« Previous | Main | Next »

TOBY'S BLOG: THE MYTHS AND MORE

Post categories:

Garret Keogh, Online Editor | 12:47 UK time, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

 

  toby4.jpg

New to BH? Watch out, this post contains spoilers from series one...

 

Toby Whithouse, the creator of Being Human, is back to answer more of your questions about the series.  Toby, over to you...

 

 

I've been pouring through the comments on the website and here's a few questions I've found... 

How did I decide which bits of mythology to use and which to ignore? 
I chose whichever ones offered the best story potential. For example, I liked the tradition of vampires not being able to have their image captured on film. I felt this could throw up some exciting and unsettling visual moments, such as the CCTV at the beginning of episode 1, and the Vampire Porn in episode 2.

Then I found the rule about vampires being unable to cross a threshold unless invited. There was something about this I liked, so threw it into a script. It wasn't going to feature heavily and might have got cut, but suddenly when I got to episode 5 I could use it in a really interesting way...

 

Because there are so many rules about supernatural creatures, we could pick and choose what ones we wanted. But the bottom line always had to be "What gives us the best story?"

 

Werewolves crossing water. This has its roots in folklore, when lycanthropy was connected with madness. The insane were often placed on islands, as this was considered an effective way of cutting them off from the rest of society. I guess they thought if you were mad you couldn't build a raft. But over time it's got twisted up with hydrophobia, the fear of water, which is supposedly a symptom of rabies.

 

A question about George's transformations. After all this time, why isn't he secreting a spare set of clothes somewhere?

Once transformed, George has all night to lope around. Consequently he could wake up 10 miles away from where he started. So he'd have to have sets of clothes hidden away in dozens of locations.

 

I then ventured into the world of internet forums. Man, that was scary. But here's what I found...

 

Is that an amulet of some kind that Mitchell looks after for George? 
No, it's George's Star of David. George is Jewish and his faith is very important to him. It's worth clearing this up now because in future episodes, the 'religious symbol' thing becomes really important...

 

Will we explore the line from the pilot "the men with sticks and rope"? (basically what Annie and Mitchell saw when they died)

Death is obviously a major topic for the show. We saw Gilbert pass over in episode 3, and we'll see something similar later in the series. The image of the men with sticks and ropes is a line that seems to have struck a chord with a lot of viewers and I've been asked a couple of times where it came from. This sounds very indulgent and pretentious, but I had no idea I was going to write that line until I wrote it. It took me completely by surprise. But yes, it is something that we will revisit later.

 

Speaking of the pilot, here's an interesting one.

Is the pilot 'canon'? (i.e. does the series follow on from the pilot?)  

Yes. I'd like it to be. I know three of the characters have new heads and there's been a tonal shift in terms of the vampires, but I tried to make sure nothing in the series contradicted anything in the pilot. Some people have said, in episode 1, it appeared that Annie hadn't met George's ex, Julia, when in fact she had. I disagree. I wrote episode 1 pretty soon after the pilot, so for me it was a direct pick up. There's nothing in what Annie says that (at least to my mind) says she hasn't met Julia.

 

Ok, back to you. Keep those questions coming, otherwise the next blog will be about my kitchen extension.

 

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I am in LOVE with this progream its great.

    I am looking forward to part 4.
    But i am not looking forward to part 6 at that is the last episode in this series.

    I hate to say goodbye to anything or anybody and i know i will cry

  • Comment number 2.

    Since vampires can't be caught on film -- how does Mitchell have a photoID at the hospital?

  • Comment number 3.

    I dont think its of any interest to any body but my family line comes from the carpathains in romania we come to the UK over 500 years ago and i still have family in constanta and brasov

  • Comment number 4.

    This is my new fave show, I hope you do a second season because its so awesome! I noticed Mitchell's ID to but did it actually have a photo on it? Anyways I was wondering if there are going to be any flash backs of Herrick and Mitchell's past? That would be really cool :D. I also gotta ask do the vampires on here need the blood or is it just something they like? Can they just live on normal stuff? As Mitchell seems fine (sometimes) without it. Oh yeah and do they have any super cool powers we will get to see? I think Laura showed some cool moves in the 1st episode like smell and possibly strength. Thats all for now!

  • Comment number 5.

    Yay! Always interesting to read the blog of the great Toby Whithouse. (I'm just sucking up in the hope that we'll get a second series.) Only problem with that is that Aiden can't age in between.

    Just one question, why can't Annie change her clothes? I know she died in them, but she can physically touch things and she does take of the top cardigan sometimes, so why can't she change the whole outfit?

    And Pixachu, I was wondering that too.

    Great 3rd episode, I'm loving the Nina/George thing, George is actually the most adorable guy in the world. I can't believe there's only 3 episodes left :O They best be good ones.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm pretty excited by that prospect of the religious/afterlife aspect being explored later on. I always thought it was pretty brave from the pilot to have those two things right there from the start - George's faith and the remark about men with sticks and rope. So, yeah, pretty intriguing stuff...

    But about your kitchen... ? (just kidding)

  • Comment number 7.

    Oh, I'd just like to say, I really liked that plotline in the pilot re Julia - I thought it was really tense and hit George's emotions at the end (I'm trying not to give it away here) - so it looks like it won't be revisited in the show - not even with someone else (e.g. Nina)?

  • Comment number 8.

    Love the show Toby, really pleased to see it delivering on the promise of the excellent pilot.

    Two questions...

    1) Is the Pilot going to be on the DVD?

    2) Are you making plans for series two yet?! ;)

    Take Care,

    Rob.

  • Comment number 9.

    Why can the vampires walk in sunlight do they use sunblock? lol

  • Comment number 10.

    Thank you for, once again, taking the time to indulge us fans with your thoughts and answers to our questions - much appreciated.

    Very interesting about the folklore re: werewolves and water. Am very much looking forward to the future plots and ideas which you mentioned.

  • Comment number 11.

    Thanks for being interested in what the fans think Toby.

    My question.
    Did you use the book'The Buffy Chronicles' by Ngaire Genge. It's just, an aweful lot of the stuff that Tully mentions about lycanthropy seem to be stuff that I have come across in the chapters on werewolves in that book.(I'm sorta a werewolf fan, I did look up stuff ages ago and remembered reading about some of the things mentioned in the script)

  • Comment number 12.

    Christ, that was interesting. I was hoping that you'd eventually explore more into George's religion and what his condition means for his faith. How do you maintain a belief in God when he's gone and lumbered you with lycanthropy? And there are his suicidal thoughts from the pilot to contend with; I'm wondering if it's religious guilt/belief that keeps him holding on, or something else.

    ...you really shouldn't be roaming around internet forums on your own, you know. It can regularly escalate to the kind of Scary that Vampires and Werewolves only dream about.

  • Comment number 13.

    I really enjoy details about characters and storylines, I appreciate some background intel provided, makes the story richer that way.
    Thanks for answering qus, so now we have two teases for future eps! ;-) And one of them seemed to hint about G!
    I noticed the dialogue - little phrases they use - and character's quirks feel very real I wondered if some came from the writer himself eg M mentioned disliking Ikea, G mentioned the 'rule' about not speaking to neighbours 'til you've known them fifteen years, these little if I can call them Britishisms (?) or Bristolisms (?) I think they're what make BH unique in appeal Perhaps more so than the conditions the characters are living (I know not quite the right word for A) with.
    If you get the 'nod' from TPTB for series 2 are you tempted for a cliffhanger ending to ep 6 of series 1? I would be!

  • Comment number 14.

    Thought you all might want to know that Toby will already be reading through these questions and starting to prepare his next Blog post!

    Until then, lets see if I can answer some of these as well...

    'Spidey_Fan' - You asked whether any flashbacks of Mitchell and Herrick's past will be in the show. Well to satisfy your hunger why not check out the exclusive online Prequels They are each a flashback into our main characters' past. Including how George became a werewolf.

    'Zanith50' - Sunlight and Vampires? This is explained in Vamping it Up A video on the rules of a 21st Century Vampire!

    and finally 'brownstudies' - Your question about George and his possible suicidal feelings. Check out Russel Tovey on Being George

    Hope these help. And don't forget that there are lots more videos and blog posts in the Archive

  • Comment number 15.

    Hello Toby,

    I have nothing but total respect for creativity of your calibre.

    I am spellbound by the sheer deluge of wonderful moments in each and every episode.

    Thankyou for removing all trace of Yankee cheese from this genre.

    P.S. Gilbert was brilliant.

    :)

  • Comment number 16.

    Someone else asked for a signed photo and I suggested a Being Human competition..Red Nose Day is soon, so maybe even a charity auction or something similar? Just a thought

  • Comment number 17.

    Could you please clarify the vampires' relationship with blood?

    I've assumed that blood is not necessary for sustenance otherwise Mitchell would not be able to give it up without starving, and he does eat and drink after all. The desire for blood (and killing?) seems more analagous to drug addiction - it's a pleasure not a requirement.

    Am I on the right track?

  • Comment number 18.

    Wait, you're saying the pilot could be considered canon? But in this episode Lauren mentions a brother (or possibly brothers), didn't George say in the pilot that she was an only child? And if the pilot is canon then why is Annie shoulting for people to help her get to the hospital while in the pilot she is able to get there relatively quickly to release George's ex-fiance from the isolation room?

  • Comment number 19.

    Fun is such a bourgeois concept. Enlighten our lives, how should one go about having Gilbert fun? :P

    Gilbert was definetly the best guest character so far.

  • Comment number 20.

    Being Human is great. Brillianty written characters and storylines. I reckon it`ll be a cult show. Dean Lennox Kelly as Tully was superb in episode 2. Hope he is back at some stage in the future. My qustion is this, both Tully and George have been beaten up by vampires in the past. Do the vampires have a fear of werewolves, is this because werewolves can kill them? Tully mentioned that the reason that Mitchell was keeping George as a friend was maybe as a form of protection.

  • Comment number 21.

    My question, has already been mentioned elsewhere on the blog, i think. But i just wanted to ask about Lauren and Mitchell's fingerless gloves, whether there was a particular explanation for it, or if it just looks cool and adds to the whole vampire look?
    Oh and one more question, apart from transforming into a werewolf every full moon does george live a normal life? So will he age and die, or will he live on forever?

    Thanks

  • Comment number 22.

    Thanks for the insight about what parts of mythology you use but theirs 1 thing im wondering about, how exactly does the vampire soiety work? Is it a group of indivials who come up broad ideas and decide the best way to implement them (like the impending vampire revolution) or does it have a solid class structure (with people like Herrick near the top)?

  • Comment number 23.

    why was venturing into the forum world scary?? we're very nice about the program on IMDB and thebluewhalepub!

    so when will you/we find out if there will be another series?

  • Comment number 24.

    I asked this before and so have many others. Could someone PLEASE TELL US IF THERE IS SOMEWHERE WE CAN SEE THE PILOT!!
    CAN THE BBC PUT IT ON IPLAYER?

  • Comment number 25.

    Hi, loved the 3rd episode and the way that Gilbert passed over by going through a door, that was very unique.
    Love the series but i've got a question or two;
    are you planning a second series 'cos its the best thing on tv and is the 1st series coming out on DVD?

    can't wait for episode 4!

  • Comment number 26.

    goadsby - The pilot is still on You Tube. Not on iPlayer as far as I know. Not sure if it'll be on the DVD.

    smilingchocoholic666 - Amazon says the DVD of the first series is out 20th April.

  • Comment number 27.

    I love the OT3, the Three Musketeers vibe and all but I was just wondering if you were going to bring in more recurring characters in Season 2. How about bringing in any of the other past actors in the pilot i.e. Guy Flanagan as a secondary character of sorts? I think most would agree that he and Russell Tovey had great chemistry together. It'd be a shame no to exploit that. ;D

  • Comment number 28.

    That's a really interesting question that FINNMcLOVIN asked. I'm dying to find out more about the mechanics of their (three) worlds. Like how does a vampire die? How does a werewolf die - can he die normally or does he heal? Does silver have an effect like in the myths?

    And on Mitchell & George's relationship, I wonder if it's because vampires can get infected? I'd imagine they'd hate having to transform every month into a werewolf - they have enough issues as it is!

    Anyway, I understand if none of these questions can be answered here - I'm dying to find out in the show itself.

  • Comment number 29.

    I've wondered elsewhere on the forums about how vampires could be killed in the BH interpretation of things. I have similar questions to purpley_g, so it'd be interesting to get the answers

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm still interested in how somebody actually becomes a vampire, because the vampires sometimes just kill people, or they can 'recruit', as Lauren mentioned in ep3. So what happens? At the end of ep4 we saw Bernie's body being covered by the nurse - so is this the same version of bernie that is the vampire, or is this mortal body buried and a new vampire bernie 'made' because essentially they are a bit like ghosts, as they are 'undead' and have no reflection.....

  • Comment number 31.

    thank you shellmoby ive been asking this question for ages and nobodys answered me lol im trying so hard to figure it out but every theory i think up seems to have a flaw lol toby please answer this :-D and also quite interested in the fingerless gloves thing now too as bernie was wearing them once hed become a vampire so maybe it has more significance than i thought? is it something to do with the fact they are dead therefore supposedly stone cold so theyre worn in case someone touches their hand or something? again probably a really random theory...

  • Comment number 32.

    Woah i just went on the imdb forum and jesus i understand why you got a bit scared :-) thought itd just be similar to on here but not so much :-S

  • Comment number 33.

    Ok 3 posts in a row is a bit bad but i think ive found a solutiont - Annie and Mitchell both saw men with sticks and rope yet Gilbert went to a nice glow and seemed happy - is this because Mitchell and Annie had to come back - so they saw something that would make them come back whereas when theyre ready they see something nice and cosy to encourage them to move on - perhaps if Annie had looked through Gilberts door she woulda seen the men with rope and sticks again? Yet another theory from an insomniac with an overactive imagination :-)

  • Comment number 34.

    Yes eagles_eyes4, it's been doing my head in for ages too...maybe the Being human team are still trying to figure this bit out...if not, please enlighten us! lol

    Nice theory about the sticks and ropes - did I read in one of Toby's blogs that we might hear more about this in a future episode...

  • Comment number 35.

    I have a feeling that they know and purposely arent explaining it as by the looks of the next episode they might start recruiting big time therefore itll all be explained :-) im getting a bit annoyed about the gloves thing - ive worn fingerless gloves for years even in the summer lol just its sone of my things no particular reason adn ive noticed they seem to be getting more common now lol think Mitchell has started a fashion trend - as i doubt very much it was me lol and the few people who have started wearing them i know for a fact watch the show! Oh well. watching episode 4 at the minute making full use of my mums i player whilst im here!.....neck excersises - hilarious lol

  • Comment number 36.

    ha ha, yes I was rolling around howling at the "neck exercises" bit! Although i would have thought Bernie would have been able to see Annie, as kids tend to be more perceptive of the supernatural don't they!

  • Comment number 37.

    Ooh eagle_eyes4, I had a dream about Mitchell last night *sigh* and in a flash of inspiration when I woke up had two ideas about the fingerless gloves they all seem to be wearing (you know how it's been doing our head in for ages)...

    Theory 1:
    People have been discussing how vampires recruit, and someone suggested it's when the victim drinks a vampire's blood. Remember how in ep3, when Lauren needed a fix so Mitchel cut his arm to feed her, maybe the vampires have lots of cuts on their hands from recruiting, so hide them with gloves. Obviously fingerless gloves work better cause you can wear them when it's not cold, and could be seen as a fashion statement (as your good self)!

    Theory 2:
    Maybe somehow they have become the mark of a vampire - i.e. how vampires can tell each other apart, particularly a new vampire who wouldn't necessarily be known. Vampires wouldn't necessarily go round advertising their nature (unless you're Mitchel in ep4 of course! why, why why!), so this would explain why Bernie was wearing them too.

    Anywho, those are just my ideas which came from a dream about Mitchell (nothing too exciting, was just sat on a sofa with him!)

    Odd!

  • Comment number 38.

    Please tell me that you are gonna release the series on dvd!!!
    got to spread the being human joy!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    to sperkii, thanks you've made my day! It comes out near my birthday, i'll have to drop some serious hints ;-)

  • Comment number 40.

    gloves -

    1.Vampire Image thing?

    2.A way of hiding scars/bites - same way a self harmer might, or going with the whole drug addict analogy like an addict might hide track marks?

    3.A way of recognition, as Shellmoby pointed out - nice I hadn't thought of that, or that if you had to wear gloves all the time for pratical reasons you can get away with fingerless ones as a fashion statement and not draw attention to yourself. Good thinking diamond brains!

    4.From a costume designers point of view - Fingerless gloves are associated with cool gothy/skatery fashion & also with the outskirts of society like homeless tramps who in turn can be associated with drug addiction
    - which would definately aid in demonstrating Mitchells character.

    5.Also maybe as a costume designer this choice of glove helps the viewer subconsciously recognise who are good vampires - as Mitchell Bernie and Lauren wear fingerless gloves.

    In contrast, Seth wears black leather gloves - associated with Murderers and people who don't want to leave finger prints. Much more sinister.

    Seths gloves -Everything is hidden, on the other hand (no pun intended)
    Mitchells gloves, more open, honest and revealing.

    (I have a degree in costume design, so perhaps I've spent too much time thinking about their attire)

  • Comment number 41.

    Also Herrick Dons a pair of black leather murderers gloves in Episode 6

  • Comment number 42.

    Firstly - I have pre-ordered Being Human from Amazon so very very happy that will eventually come through.

    Secondly and most importantly, are you going to make series 2, 3, 4 etc etc I love this drama and think it would be such a shame to kill it off after one series....it's so different too, I don't recall anything like it out there?

    Thirdly, if you do hopefully make more series please please please still use the current actors Russell, Aidan and Lenora (especially Russell) as they all click so well together, much better than the vampire and ghost from the pilot.

    I was disappointed to see that Annie was going to walk thro the 'door' last night and that Mitchell was staked! Please don't kill them off!

    You must make more so many of my friends are into this....I will await more news :-)

  • Comment number 43.

    I forgot to ask, be very interesting to hear more about George as someone has mentioned before, does he age like a normal human being due to the fact that he is normal most of the time etc. What would happen if he bit a vampire or vice versa?

  • Comment number 44.

    HOW COME MITCHELL AND SOME OF THE OTHER VAMPIRES ALWAYS WHERE FINGERLESS GLOVES?

  • Comment number 45.

    Last night's finale was fantastic! I loved the twist with Nina being scratched by George and that he recognised her through the door when he had 'changed' - I was shouting at the tv, come on you know them! The fact that it portrayed that there was still George inside the Werewolf. I am now wondering whether George and Nina will become a Werewolf couple which would be very interesting to see or is she going to kill herself in the bath she was running....? Very interesting that Annies door to the next place was now just a picture too...my heart went out to George when he was being beaten up by the vampires in the 2 years ago sequence...please please make more...

  • Comment number 46.

    Hey there. The "sticks and ropes" line in the pilot triggered memories of old Egyptian myths, Anubis especially. I checked and yea! he is depicted with flails... seems to have sneaked into the common subconscious, though. archeowiki.org has a rather extensive article on him.

 

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.