TOBY WHITHOUSE ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS (PART 2)
Toby Whithouse, creator of Being Human, returns to answer your questions and shine more light on the BH world. Don't forget to come back tomorrow for the third and final installment...
Dorina wrote: Why did you lose your beard?
Finally a serious question. The beard comes and goes. That pic at the top of this page was taken in those dark dark days before I started experimenting with facial hair. Sometimes it's thick and lustrous enough to loose a badger in, but at the moment it's no more than a heavy dusting of stubble. Don't worry the beard will be back, and then we shall...
Is anyone still reading this?
We never really know from one series to another who's going to come back, so the storylining has to be pretty fluid. Another factor is, I'll still be writing episodes 7 & 8 when we're filming episodes 1 & 2. Now this can be scary at times - there are a LOT of people relying on me delivering those scripts - but it means you can respond to things you notice in the filming. The best example of that is Sinead. As I've explained on here before, I was going to write her out of series 1, but she was so fantastic that I decided to keep her, and now she's a permanent fixture.
But it doesn't necessarily have to be as major as that. Watching the rushes every day of the previous day's filming gives me an insight into the specific strengths of the cast. As a result, I can tweak lines, tweak gags to suit their delivery / speech patterns. I should point out this is often done on a subconscious level, and hopefully by now I've got to the point where I can just write the dialogue IN their voices without thinking about it too much. Regarding a Mitchell / Annie relationship - I refer you to my earlier answer - WAIT AND SEE. But yeah, they do have a fantastic chemistry and I'd be nuts not to exploit that in some way. But it's something that's evolved over time and certainly at the beginning there weren't any plans to bring them together. It's quite amazing how much of what we devise / write, is a response to what we see on screen.
Which brings me onto how we storyline.
Towards the end of the year, me and Phil T and Laura will lock ourselves in a room with a blindingly empty white board and just talk and talk and talk. "What about a story where Blah happens?" "Nah, too much like episode blah. Hey, what if Blah kills Blah?" "Hmmm. I dunno. Too dark, maybe." On and on and on and on for weeks, until gradually stories start to take shape. I wish I could take sole credit, I really do. But the stories you watch are very much a joint effort. I'll come up with something. Phil will add something to that. Then Laura. Then I'll add something else. Then Laura. Then Phil. Until we find ourselves miles away from where we began, with a story that none of us could have come up with on our own. It's collaborative writing at its best. I guess I have the power of veto, but aside from that it's very much a group effort and I find it utterly exhilarating.
RetroAmour wrote: Out of all your 'Being Human' characters, who do you think is the most 'human' and why?
What a lovely question. Hmmmm, I think it's Annie. She seems to be the one who has emerged from all the stories with the least damage to her essential spirit. If that makes sense. She will always look for the good in other people, she has a limitless capacity for mercy and decency, and in many ways is the most honourable of all the characters. Though to be fair I think this is in no small part down to Lenora's extraordinary performance.
Fitzov wrote: Have you ever taken your characters to such dark places you've worried the fans would never love them or laugh with them again? Obviously I'm thinking of Mitchell's rampage on the Box Tunnel 20.
Certainly storylining the Box Tunnel Massacre was a risk, because you're right, it's difficult to welcome someone back into our hearts after such a dark deed. But sometimes you have to obey the logic of a story regardless of what it does to our sympathy for the character.
I've always said the ambition of the show is make it as realistic as possible. I know that sounds peculiar when we're discussing vampires, ghosts and werewolves, but that's always been the intention. With Mitchell it just felt inevitable that sooner or later he'd fall off the wagon. It also adds danger to the character and - I hope - a sense of exhilaration to the storytelling, because it means we're off the map. If one of the main characters can do that, then absolutely anything can happen. Mitchell has to be lethal, otherwise there's no point in making him a vampire.
But yeah, it was a huge decision because nothing could ever be the same again. It was a kind of Year Dot in character terms. In terms of rebuilding our sympathy for him, well, that has to start with him taking responsibility, followed by some kind of consequence and perhaps punishment. And that's the story of the Wolf Shaped Bullet.