Imagine running a popular British TV show and discovering that three of your four stars are leaving the series. That's the position BBC America's Being Human creator Toby Whithouse was in when he started season four and Russell Tovey, Aidan Turner and Sinead Keenan quit the series.
"It was quite an arduous and daunting beginning, because the first thing we had to deal with was the loss of essentially three-quarters of the main cast," said Whithouse in an exclusive interview. "So that was a bit of a shock. I mean, in some ways it was something we were prepared for, because as I've said in previous interviews, the thing is that when you have actors as good as Aidan and Russell and Lenora and Sinead, then it would be naive to think that no one else is going to notice and no one else is going to want to offer them work."
With only Lenora Crichlow, who plays ghost Annie, returning, Whithouse knew he had to figure out a way for the show to continue. But what do you do when the show's premise is that you have three roommates—a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf—who are trying to keep their humanity intact and attempting to live normal lives?
"When it came to the point where I had to start writing the first episode of series four, at first it was quite scary and not really something I was looking forward to. But as time went on, I started to realize that rather than a crisis, actually this presented me with a fantastic opportunity to reboot the show. Also introducing new characters would inject the show with new energy and open up an incredibly rich vein of new story material ... and it became an incredibly exciting prospect as opposed to an incredibly daunting one," said Whithouse.
So far this season, Annie has found new roommates, including werewolf Tom (Michael Socha) and vampire Hal (Damien Molony), as they all try to raise a baby who may have an important destiny.
With three episodes left to go, "the thing we were trying to achieve with the last couple of episodes is that suddenly all of the disparate stories start coming together. When I start writing episode seven, the penultimate episode, that's always the moment that I get to see just how well my subconscious has or hasn't been working, because the things that I set up in episode one, and not quite necessarily understanding why, will suddenly make sense in the last two episodes. So in the end of episode seven, the Old Ones will arrive to put their plans in practice. In episode seven, Cutler's plan is finally revealed. And ... what else can I tell you? And another character fulfills their destiny. That's all I can say, really."
And things have gone well enough for Being Human that a six-episode fifth season has been ordered.
"The response to series four has been terrific. We're thrilled that the audience have taken the new cast into their hearts with such enthusiasm and affection. We're delighted to have this opportunity to expand the world further and explore new characters and tell new stories," he said.
As for Syfy's Being Human, which was inspired by Whithouse's British original, he hasn't been keeping up with it. "I'm wary of watching it because I'm worried that I might unconsciously start nicking their stories," Whithouse said.
The busy writer/producer also is working on a new episode of Doctor Who, but he's coy about the details. "Because Steven Moffat would literally come round my house and punch me in the neck. So I have to be very careful."
Being Human airs on Saturdays at 9 p.m. on BBC America.
How do you feel about the new characters on BBC America's Being Human? Do you miss George and Mitchell?