be straightforward.

Is it significant that Fergus said Mr. Snow was the only Old One who was not afraid of Hal?
Yes, it is.

Having the Old Ones travel to Europe on a boat is so old school Dracula movie. Was that on purpose?
Yes, because it’s classic Dracula.

Why did you choose to have Tom and Hal work in a café?
To be honest, this slightly sums up the difference between the U.K. show and the U.S. show. I don’t mean this in a pejorative sense about the U.S. show, but in the U.K. show our theme has always been that our characters want to live under the radar. So they will find anonymous jobs and live lives that are inconspicuous. A café seemed a really good setting for that.

Did you shoot in a real café that was decorated with a New York City motif or did you create it?
It’s real. It does exist and it’s there to this day. You could eat there. Knowing the fans, they’ve probably besieged the place constantly ever since.

That brings me to Michaela. She seemed like the classic Goth fan girl to me.
Not necessarily. She’s more one of those people that we’ve all met that thinks they are far more interesting than they actually are.

Tom mentioned again that he wants to build a backyard pool. Is that important?   
You have to wait until episode 8. That will be paid off. It isn’t just the ramblings of my confused mind.

Okay, while we’re on that, how badly are the characters misreading the skin scroll?
Well, they are correctly interpreting the information that they’ve got, but there is one crucial piece of the scroll missing.

I’ve been comparing the vampire’s voice on the radio in post-apocalypse 2037 with every male character that comes on the show.
There are much better ways of spending your time.

So I’m not on the right track at all?
[Laughs] No.

Argh. Have you had the war child plotline planned since Nina got pregnant last season?
No. Every time we sit down to storyline a new season the first question we ask is, “Okay, [what actors] have we got?” When we sat down to storyline season 4, the answer was hardly anyone. But what we did potentially have was Nina and George’s baby. And so gradually, over the course of many frustrating and barren meetings, we came up with the idea of the war child.

I was stunned that Annie would leave Tom to run off with Baby Eve. Abandoning Hal seemed fine. But abandoning Tom seemed cruel.
There is a shift in Annie this season. She is becoming aware of her power, but I also think that she’s been given this mission to protect the baby and she takes that incredibly seriously. And that will be tested many times over the rest of the season. It will prompt her to do things that would have previously been considered out of character for her.

At the end of the episode, when Tom, Annie, and Hal watch TV, why did you have them pick Antiques Roadshow?
That was to mark the change in the show. There’s this moment before that—which was writer Jamie Mathieson’s idea—where they deliberately switch over from The Real Hustle which was the trademark program for Mitchell, George, and Annie. Antiques Roadshow is also the kind of parochial show that would appeal to Tom and Hal, because being that one is a werewolf and the other is a vampire, they really venerate the mundane. I personally can’t bear the Antiques Roadshow. Even the theme music breaks me out in hives because it reminds me of long boring Sundays when I was a kid.

You know the speech Tom gave about how vampires should have huge bank balances because they’ve been alive so long? I’ve been pondering something like that: How do vampires know what they look like when they get dressed in the morning?
Blimey, that’s a good question. I’ve always said that vampires can’t be seen in your traditional silver-backed mirrors, but as any eagle-eyed viewer will be able to tell you, you will have caught glimpses of our vampires in windows and reflections on glass. So, I imagine they might occasionally be able to catch a glimpse of themselves in a shop window.

That makes sense.
But I should point out that’s more to do with that we don’t have the budget to paint box out reflections in everything—so we stick to mirrors and photographs.

Who cares, we’ve solved it now, accidentally.
There you are. Yes. Agreement. We’ve done it.


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