Warning: this interview contains spoilers for Being Human, up to and including Series Four.
Being Human has just been greenlit for a fifth series, which will begin shooting later this summer. This seemed like something of an inevitability, after 1.12 million Brits tuned in to watch the fourth season opener in February. At some point in the last decade or so, the horror and fantasy genre has gone from having niche appeal to being hugely popular, with shows like Being Human, True Blood and The Walking Dead becoming some of the most popular drama on TV.
Series Four of Being Human definitely seemed to be transitional period, where the old cast was being gently phased out in favour of a new trio. First of all, Mitchell was killed off in the shocking finale of the last series. This series begins several months afterwards, with the revelation that Nina has been beaten to death by vampires in the interim. George also died in the first episode, as the result of a botched transformation. Finally, after helping newcomers Tom (Michael Socha) and Hal (Damien Molony) to settle into the Honolulu Heights, Annie exits stage left with baby Eve after they are both caught in the middle of an explosion that (supposedly) took out the visiting Old Ones, including Mark Gatiss‘ brilliantly creepy Mr Snow.
Actress Kate Bracken originally signed on for three episodes to play the role of Alex, a girl on holiday with her father and brothers who is first introduced as a love interest for Hal and who takes him on his first date in over fifty years. Sadly, Alex never makes it back from her holiday; Cutler (Andrew Gower) kills her and tricks Hal into drinking her blood in order to return a “favour” that Hal for did him. Not to be brought down by a little thing like dying, however, Alex returns as a ghost and aids the others in bringing down Cutler and the Old Ones.
This leaves the show with the dynamic that became its signature: a vampire, a werewolf and ghost all living together in a house-share. The show has definitely been shaken up, however, and I caught up with Kate Bracken to find what it’s like to take up a lead role in what is fast-becoming one of the most popular British TV dramas.
Kate Bracken: No, not at all. It was funny because I went for the part and I knew it was for three episodes, and then when we were filming and stuff people were dropping hints, like that they were buying more jackets and bits of costume, and saying “would you come back?” And I was in a shock, so it’s an absolute pleasure to be coming back.
BC: You’re a newcomer both to TV and to the show, so what was it like working with the Being Human team for the first time?
KB: They were so welcoming. That was what I was worried about, because everyone was so close, but they were such a lovely and welcoming cast and crew to come on with. They instantly made you feel at home.
BC: In most of your scenes you were acting opposite Damien Molony. What was he like to work with?
KB: Damien is a pro, he’s an absolute pro. I can’t praise the boy enough. He’s amazing to work opposite, and he’s going to go far.
BC: How did you get into acting, and what kind of training do you have?
KB:It’s a bit of a long story with my training but I ended up doing my degree in a college up in Scotland called Motherwell College, and from there I just got fairly lucky. I met a couple of casting directors who were very nice to me and helped me get an agent. My first job was on a programme called Inspector George Gently, and that was filmed about May last year. Since then I’ve moved to London and got on Being Human, and it’s great.
BC: Had you watched the show before you got the audition?
KB: Before my audition I’d kind of seen bits and pieces. I made sure I got up to scratch on it. I remember watching it properly and thinking, “Why haven’t I ever watched this before?” The writing was so clever and so funny, and it’s really got something going for it.
BC: There’s quite a tricky scene in the fifth episode, where you’re playing Alex’s ghost and also her dead body in the same room. How did they set that up?
KB: They had me and they had a double, so I got made up with all this gunk on my neck and we would film me hanging there. Basically they switched it round, so when I needed to talk, when I needed to be a ghost, I would be all out of that horrible make-up and we’d go on talking and they’d have someone in the background, someone else standing in for me. And then when they needed to do close-ups of my neck it would switch around, so with someone else doing my ghosty stuff.
[The make up process] was probably about 45 minutes. The girls are brilliant at it, they just got down to business. It was certainly an experience, having all that on!
BC: Any scenes stick out in your mind as being particularly fun to shoot?
KB: All the scenes when we were locked in the club’s basement were a good laugh to do. The explosion was amazing! It was really good fun to do, and of course we only got one shot at it so we kind of had to make sure we were on the ball.
BC: What do you make of Alex as a character, from what you know about her so far?
KB: She’s very straight-forward, she’s very much what you see is what you get. She’s not as complex as, say, Hal, who has all this history behind him and the OCD and stuff. But obviously it was apparent that Alex’s mother is never mentioned, so that was kind of interesting. It was always the talk about her dad and her brothers and stuff. I always like to read the script and get as much as I can from the script and look into any back-story and research as much as I can.
Being Human Series Four will be available on DVD from April 23rd 2012.