Well, this sucks! And I don’t mean in a vampire type of way. In a press announcement released by the BBC today, the beloved UK series ‘Being Human’ has been cancelled with this current season being its last.
The series about a werewolf, vampire and ghost who become unlikely roommates have been a staple of the network for the past 4 seasons and spawned the US version starring Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath and Sam Huntington which currently airs on the Syfy network. While the original cast members of Russell Tovey (George), Aiden Turner (Mitchell) and Lenora Crichlow (Annie) have left, the series was rebooted, in a sense, with new roommates in the form of vampire Hal (Damien Molony), werewolf Tom (Michael Socha) and ghostly Alex (Kate Braken).
Season 5 premiered Sunday, February 3, setting up for the next 5 episodes which, according to the BBC, “will end with a confrontation of the “ultimate evil”.” Unfortunately, the season debut left much to be desired in terms of ratings as only 731, 000 viewers tuned in, down from the 1.1 million who tuned in to the Season 4 premiere. Viewing numbers have been decreasing yearly with 1.37 million watching the Season 3 premiere and 1.41 million who tuned in for the Season 2 run in 2010 (which happens to be the highest number of viewers the series has seen for an opening episode).
BBC3 controller Zai Bennett said of the cancellation:
“Being Human has been a fantastic and faithful friend to BBC3. It’s featured some truly exceptional actors and storylines through the years and I’d like to thank Toby and the production team for their vision and passion. However, all good things come to an end and at BBC3 we’re committed to breaking new shows and new talent and who better to pass that baton on than Toby.”
Knowing that this season would be the series’ last, creator and writer of ‘Being Human,’ Toby Whithouse, wrote a farewell note of sorts on BBC ‘Being Human’ blog:
“Being Human really shouldn’t have happened. A preposterous idea, an epic and circuitous development process, a modest budget – no, we really shouldn’t have lasted. But Being Human was the little show that could, and that ridiculous idea managed to last 37 episodes, spawn an American version, 3 novels, an on-line spin-off and garner a shelf of awards.
But Being Human was always a collective effort, and none of that would have happened if it weren’t for five separate groups of people.
First, the various producers and execs and script editors. Rob Pursey, Matt Bouch, Phil Trethowan, Polly Buckle and Laura Cotton. Every idea I had was enhanced, improved, enlarged and enabled by their brilliance and creativity.
Then there are the numerous writers and directors who have had to endure my capriciousness, vagueness, indecisiveness and propensity to steal their best ideas and pass them off as my own.
It’s also given me the chance to work with – and write for – some of the finest actors working today. Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow, Aiden Turner, Sinead Keenan, Jason Watkins, Michael Socha, Kate Bracken and Damien Molony. Looking at that list again now, I’m staggered by its ferocious talent and brilliance.
And I have to thank the BBC. Not because I’m obliged to, but because I literally have to. They gave us the opportunity to make Being Human and to make it in the way we wanted. Julie Gardner, Ben Stephenson, Danny Cohen, Beth Willis, Brian Minchin, Eleanor Moran, George Ormond and Zai Bennett were unwavering in their support, guidance, trust, love, enthusiasm, and gave us – and me specifically – an unprecedented level of creative latitude. For that I will always be grateful.
And finally – and most importantly – the fans.
I know many of them will be disappointed that the show isn’t returning, but all good things come to an end.
We must remember too that the remit of BBC Three is to encourage and support new talent, to give them opportunities to make television, to test out new ideas and formats. In that sense Being Human is perhaps a victim of its own success. We can’t really call ourselves a new show anymore, and much as I’d like to think of myself as a young thrusting new talent and not a bitter old war horse, the reality is we have a duty to move aside and make space for the next Being Human.
But much like the cast change from seasons 3 to 4, we viewed the news as an opportunity. It meant I could actually write a climax for the show, instead of it just popping out to the shops at the end of season 5 and never coming back. You’ve no idea how rare that is in television, and what a great opportunity it is to write something suitably definitive and satisfactory.
Consequently we’ve created what I hope you’ll agree is an epic, thrilling and shocking finale that’ll keep the fans guessing and speculating for years to come.
Then Being Human will belong to them. Once the credits on episode 6 roll, the future of all those characters will exist in the imagination of the audience, to do with as they please. But in a way the show always did belong to the fans. Their tenacity, passion and loyalty are what kept the show going and provided inspiration to everyone working on it.
I’m reminded of the scene in series 3, episode 8, with Mitchell and Herrick sitting in the car looking at the sunset. Herrick asks if Mitchell finds it amazing that soon this world will be theirs. And Mitchell says “It always was.”
(Yeah, and then he stakes him, I know. Ignore that bit.)”
There is little consolation to the news of the show being cancelled but it is refreshing to know that, like the series ‘Merlin’ that was also recently cancelled, the fans will get an ending that Whithouse promises as “epic, thrilling and shocking.”
BBC America, which airs the UK version of the series, has yet to announce when fans across the pond will be seeing the 6 episodes of Season 5 but it’s hoped soon. As a teaser for what’s to come, here’s a short synopsis of what to expect:
Series five sees our supernatural trio facing their own personal demons, and matters become more complicated with the return of Mr Rook, the shady figure whose government department protects the human world from otherworldly beings.
But Vampire Hal (Damien Molony), Werewolf Tom (Michael Socha) and Ghost Alex (Kate Bracken) don’t realise they face a bigger threat than the Men in Grey, when they stumble across the decrepit and repulsive Captain Hatch (Phil Davis).
Unknown to our trio, Hatch’s feeble exterior hides an ancient evil… because Captain Hatch is the Devil himself and has been trapped in human form for centuries!
Now the father of all evil is just itching to inflict chaos on mankind, but can our heroes survive the oncoming Armageddon unscathed?
What are your thoughts? Does the news of the series’ cancellation bite or was this something you were already expecting? Sound off in the comments below.